So, it's pretty obvious that I haven't blogged in a while. Truth be told, there's been a lot going on behind the scenes in my life. It's been hard trying to strike a good balance with everything that I am juggling right now, but I think I'm getting better. The problem with being the kind of person with a vast amount of diverse interests is that sometimes things fall through the cracks. My dear little blog has been one of these things of late.
One thing I try to do on a regular basis is evaluate what I am doing in my life to make sure that each thing is something personally worthwhile to me and not poisonous in any way. Consistently, this blog stays at the top of that list. I actually love to write. Long before I was a performing musician and visual artist, I was a writer. As a teen, I often wrote poems and short stories. I even geeked out on the writing assignments I was given in high school. The main reason I started this blog was to help me stay true to my roots. I am a writer as much as I am anything else, and I will never let go of this.
I think I am done with this accidental blog break that I've been on, and it's time to get things revved up again. Starting this week, I will be posting at least twice per week here at Where Pianos Roam. Not only is this a place for me to actually write what I feel, but it is also a forum for me to share what I've learned in my own meandering through life.
Here are some things to expect in the next few months here on WPR:
For my second instalment of Reading Will Save the World, I wanted to draw attention to a book that I've often revisited over the past few years. Honestly, I would not be the artist and musician that I am today if I had not read this tremendously important book.
Whether you are a writer, painter, musician, teacher, parent, gourmet chef, furniture designer, graphic designer, or breathing human being whose life involves some form of creativity, then I would strongly recommend reading The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. It helped me walk firmly on my own path to creative self-actualization.
Years ago, long before I ever moved to Nashville to pursue a life in music, I didn't really know what I wanted to do. I had a great job as a Youth Programs Director for a small non-profit group in Charlotte, NC that helped teens who were questioning their sexuality and gender identity. This work was incredibly important and deeply satisfying in terms of the people I was helping. As much as I truly loved this job, I always felt that something was missing.
One night, I was sitting around in my apartment working on a poem when the thought occurred to me that this particular poem could actually make a pretty good song. So, I dusted off an old keyboard synthesizer that had been collecting dust in the corner of my bedroom. Within an hour, a melody started to wrap itself around the poem, and I suddenly realized that I just wrote an actual song. The second discovery was the fact that I could remember what I played without writing anything down. Deep in my mind, I already knew that I could do this, but it's implications hadn't dawned on me until then. (I don't know if there is any research out there on musical memory, but whatever it is, it is a gift that I treasure deeply.)
One year ago today, I was held at gunpoint in east Nashville. Two young, teenage, African American males used a large revolver to rob me of my wallet. I was on my way to a bar called The 5 Spot to watch a couple of bands I knew perform, and I never made it that night. It all happened at the corner of 11th and Russell in east Nashville. You can read my full written account of the events HERE.
When I walk alone to places at night, I still look over my shoulder. Before I get out of my car, I still look around first. I still remember what I felt that night a year ago, and even though it is now a far gone conclusion, I don't ever want to forget. I've always believed that our memories can make us stronger. If we choose to put them in perspective and be constructive, they can arm us for the battles ahead. Even though I wish it never happened, it helped me become who I am today, and I can only be proud of who I am now.
I shudder to think about all that I would have missed in the year that passed since then . . .
The birth of my niece Sophia
Thanksgiving and Christmas with my family
Awareness is everything.
Is it possible to say something without actually saying anything?
Yes. It happens all the time . . .
When you ask yourself, "What is your life?".
Think of one thing that makes you smile and that requires the least amount of effort in return.
Think of one thing that gives you pure boundless joy.
If this thing is not your life, or at least a vital part of it, then maybe it damn well should be.
I wanted to start a new instalment here on WPR about the books that I have been reading. I've been an avid reader all of my life, and I just love it. In my opinion, it offers far more to its audience than watching television does. Don't get me wrong. I don't mind television at all, but it is incredibly passive. Everything, including the plotline, the visuals, dialogue, and the performance is handed to you on commercialized and glossy plate. There is often very little, if nothing at all, that is left to the imagination. (Don't even get me started on all of the advertising. That's a whole other can of worms.)
To me, the beauty of reading is in its simplicity. First, you can grab a book (or e-reader) and take it anywhere. Whether it's in solitude, on the train heading to work, in the bathroom, or in bed before you go to sleep at night, you can read. It's unbelievably convenient. You can also go at your own pace or stop completely if you don't like the book you chose.
Reading a book also offers something incredibly vital. It invites you to use your imagination. I often create scenes in my head and imagine faces and foreign places when I read. It also invites you to contemplate different meanings and ask questions. Everything isn't offered right off the bat. You, the reader become engaged and invested in the content. It is among the most active things you can do without lifting a finger (outside of actually turning a page, that is).
So there. Reading will save the world. It is an age-old practice that has inspired great art and started revolutions. Give it a try. Find a book about something you like or are curious about at your local library. Find a cozy spot, and read.
Finally, I am back. For the first time since I started this blog, I decided to take a lengthy break. My last post was published on September 11, 2011. This would be an almost 4 month hiatus from my blogging universe.
I am gratefull for the rest. I needed it. Having just moved to a new area in downtown Nashville, I wanted time to get settled into my new digs and, more importantly, I wanted to have some time to myself. This meant no blogging, no e-newsletters, no shows, no promos, and as much as possible, no facebook.
I've been in the rat race of being an independent musician for almost 8 years, and I've never really given myself a break from music. The current state of the music industry requires most indie musicians to perform and promote 24/7 in order to make even just a modicum of a livelihood. I needed a rest. So, I gave myself one.
This rest gave me time to think about where I wanted my music to go. Well, I can tell you all one thing for now. I only want to engage in creative projects that will make me happy.
At the end of the day, I just want to be happy. This means gaining a sense of deep fulfilment from my efforts regardless of the outcome. This means doing work that I am genuinely inspired to do and excited about.
I have decided to take an extended break from blogging for a while. So, this will be my last post here on WPR until some time next year. This decision has not come easily because I love my little blog. Other things, however, are calling my attention and will need it undividedly.
First off, I hope (and pray) that work on my next album of music will get started. There's a lot involved, and I need to just make it happen.
Secondly, there's some visual art work that I want to work on as I continue to develop my online art store Tropical Shade of Green.
Then, of course, I've launched a new season of The Adventures of Oreo and Buttercup. There are ten new episodes up and coming.
Lastly, I have some living to do. Being a resident in downtown Nashville is not something that I will take for granted. I want to take the time to enjoy these surroundings and connect with people. I love where I live right now, and it's important for me to embrace it all.
I have a question for anyone who cares to give an answer. I've been thinking lately about this blog "Where Pianos Roam". While I do enjoy the opportunity it gives me to write, I'm wondering if I should continue doing it. It takes up a good bit of time that could be spent developing more visual art, making more Oreo and Buttercup episodes, and working on my next album. Besides, I'm not sure that what I give in this place is something that you can't get from other sources.
So there, do tell. Does anyone out there enjoy reading this blog? Should I keep it going or lay it to rest?
I welcome anyone's thoughts and feed back through comments left here or on my facebook page.