‘Done!’ I type in the last figure and lean back from my desk in content. ‘The royalty statements are all ready to go. They need to be sent out before the Easter break. Peirene, can you please do that?’ I turn towards the Nymph and realise that she probably didn’t hear a single word of what I’ve just said. She has her earphones on and is singing silently at the screen. She has half-closed her eyes and lifts her arms as if receiving applause.
Slightly irritated – after all it’s work hours – I walk over to her and tap her on the shoulder. She takes out one earplug. ‘Please don’t disturb me. Singing requires concentration.’
On her screen a youtube video is playing, showing Maria Callas performing the Violetta aria from La Traviata. Maria is gazing into the distance longing for true love.
As if the Nymph has read my mind, she continues: ‘Yes, this is work. I have to practice my voice. It needs to become stronger. I have to develop my voice.…’ she becomes serious ’…to its full potential’
‘Why do you need to develop your voice?’ This is all news to me. I must also admit to some doubts about the Nymph as a singer. Actually, to our regret neither of us are very good at holding a note.
‘Counterpoints Arts! You heard the directors, Almir and Áine at the board meeting last Wednesday. They think our voice and branding is really effective. And therefore they want us to teach them how it’s done. So, I thought, we would split the task. I will teach them about voice and you teach them about branding.’ She looks at her watch. ‘Oh dear, I have to go. I’ve booked myself in for some private singing lessons.’ She pulls out the other earplug.
‘Peirene, Peirene,’ I’m shaking my head. ‘They don’t want singing lessons from us. It’s more to do with how we communicate to the outside what we are about. They are keen to learn about our communication and marketing strategy.’
Unperturbed, Peirene takes her bag and heads towards the door. ‘It can’t harm can it? And after all communication can only improve if one of us has a strong, clear, beautiful,’ her voice begins to go up and down octaves and she adds a trill for good measure, ‘resonant, expressive, singing voice’. She stops at the door. ‘Do you want to come? It’ll be fun. And you might bring your singing up to my level. I need an alto for my duets. ‘
For a moment I hesitate. But only for a moment. And who knows, with professional help, I might become a rather good alto. And the royalty statements can wait until we are back.
By Meike Ziervogel
Image: public domain.
This blog was originally published as part of Peirene Press‘s series Things Syntactical. The Pain and Passion of a Small Publisher on 20 March 2016.