“Both movement and stillness. Both overture and opening. Both promise and abandonment.” (Donna Vorreyer on Interlude)

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Donna Vorreyer is a contributor to Half Mystic Journal’s sixth issue, interlude. She is the author of Every Love Story is an Apocalypse Story (Sundress Publications, 2016) and A House of Many Windows (Sundress, 2013) as well as eight chapbooks, most recently The Girl (Porkbelly Press).

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We asked three of our Issue VI contributors to share with us their personal definitions of interlude: how it is formed, where it has been, what it could be. Here is Donna Vorreyer’s vision of the keystrokes of transitory—the movement in the rest—the inhale before the storm…

So much of our lives are scheduled, demanding full and multi-tasked attention. We mourn the lack of interlude, lament the promising lull of nothing to do. We move from sleep to full speed, from work to home to more work, no breathing space to speak of. Even our exercise, our time with friends, our meals, are timed, tracked, posted. No time for liminal space. No time for rests between notes, or so it seems.

On a typical weekday, the alarm buzzes. Within 35 minutes, I have showered, checked messages while eating breakfast, and hit the road for work. My morning drive is my time to prepare my brain for the day, and a large part of that preparation is the music I play. A good radio day gives me a boost that nothing else can—and the surprise of the songs a radio station might play is the best part of any morning. 

When I arrive at work, I refrigerate my lunch, get my classroom prepped for students, head to the office to check mail and use the bathroom before a parade of eleven and twelve year olds streams through the door. The rest of the day is not much different, a chorus of meetings, squeezing in a workout, making dinner, cleaning up, trying to scrounge some quality time with my husband and with my writing, before working on the next day’s lessons. 

It’s exhausting just to write about it, much less live it—and those are the days without unexpected catastrophes, dentist appointments, broken down cars, family emergencies. This is why every little interstice that pervades even the most mundane space of my life is measured. The seconds between closing the car door and starting the engine. Between turning off the shower and reaching for the towel. Between the last twist on the mat and the unwinding of savasana. All of these are respite. And each interlude carries its own music of possibility. All I need is to listen for its melody, let its sweet tinny backbeat carry me away. Even if just for a moment. 

Just as a singer draws breath before the lyrics begin, a static gathering of air on the cusp of release, these bridges between voice and silence are delicious tensions. Both movement and stillness. Both overture and opening. Both promise and abandonment. It is the same with poems—the caesura as important as the flow, the line break as important as the line, the music as important as the meaning. There is little difference between the build before the bass drop and the eight lines before the volta. Live in the moment is advice we often hear. But even as we move from one moment to another, there’s beauty in the interlude as well. I’m learning to find that, to linger inside it.

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Donna Vorreyer’s poem “The Days After the Music Died”, along with twenty other pieces by contributors and three columns by the Half Mystic team, are compiled in Half Mystic Journal’s Issue V: Interlude, a stunning collection of contemporary art, lyrics, and writing dedicated to the celebration of music in all its forms. It is available for preorder now.