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Word for the year.

As the new year starts chugging along and the unstructured days of vacation swiftly vacate to the past, I'm sitting here with the task of coming up with a ta-dah list to help me get organized and get something done this month. Yes, I know they're called to-do lists, but I think ta-dah has a more positive connotation. Especially when it's a creative project I'm crossing off it, and not just another household chore or something that requires a schlep to the store. It's in the creative project category I speak of on this ta-dah list I must build. And to make it, I must prioritize. If my word for the year of 2011 is to be followed, it's essential. And that word is "completed".
I have a bad habit of trying to do everything at once, so no one thing gets ignored too long. Otherwise I start fearing I'll never make it back to the project to finish it. Unfortunately, this leads to three or four things at a time inching along in various stages of incompletion. Of course, if one suddenly has a deadline looming, I will drop everything to finish it/be ready on time. But usually I have to create my own deadlines. Which means focusing on something, sometimes to the detriment of work on others, or passing up an opportunity completely. This happened recently, when I had to pass up taking an acting course I was considering. It looked like fun, promised great results, and was even being taught by a friend I admire as a performer. Alas, it would mean literally never having a full day off to spend at home writing, drawing or composing...or, heaven forbid, just relaxing. Yes, I would be spending the busy time doing something I enjoy, just as my Saturdays are spent singing in the choir. But having to go do something somewhere, on time, every single day of the week for the next six months was an unnerving prospect. I knew my other loves would suffer, and I knew I would snap. So I regretfully said no.
Now, having done that, I can have no excuse for not making some headway somewhere. So here's the ta-dah list: First and foremost is an art project, which I've just been given the green light for. Second is getting at least one or two songs recorded and up on this site! And, not to get too crazy, I think I'll leave it at that for January. Of course, some work on the novel will get done here - can't help it, I miss my people! - and a long-term project not due until June will be organized and begun, but those will be secondary, to be worked on when I need a break. The two main items on the short list will both be time-consuming projects with deadlines. Deadlines are good motivators. I know - I gave myself one for doing another blog post. And here it is. Ta-dah - completed!

Happy anniversary to inspiration!

Today is the 3rd anniversary of putting pen to paper for the first time in order to save a story for re-reading. The idea for "Fate's Apology" actually began in late November of 2007, but until the single scene that kept replaying itself kept me awake one Sunday evening, I had no intention of it ever going anywhere except the memory hole of the mind. The people were intriguing, and every time I closed my eyes I could see the scene as though standing in that skimcraft hauler myself. And so it began, the journey of writing.

I'm still on it. The book is not done. People ask, when will it be? As I have a day job and other interests that compete with my conscious time (as opposed to sleep, my unconscious time - something I wish we'd evolved beyond by now!) I can only answer "when I finish it". That's not really as open-ended an answer as it sounds, but for now I'm glad there is no deadline except that which I create. My current one is a year from now. I'm two-thirds there, on a second draft that began only a year ago. Can it be done? I hope so! I already have fans who have read some of it and they want to know how it ends. I do know how it ends, but although I often jump ahead and write scenes the story isn't up to yet, to get them down for weaving together later, I'm not writing the last scene until I get there. It will be a treat, and I want to save it for the enjoyment it will bring.

In the meantime, I have posted an excerpt in Writings. The opening of chapter one, which begins the scene that started it all. I still enjoy visiting it and watching the characters interact, same as I saw them so long ago. Who are they? Why are they here? Why is this happening? These are the questions that kept me writing, and if I have done a good enough job, will keep the reader reading.

The perfect take.

So I'm laying tracks, recording my piano compositions. It's a necessary evil, since I really don't care for "the recording process". Some people enjoy it, but I'm not one of them. For one thing, there's no stage. And I find it stressful. Always looking for that perfect take. Of course, when I played in a band every show was an attempt at the perfect take, because no matter how many or few are in the audience you don't want to make mistakes. But the euphoria of being on stage somehow overrides that, often to the point where you don't make mistakes. Easy!

Recording, however, is different. It's work. You're there for hours, putting your heart and soul into electrical impulses, often over and over and over again. When I recorded I always tried to get it right the first time. And if I remember correctly, I often succeeded and never had to do many "punch ins" during the bass sessions. A great photo of me at Vain Studios has no bass in sight - just me crashed out on the couch waiting to go home. Like "c'mon man, I got it in the bag, aren't you DONE yet??" Yeah. Those were the days.

Piano is a whole new animal when it comes to recording. I'm on my own. The bass, the lead, and rhythm is all me, all the time, and if one of them goes wrong, the whole song is lost. Add to that the truth my piano teacher told me: you lose 50% of your playing ability just by having someone listen - even if it's a recording device. Now, I don't have stage fright mind you, and for some reason it's not nearly as big a problem when playing bass. But she was onto something there. Because with piano, somehow my fingers know when it's important, and those little appendages that so deftly scoot around the keys during a morning coffee jam suddenly become clueless over where to go in a song I wrote a year ago and have played a thousand times. Maddening! And punch ins? Even worse. It's like "I haven't played the whole song, and now you want me to just jump in out of the blue on that difficult scale? Why do you think we messed it up to begin with - it's complicated!"


So I try again. I can play these songs without mistakes. I can. I've done it. Just one more take. The perfect one. I'll get it. You'll see. Errr...hear!

A cross-section of works.

Yes, I posted some examples of my art - please take a look! There is much more, some I still have, some I don't, and more yet to be done. Already two projects in the thinking stage (well, lots in the thinking stage, but I only have two hands and a full-time job, so I do what I can, y'know?) and looking forward to watching them appear.
That's always the fun part - watching them grow. Recently, I was scanning my projects as I created them, showing friends where I was at that point in the work. But as I look back at the files it's interesting to see them frozen in time in various stages of incompleteness. No, I don't finish any of these in one day. I've read where other artists don't care to get that 'photograph' look when they're done, but for me that is what I strive for, and that takes time. I've dabbled in surrealism, caricature, prints, silhouettes and cartoons, but I always come back to realism. I like having something that I created stare out at me in such a way that I expect it to move, blink, or speak at any moment. My artworks (as well as my music and writing) are like children - I created them, nurtured them, spent agonizing time over them. I want to breathe as much life into them as possible!

First, then, and finally.

No, I didn't forget about the place. On the contrary, it's been very much on my mind. And I did manage to get my subtitle added, see? But as has been the case since pretty much the beginning of this year, I've over-extended my artistic and entertainment obligations to the point where until yesterday I barely had time to breathe, so some 'wants' and many 'needs' had to be put aside in a holding pattern. About the only thing that really suffered though - besides a regular blog entry! - is the fact that my house is a monochrome of dusty gray, and my desk and the piano room are disastrous messes. But these are minor details that don't prevent any of them from being used and enjoyed.
Web sites are another story. If they gather too many cobwebs, they're soon impossible to find. So now that I'm back, there are recordings to make and artwork to post. Art will be first - I don't have to create it from scratch, so that shouldn't be difficult. Music will take longer. Need to figure out what I'm going to play it on in here, once it's recorded. Details, details… Or as the saying goes, "Whatever it is you want to do, you have to do something else first". Only then you can finally act on the want.
When it comes to getting a web site up and active, truer words have never been spoken!


So I painted the place, put in a little furniture and hung a picture. It's starting to feel more like home. I chose bright colors because they make my eyeballs happy, but there are other subtle reasons behind my choices.
Red has always been one of my favorite colors, if not to wear to at least see around me in certain aspects. I once decorated my room as a teen with red curtains, so during the day the room would be bathed in ochre. I've always read that red is an energizing color, but I actually find it relaxing. I wish I still had a red room...I'm keeping it in mind for my dream studio. Anyway, I could never have an internet presence that did not utilize the color red. The blue is a contrast, a compliment and a theme that goes with my book, whose colors tend to be red, blue, russet, green and gold, and some variations of. If I could have used them all and gotten artsy with it, I would have, but I can only use two colors with this web site theme. So red and blue it is!
A fond farewell to Bluey McPinnt-head. Thanks for being my stand-in. It's all me now, baby!

Scifi, pictures and pinnts - oh my!

So, I still need to decorate. Yup. But that doesn't stop me from writing, blogging, posting updates...whatever, no matter the color of the border or the existence of a media player or whatever else I still need to install in here. I leave that to the person, my beloved CN (computer nerd) who will help me install it all and learn how to "make it go" like the internet Pakled that I sometimes am.

Pakled, yes. Scifi. In case you don't know that yet, I'm warning you now: I'm a scifi geek. Have been since I was about seven or eight years old. "Westworld". "Silent Running". Even "Frankenstein - The True Story", which is far more scifi drama than horror, and downright steampunky in some places (Leonard Whiting in those bizarre glasses bringing his 'monster' to life...*sigh*). These were some of my favorite, most well-remembered movies as a kid. Don't even get me started on Star Wars or Star Trek TNG, I'll be pulling out DVDs and YouTube clips to prove you wrong on your mis-quotes of Han Solo or Mr. Data. Yup, I heart scifi.

I even look scifi. That little blue guy up in the corner? He's a pretty good representation of me some days. Right now he's representing my inability to put a picture on here even though I followed all the directions given by my CN, who has now exited the space station for a couple of days. So Bluey McPinnt-head will remain until I get additional info. Oh, that's "pinnt" as in "mint", a word I made up when I was a kid to describe the pointy part on your hoodie. Making up words is a quirk that comes in handy for writing scifi. After all, who wants boring old cows, apples, concrete or meditation in an imaginary universe? Bring on the agreths, durgots, alumir and aralai.
And pinnts!

I'm home!

Welcome, and thank you for visiting my little corner of the internet, where the cyber-version of me lives. I just moved in and none of the furniture has arrived yet, so please bear with me as I make the place comfortable. Soon there will be music to listen to, art to peruse, pics to look at, and writing to keep you entertained. In the meantime, have some pizza and a drink on me, and read below the quote from which my novel-in-progress gets its name.

           "It's a helpless, frustrating feeling to be angry at fate. Because fate doesn't care. Fate doesn't apologize for what it's done, and it doesn't try to put things right. It just goes on its merry way, leaving you seething and crying in its wake."

- Rey Falstarin

Y'all come back now, y'hear?

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