In my last post I mentioned I would post my process as art when working on recording my weekly song. Though, I have made progress on my next music post I am not able to post a snippet yet. Recording in GarageBand on my iPad 3 makes posting a snippet of music cumbersome.
However, I post this as a way to keep myself concurrent with previous posts, so as not to come across as some who posts on a whim then moves on to the next irrelevant post with no consistency among my writings.
How could I chart my progress in self-fulfillment if I’m posting whatever whenever?
I don’t even know if self-fulfillment is such a thing. How could a self be fulfilled? If I were ever to be full then why would I continue to do anything? I want to continue to learn. So if that is the case, I guess I will never be fulfilled.
So, with that said: In my never ending quest to fill myself, I was able to figure out the timing for the rhythm guitar on that pesky Superchunk song “Package Thief”. I recorded the rhythm guitar and the basic drum beat.
Next, I will add more drums to fit with the song changes and then figure in the lead guitar.
Many times today, and in the weeks past, I would tell myself, “I’ll never get this. It’s impossible for me. I need to move on to a new song.”
I was even going to get my kids to help me, but I didn’t. They stayed out of my way, which allowed me the alone time I needed to fight through this process.
Something in my mind kept telling me I could figure this timing out. Just keep going.
So, I kept going.
I am so happy I was able to record what I did and I am so close to getting this song done. I know it will have warts all over it. I’ll wear them with pride.
This song has been kicking my ass for over a month and I kept fighting. I feel better for sticking with it. I have seen and heard the progress.
One step closer to completion.
Your attention and time are the most precious things you have. You have given some of that to me and I appreciate it.
I believe that when time is given to me the best way to show my appreciation is to give my time to you.
I have visited some of the blogs of those who have visited mine. I dove into more than one posting by some of you. I really like a lot of what I have read; especially, those posts where you have shared about yourself and your struggles. The most impressive writings to me have been where you have shared what you have done to be good to you.
Choosing yourself in order to be available to others is an inspiration to me. One of my reasons for writing this blog is to be more honest with myself through my writing. I’m still working on this.
Life is tough and rough and we have to treat ourselves well.
If I don’t stop telling myself “I’m not worthy of things”, then why should I expect anybody else to think me worthy. I say some pretty horrible things to myself. If I were to say those things to my friends, I would not have any friends. If I were to say those things to my kids, I would be a horrible father and my kids’ self-esteem and self-image would crumble. Thinking about that happening to my kids breaks my heart. I would want to punch myself in the face if I said those things to my kids. So, why doesn’t it break my heart when I say those things to me? It does break my spirit. I should probably punch myself in the face for having such negativity towards me.
But physical violence only begets physical violence. We see it happening every day. Negativity begets negativity. It happens in my head all the time. That negativity has kept me from striving to do more. I have backed away from many challenges in my life because I didn’t fully believe I was worth it.
Personal examples in my creative life:
I’ve written two novels and a script for a graphic novel. I’ve attempted to get agents for one of my novels. I even knew someone who worked for a literary agency and she submitted my manuscript. It never went anywhere.
I reached out to a few artists to collaborate on my graphic novel. One artist just stopped communicating with me and another did not get back to me. It never went anywhere.
So, I’ve been knocked down and was left rejected. However, there are two points about the above.
One, I could have done a better job of following up by asking more questions. I wasn’t told my work sucked. I just wasn’t told anything. What else could I think?
Two, my passion level was not high for what I had created and promoted. It wasn’t that I didn’t want my creations to go to the next step. I just didn’t believe in myself enough to advocate more strongly for them. I didn’t give myself enough worth. I didn’t give my work enough worth.
This is something that I recently began to understand about myself. I’m a low-key guy most of the time. I can get heated and excited but mostly I try to keep my “cool”. This is not a good thing when I am trying to promote myself and my creations. How can I get others excited about what I created if I’m not getting excited about it?
I would smack my forehead, if violence didn’t beget violence. And you know what, passion and excitement begets passion and excitement. It’s those mirror neurons everybody is talking about. (You know, everybody.) If I’m acting excited then it is almost (almost) impossible for someone in my presence to not feel a little bit of that and not get a little excited themselves.
Time for low-key Nate to get out of my way to make room for passionate Nate. Excited Nate. Enthusiastic Nate. The Nate who believes his work has worth. My work does have worth.
Your work has worth. Why create it in the first place if it didn’t?
Let’s be good to us. Keep writing. Keep creating. It is worth it.
The awesome book by Julie Cameron The Artist’s Way was a gift to me by my wife, with whom I am separated. We still love and care for each other and continue to offer support in many ways. This kind of relationship with an ex is crucial, especially since we have two young children together.
She knows my desire to be a writer who can make a living wage from my creative endeavors, so she was kind to give me this book by Julia Cameron.
I had been searching for a means to get myself back into writing daily. Writing creatively and with purpose.
I am more fresh in the mornings to do my writing and I know that is the best time to do it, but I have lacked the discipline to get up and do it. I was unable to focus my mind on purpose. I kept putting it off for years.
I would still write. I had written a few new short stories for a writing class I took back in the fall of 2016. That was over a year ago. I haven’t finished a story since.
My mind flows with ideas of stories, a podcast with my kids, and a podcast for myself. I thought of editing a young adult novel I had written many years ago that has been in the editing stage for just as long.
I just could not focus or find a way to get my mind to stop wandering the trail of “I’ll get to it if these particular things are in order.”
Then I got Julia’s book. I read the first chapter on the basic tools. The two most important tools being the Morning Pages and the Artist’s Date. They are crucial, according to Julia, if I was to truly let my creativity flow.
That was one of the most powerful chapters I have read in any book in a very long time. Years ago, I had read a book about writing and it had suggested that I write three pages a day double spaced and soon I would have a completed novel within a of couple months. But I went one step further with that and I wrote three pages a day single spaced. I had completed my first adult novel in a month and a half.
It felt great to have accomplished that feat that I had been wanting to do for so long. I spent another month or so editing and revising. I gave it to two friends and an aquantance to read. They gave good feedback. I attempted to get an agent and even knew someone who worked for an agent but I was met with rejection.
That is besides the point. The point is that I had disciplined myself to write everyday in the morning and I finished a novel.
The young adult novel came a few years later, but I wrote that whenever I had a moment to write. I also finished a script for a graphic novel around that same time. For both of those, I had an outline that helped to guide my writing and so wrote whenever I got a moment to type something up.
It also helped that I worked at a job where I had a lot of down time and access to a computer.
So, all this rambling. Sorry.
My point is that over the past few years I didn’t have the discipline to get up in the morning to write. I didn’t have the outlines for a story. I had nothing.
Then I read one chapter in The Artist’s Way and it changed the way I thought about the process of writing.
Two things: writing three morning pages in a note book, front page only, and take two hours out of my week to treat the artist within me to something artsy.
Starting December 27th, I got up at 6:30am and wrote my first three pages. The best part of this is that it is stream of conscious writing. All I have to do is just start writing. No expectations. No direction. Just write. Like going for a run to get back in shape. No direction. Just run to build up the cardio.
So I started running. I’ve written everyday since.
I took myself on my first Artist’s Date to the Philly Art Museum the day after New Year’s.
I’ve started to edit my young adult novel two chapters in the evenings that I don’t have the kids. I don’t have them this weekend so I will be editing more chapters at B&N on Saturday. It will be my artist’s date this week.
I’ve only read the first two chapters of The Artist’s Way. The next chapter is Week 2. I’m not sure when I will get to that chapter. And it doesn’t matter to me right now if or when I get to that next chapter. All I know is that I am being good to my artists right now by doing these two simple things. Those two simple things have made a huge impact on how I think about myself as a writer and have freed him.
There is another book I have read over these past few weeks that has presented me with a new way to think about myself and the world with which I interact. It is Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements. I’ll post about that another time.
My next post will be another of my music posts, but this one will be different. It will be a song I composed this evening as a way to let my inter musician out to play a little.
Stay tuned for that.
Music Post 003 – Revolution Radio 9/11/17
I took my son to his first concert: Green Day, the Revolution Radio tour. He has been loving Green Dayfor the past year and the timing was great. Serendipitous, in fact. I like when these things happen: when you are into a band, movie, comic book series, TV show, podcast, and then there is a tour and it comes to your town just at the right time because you’re so into what is happening with it you gotta buy a ticket. This has been happening to me for the last 6 years or so, as I’ve mentioned in my last music post. (See Times Like These – Foo Fighters). I stole from my own writing and used it here. I think that’s okay. I probably won’t mind the plagiarism this time.
I had never seen Green Day live when they were at their height of popularity back in the 90’s. However, I could be totally wrong in saying that. The concert I went to a few weeks ago was packed. Park was an insane nightmare. But, anyway, I enjoyed their radio played songs over the years. I had the Nimrod CD that I bought some time in the early 2000’s. It was the only Green Dayalbum I ever owned. So, I was more of a passive listener.
Then American Idiot came out and I became more of an active listener. It is still my favorite Green Day album to date. I feel to this day that it is their opus. That is strictly my opinion. Some may feel 21st Century Breakdown was another opus. I could agree, but it wasn’t made into a Broadway musical. The documentary, Broadway Idiot, about the making of the musical is a great watch. I highly recommend it. I wish I had gone to see it when it was playing, especially when Billy Joe took over the role of St. Vinny. It would have been worth it.
As far as having learned Green Day songs in the past, I started out with “Brain Stew” and “Basket Case”. When I started to learn guitar back in the late 90’s, those two songs were in my learning book. They became the Big Two that I could play and sing along to with consistency. I say “Big Two” meaning I could play and sing to myself, in my room, with nobody else around.
I attempted to learn a few songs from American Idiot. I learned the title track, but never to the point that I could play comfortably from beginning to end. I didn’t learn the lyrics fully, either. I did that with many songs. Classic me.
There will be room for another Green Day songs along this trip, but I chose Revolution Radio for two reasons. It’s is a fun song and I recently saw Billy Joe and the boys (like I know them like that to make such a reference) in concert. It helped that my kids kept singing it, so I guess it was sort of chosen for me to learn.
I screwed up a lot on this recording. I recorded a few times but there were parts that I struggled with and it sounds horrible, but I only give myself a week before moving on to the next song. I kept procrastinating on this one because I knew where I sucked and that the final product would be rubbish. I didn’t bother with the lyrics. It’s just my version, the guitar only. So, here you go warts and all.
After watching another two episodes in Season 2 of Game of Thrones and not blogging about how I continue to fail at learning a song per week, I decided to watch a TED Talk from the TED app on my Amazon Fire Stick. (Shameless plugs or just part of everyday lexicon?)
I was feeling frisky and in the mood for anything, I chose the Watch Anything option. Why not let TED pick for me. It chose Esther Perel’s The Secret Desire in a Long Term Relationship. I looked forward to uncovering the nugget of information I’d get from this talk. Though, I had watched it before I thought I might be inspired by some new, personal interpretation. So, I paused the talk and started writing this post in anticipation. But I took so long constructing this introduction that the Fire Stick screen saver came on.
I had been booted out.
When I went back into the app Esther’s talk was gone and I had to chose the Watch Anything option again. This time Aakash Odedra’s A Dance in a Hurricane of Paper, Wind and Light came on. I figured since I was in the mood for anything, I would accept this option.
The dance piece was called “Murmur”.
I won’t try to interpret what he did. He has his message in his language and it should be interpreted by those who watch it to decipher the meaning they pull out of it.
To me, it was a man who put his art out there for anyone to see. He created. For himself. Allowed others to view it. That is courage. That is what creatives are meant to do.
I think this falls in line with a recent post by James Altucher. James said “Process is art.” The act of creating something is the art itself. The product is the end result. Just like learning and education. It isn’t just that you made something and say “hey, look what I did.” Or in the case of education, “hey, look what I know.”
Posting the work as you go. Talking through the work, about the work, is just as important.
I say all this and want to believe it, but I don’t do it. I want to say, “hey, look what I did.” But if I don’t think somebody is watching or going to see what I did, my motivation, or interest, wanes. That is not loving the process of art. That is not believing in the art. That isn’t anywhere near it.
I’ve finished projects. And thinking on it now, I finished those projects because I loved the process. The process of wrighting my two novels. The process of writing my graphic novel. They were stories within me that I nutured as they grew out of me. I wrote out many scenes. I edited, added and cut and deleted. Then added again.
Thought, time and effort went into those projects. And who read them but a few. I didn’t write so others would approve. I wrote because I loved it. I wanted to see what was at the end of the process. I said to myself, “hey, look what you did.”
Of course, I would like for these stories to be out there in the world for others to read. I want others to like them. I think some people would. I think others wouldn’t and I don’t want my babies judged by haters. My work doesn’t deserve that. No one’s work does.
Sending our babies, our children, out into the real world is scary. I mean this in the creative sense for both our flesh and blood children and the children we put our blood, sweat and tears into.
Fear of judgment. How it keeps us from taking those risks that are part of the process to achieve our goals, dreams or whatever you want to call what you are after.
That is what I got out of this TED Talk. So, I’m going to post my process on the Green Day song. It is just the guitar part and it is all I have completed for now.
Will you read the next post and listen to my process? I hope so, but if not that’s ok. It’s not about you.