I hope you're well!
As you may have noticed, I have not been very active on my blog these past few months.
There are personal reasons for this, but first and foremost, I would like to say the most important thing:
I value and appreciate your interest in this project so very much, and I look forward to resuming with regular posts when I'm able to do so. Meanwhile, I will continue to post on an as-the-muse-inspires me basis, while I figure out how to get my life in order.
OK, so, now for the personal updates that may help to explain my radio silence:
1. I got my Ph.D.!
I'm officially Dr. Zerin! In December 2019, I successfully defended my Ph.D. in historical musicology at New York University! Although it took me 8 years to complete my program, it's been 12 years since I first began researching my dissertation topic. So this is a real relief and achievement. I'll let you know when I've got a full PDF of my dissertation online for people to read. :-)
2. I came out as transgender
My Ph.D. diploma won't say "Samuel Elliot Zerin" on it, but rather "Samantha Elisheva Zerin." A few weeks ago, I came out publicly as transgender. As you can imagine, the months leading up to this announcement were both exciting and intensely stressful. But I am truly humbled by the overwhelming support I have received from my family, friends, colleagues, and community. If you would like to follow my transition/journey, I invite you to follow me on Twitter @ShuliElisheva.
3. I started a blog for my poetry and music
I have a new blog, where I've been posting my poetry and musical compositions under my pen name "Shuli Elisheva". This project began in June 2019 as a way of processing my emotions as I struggled with my gender identity and transition. With a few exceptions, I write all my poetry first in Yiddish and then translate them all into English. My musical compositions include both vocal and instrumental music. I plan to continue with this creative project on an as-the-muse-inspires-me basis; it's not only helping me continue to process my gender transition, but also to fulfill my deep craving for a creative outlet.
4. I'm looking for a day job
I'm looking for a steady day job to help pay the bills, so that I can continue my social media projects without constantly worrying about money. Ultimately, my goal is to make a living from sharing my research and teaching online. Although I have been exploring ways of doing this for a couple of years now, I've had to constantly battle a tension between (1) wanting to create an authentic and engaging presence and (2) needing money ASAP. Unfortunately, the latter has often hindered my ability to do the former. SO, I am hoping that once I have a steady day job, I'll be able to focus on truly being me in my social media work. Meanwhile, freelancing in a variety of areas is helping me piece together some income (blogging, tutoring, video editing, translation work, adjunct teaching, etc), but this has been neither sustainable nor predictable for me.
What about the blog?
I'll continue to write in this blog as I have time. In fact, having just watched the first episode of Galavant this morning (SOOOO GOOD!), I'm mulling over ideas for a post about Alan Menken's melodic style. But I don't want to pretend any more that I've got a regular blogging schedule.
Of course, I'll let you know as plans for the future settle.
Thanks again for your interest,
and all my best from Rhode Island,
Sam Zerin is a PhD student in musicology at New York University and a former lecturer in music theory at NYU, Brown University, and the Borough of Manhattan Community College. He also runs Social Media Music Theory (@SocialMediaMus1)