Two months ago, I resolved to write a song a week and write a blog post a week. I guess I need to admit that I've failed at those resolutions. Nonetheless, just because I haven't made my resolutions doesn't mean I've been unproductive: I've written six or seven songs so far and I've had about five blog posts since then. So although I haven't met my resolutions, I've made a couple steps forward.
Motivation is still pretty tough. I'm supposed to do the Hope 10k run on March 18th, but my running habits haven't really kicked in; I'm struggling to keep up at work even though I have dramatically more time to get work done this semester; I'm reluctant to call people up or do anything social if I have a night off. I don't feel depressed but I'm likely showing a bunch of the symptoms of depression.
I'm been enjoying film photography more regularly. I have too many cameras on the go right now; some of them still have photos from my visit to Smithers in December on them. But even that's been a tough hobby to maintain when I'm barely getting out of the house or leaving Agassiz. But here are some highlights from a roll of Ilford HP5 with photos that I took between December and February:
Now back to work.
I've never taken New Year's resolutions very seriously. So I haven't really made any over the years.
This year might be a little different though.
For the drive to Smithers, I listened to most of Gary Taubes' The Case Against Sugar, which basically posits that sugar leads to most of the "Western diseases" that plague our society. In the end, Taubes does not offer much of a solution: he claims that there's no way to scientifically prove his point about sugar's toxicity, but that his correlation-causation conclusions should nonetheless be heeded, that there would be no way to narrow down the culprit to sugar for type 2 Diabetes, hypertension, and cancer, specifically. I listened to another podcast on the way back from Smithers that featured The Science Moms who essentially debunked most of Taubes' points,
But perhaps this year I will aim to minimize sugar in my diet, if only to learn how to cook properly for myself. I'm a sucker for processed foods—in particular, cookies—and perhaps minimizing sugar would help me rely a little less on processed foods. I don't expect to go full sugar-free, but I'd like to get it back to the point where sugar is a bona fide treat.
Beyond that, though, I think it's time to focus on music again. I've written about this before, but it's been tough over the last few years to play music. My musical ego was slowly worn away over the decade since I made my first super-independent CD, and it even got to the point where I didn't want to play music barely at all anymore.
But over the last while, I've been able to get a bit of that mojo back. Regularly playing at that restaurant in Harrison Hot Springs has really helped me regain some of my footing as a performing musician, and those two community theatre performances helped me regain some of the pleasure of being on stage.
What I haven't been able to do, however, is sit down and write. I have a couple dozen extracts of songs sitting on paper, on the computer, on my phone, but I don't think I've completed a song for the last few years. There are numerous reasons for this lack of production, but if I write them down I'm sure they'll come off as excuses. So I won't write them down.
Instead, perhaps I can base a New Year's Resolution on this idea: Quantity over Quality.
Perhaps, if I commit to a certain number of blog posts or completed songs on a weekly basis or something, I'll get some good stuff out of it. Amongst all the quantity, some good quality, or quality practices at least, might emerge.
So here goes:
What I need to figure out is a system for keeping up with them. Perhaps a filing system? Perhaps a calendar?
And how will I keep myself accountable? Especially as separation stuff gets overwhelming?
I don't know yet, but I'll start by trying to post my status updates here.
So here goes?
Goodbye, 2017! And good riddance!
It was a rough year on all fronts, each front compiled online so thoroughly that I won't even seek out hyperlinks for them. The crazy thing for me is, however, how disconnected I was from it all. As much as I tried to keep up with BC politics, the #metoo campaign, Black Lives Matter, various Trump-related debacles and the gradual de-sheening of Justin Trudeau, the fact remains that I've been consistently distracted by my own life. 2017 will be remembered as the first year in the last decade where I was, well, essentially "separated." In fact, last night would have been our 11th anniversary, and here I am in Smithers, visiting my kids staying at my in-laws' place (which I am enormously grateful for). Needless to say, I've been one of the people who's felt too busy to be politically and socially active, and I find that a little disheartening. But necessary.
But what can I say for 2017? I can be grateful for a few things:
Unfortunately, I still haven't been able to write. My blog entries are still lacking in passion and order; my songs remain unfinished and without direction.. So, in those respects, the only direction I can go is up.
So here goes!
Last night I came in a close 1st place at the karaoke competition at the pub across the street.
I feel really fortunate to have won, particularly since I had to buy a new car battery yesterday in order to make sure I could start my car when I go to visit my kids in Smithers in a couple weeks. The old battery kept dying a little too often for me to trust that the car would start in -15°C weather.
Usually, at karaoke, I try not to ever double-up on songs; it's a fun challenge for myself to always try to track down something new. Buying the battery, however, pushed me to try to make sure that I chose a crowd pleaser. I realized that, instead of choosing some new, obscure song like I normally do, I should choose a familiar, upbeat, short, instrumental solo-free song with a cold open and close, in my vocal range and already memorized: Amy Winehouse's "Rehab" fit the bill. And I milked it, walking around the stage, mixing up my vocal intensity, and playing with the runs a little. And all my deliberation... well... paid off.
I know karaoke isn't necessarily musically expressive, but it has certainly helped me rebuild some of my confidence in performing. Between singing covers at karaoke and playing covers at the restaurant, I'm starting to enjoy playing and singing music again. It's helped me keep my voice in shape and study a little about how an audience works. This has been good, especially since I had declared a couple years ago that I didn't want to play solo anymore after a few consecutive botched performances. It's good to feel like I'm in the groove a bit.
I still don't have the confidence to play my own songs. But I feel like I'll be able to start writing again soon, if I'm able to get a break long enough to mellow out and do it. And maybe then I'll have the confidence to put my own music out there into the world.
Until then, I'll keep playing covers at the restaurant and singing karaoke here and there. It's not what I want to do, but it's certainly a few steps forward.
After yesterday's meeting, I had a chicken wrap. It's stunning what a little rest and proper nutrition can do. At 8:30, I came back to the school and worked consistently for a couple hours. I now have hopes that I'll have my marking caught up by Friday. So that's good.
I have nothing else to say.
That's all. I just didn't want such a despondent post to be sitting at the top of my weblog.
So here's to hoping I can get back in the groove.
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