What do I do with song ideas that don’t fit into anything else that I do? I have a song that I wrote years ago—just the music, I haven’t fit words to it completely—that I rather like but I haven’t done anything with it, neither for Shadows of Immurement nor Popkin-Salvador. Mike (my band-mate in P-S) and I are planning on a new album that I’m going to start writing for soon. But this time around we’re going with a concept album and I don’t know if I can just shoehorn in an existing song. Still, this doesn’t address the fact that stylistically, the song doesn’t fit any style that I’ve worked with so far.
For a while now I considered giving the song to somebody else. But I don’t know how well this would go over. I have a musician friend whose style would likely work with the song, but I would feel awkward offering it to him. For one thing, we’re not exactly close. That’s not to say that we don’t get along well, but at best we run into each other at events and chat for a few minutes. Another problem is that I’m not exactly known for my music, even within my circle of musician friends as I don’t play live and Shadows of Immurement doesn’t fit in stylistically with anything that they do. I also don’t feel like I’m at their level, so to speak, but that could just be confidence.
Nonetheless, isn’t that a weird thing to offer to somebody? “Hey, I wrote this song, I think you’d like to play it.” Especially as they’re already doing their own thing that means something to them. I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to ask. I certainly wouldn’t hurt the friendship. I would need to make a recording of the music, though, so I could have something to offer quickly.
By the time I got to writing this point I realized that I could have recorded said song and put a snippet on here. Then you would have a better idea of what the thing sounds like. I’ll put it online later. I recently recorded a shit load of all of my old tapes onto my computer, so I wanted to put some samples of those on here as well. That should be a laugh. Perhaps I could throw it all together into one blog post.
I’ve published blog posts with lists of larger goals which I want to achieve that will change my life in large ways, such as getting a better job, sell my screenplay, and so on. But there’s other, lesser things that I feel will also better me as a person. I say “lesser” not to diminish their importance but to refer to priority. While I feel that these are just as important in the long run as my larger goals, they can be put off when the larger goals need to take priority in my schedule. As usual there’s no specific order in terms of magnitude as I present my five “lesser” goals that I wish to achieve.
When making my list I noticed that the following feel more like resolutions than goals. The difference in my mind is that goals have a timetable to stick to, whereas resolutions are the broader ideas that generate goals that follow. But as I don’t have any desire to make timetables for the following, plus the fact that I’m bad at following my goals’ timetables anyway, I’m grouping them together under the same category… in my mind, at least.
- Take up classical guitar again. I dropped classical guitar practice over a year ago. I took a break so I could focus on writing but also because I felt that I was only practicing classical in order to go through the motions. I didn’t think that I was getting anything out of it anymore. I’ve come to the conclusion recently that the best way to test that hypothesis is to take up the practice again, and see if there’s any difference, in terms of my playing or improvement of my character. I’ve clipped my right-hand finger nails since I gave it up last year, but as I’m not planning on making a career out of playing classical music or even recording any, I’m not worried about it.
- Write more poetry. I’ve tried this before but had a hard time keeping it up. As a writer it doesn’t hurt to explore other forms of writing, and who knows? I might get some published. Again, this could also just improve my character. The same goes for visual art, such as drawing, which was a hobby I abandoned once I reached adulthood. It’s time to set aside a time of day for each interest. Perhaps when I first get up in the morning, before I go to work?
- Catch up on my reading. This is the hardest with all of the other things I want to do. Besides that, what do I mean by “catch up” on my reading? If I have no obligations to read for any school assignment or anything, what’s the rush? The problem is that I have a list of books that I’ve intended to read for a long time that I haven’t gotten to yet. A lot of them are sitting on my Kindle and I haven’t even started them yet. That’s not to mention all of the books that I wanted to start reading once I started researching Goth subculture. Reading for my Monday book reviews felt like it was getting in the way of this goal. I could just abandon my rule of reviewing new releases in order to both exercise my reviewing skills while also catching up on my book collection. Or I could also look into audio books. I could just sit down and get own with it instead of thinking too hard about it. That’s probably the obvious solution that I keep avoiding.
- Write more music. This goes along with the poetry and visual art, but music has always been more of a hobby to me. Even when I gave up a lot of my musical activity to focus on writing, I still felt like music provided an outlet to express myself in ways that writing could not. Besides, I have no intention on giving up Shadows of Immurement, or, if Mike is willing, Popkin-Salvador.
It’s funny how getting back into the routine of things makes me realize how messed up I am. I don’t mean making mistakes when, say, practicing guitar. That’s to be expected. What I’m referring to is engaging in an activity that I used to take for granted only to discover that something is wrong with me. Not only is the problem hindering my progress in that activity but also a sign that I may have a larger issue at hand.
For example, a patio table fell over a few weeks ago at work, hitting the middle finger of my left hand on its way to the floor. It didn’t actually land on the finger and only caused a slight sprain—I didn’t feel at the time that it was worth filling out a form about. Over the next week or so my finger felt better anyway. But when I started practicing guitar again lately I noticed that not only did my finger hurt as I tried to play but the pain was making it nearly impossible to get through certain pieces. I am still able to use the finger in any other instance. It moves fine. It only hurts when I play guitar. That’s what bothers me. Am I going to have to put off practicing guitar for a while? Is there anything that I can do to make my finger feel better? Am I really going to have to go to the doctor over this? I almost wish I filled out that form after all.
The other big problem that I’m noticing is when I’m jogging. I haven’t jogged in months so right now I’m taking it easy as far as distance is concerned. Still, it doesn’t take very long for me to develop an excruciating stitch in my left side. I used to get that before but very occasionally. I seem to get it every time now. As far as I can tell, there’s nothing wrong with my posture. I tried adapting certain breathing techniques that a friend has recommended to no avail. I can’t think of anything wrong with my overall health. I drink as much alcohol as before, maybe even less. I have the same sleep schedule as before (although, admittedly, I could use more). I have noticed that my running shoes are wearing out. Could it be as something as simple as that? I’m hoping that the answer is even simpler: it’s just been a while since I jogged regularly.
I have noticed that when I’m meditating my sore back makes it hard to adopt a good sitting position. Then again, I already knew that I’ve been lifting things badly at work, hurting my back. The solution to that is already underway, though. I got the promotion I had put in for, which means that as soon as my background check goes through I’ll have a desk job again. If I remember correctly, the chair in that office is quite comfortable.
I’ll hold off on practicing guitar for another week, while I’ll keep jogging for the same amount of time. We’ll see what happens in both cases. Incidentally, I haven’t had any such problems with my writing. I haven’t really dropped out of the habit of that to start with. It’s hard to notice health problems when writing, anyway. I could make a “writer’s cramp” joke here but I think Garfield beat me to that one.
One of the presents I got for my birthday was a set of strings for my classical guitar. When I was feeling a bit better yesterday I swapped out the old ones for the new. It’s a different brand that I’ve been using but so far they don’t sound any different. However, I noticed that they don’t buzz as often as the other ones did. Is that actually affected by how the strings are made? I’m obviously not an expert if I have to ask that question. I know how to play the instrument but I’m happy enough without knowing exactly how everything on it works. I probably should be more of a gear-head but I’m not. For all I know it could be the fact that I just played them or maybe even psychological. They didn’t buzz at first simply because I hit the notes perfectly so I loosened up about how well I was going to play.
It got me thinking about the equipment I use, though. How much of my playing has been negatively affected by the fact that my equipment hasn’t been quite right? I don’t mean tone nor am I excusing bad playing. But there have been buzzing noises and badly played bar chords which make me wonder about how I might sound better had I spent more on the guitar in question. My three-hundred dollar Gibson plays better than my hundred-dollar Ibanez. I couldn’t help buying the Ibanez, though. It just looked too cool in the store. When I bought the classical I didn’t know or even care that much about the quality of the instrument. I was in high school and was focusing on what I could afford. My bass is cheap, too. I didn’t get that to be a bassist, I got it for home recordings. I discovered that through its defects and an effects pedal I can get some really cool sounds out of it, anyway.
I shouldn’t dismiss the possible psychological component to the playing on these new strings, either. Whatever gets me to play better is fine by me. I’ll see where I’m at as I practice with them more. I am worried how the first string is going to keep in tune as I didn’t quite string it properly. I think it will be fine but I would hate to have to go out and buy another set of strings to replace just the one. I know you can usually do that with steel strings but I don’t think I’ve ever seen nylon strings sold individually. (That reminds me, I still owe a friend of mine a string. Apparently they don’t like being hit with screwdrivers….)
It could also just be that my playing is getting better. I’ve been bad with practicing over the last few weeks but otherwise I don’t think I lost my skill too much. I want to be better but at least I’m not getting worse. If this is true that the strings can help improve my playing than I have to think about what other changes I can make to my equipment. I’ve always been partial to fretless necks. I don’t want to change any of my current guitars for that, though. Would it really be worth it in today’s economy to save for yet another guitar?