Thursday, February 27, 2014

Overly Optimistic?

I'm actually nearly done with I Jump, but my chances of recording it by tomorrow are very slim. I didn't take into account my children, who are on vacation and demanding a lot of my time. And, besides, I have discovered just how challenging it is to sing a song written in 5/4. And yes, I did manage to keep that time signature.

Vacation will be over on Monday, though, and I will set right down to recording that song. Nickeled and Dimed is in the works, too, and that one will be an easy guitar-and-voice set-up, so once I'm done with it, a few rehearsals will be enough to get me up on SoundCloud.

I'm discovering, much to my surprise, that with the tools provided by the Coursera course Songwriting, by Pat Pattison, I am having much more success writing songs than with the other media in my Challenge. Not that I'm giving up on the videos and books; it's just more of a struggle than I expected. Maybe I'll get into the groove with those as much as I have with the songs, and zoom through to the point where I'm caught up.

Or not. I am going to give it my best try, but I know for sure that when the year is over, I will have created more than I would have had I not given myself the challenge in the first place.

Win, place, or show, I'll come out ahead on September 30th.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Jumping Ahead

I have been trying to get Living As If It Matters to turn into something. It's a great concept, and there's some wonderful proto-lyrics in my notes. But I can't seem to make it come together into a tune that sounds like the mood I'm trying to create. Yet.

So, moving ahead on the outside and pulling into the lead are the other two songs I've been working on: I Jump, and Nickeled and Dimed.

I Jump began as an exercise in 5/4 time, but I'm not sure it's not going to end up getting an extra beat in every measure. But the lyrics are almost done, and they'll work with either time signature. And I'll have drawn on Lalo Schifrin for inspiration no matter which it ends up being. (In case you didn't know, Lalo Schifrin composed the theme for Mission: Impossible in 5/4 time, and also the theme for Mannix, printed on the sheet music as 3/4, though it really works best when you think of it as six beats.)

Nickeled and Dimed will be getting a lot of inspiration from Merle Travis' classic Sixteen Tons, and may give a little nod to Tom Glazer's A Dollar Ain't a Dollar Anymore.

And one or both of these songs should be coming to SoundCloud by the end of this month. And maybe the work that I put into them will suggest something I can use for Living As If It Matters.

Or maybe I'll jump ahead to something else first. I just never know sometimes where my mind is headed.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Trying To Finish

I feel like a juggler (actually, I do juggle, but that's another subject altogether). I know the conventional wisdom is that you should work on one thing at a time until it's done, and then move onto the next thing. But my mind doesn't work that way.

It's one of the reasons that I am such a fan of Evernote. Whether I'm walking around doing something with my wife and kids or sitting at my computer (or the family computer at the kitchen table), all of my current projects are right there. If I'm feeling stuck on one project rather than beat my head against the wall (and that's tempting on many days, believe me), I can move to another project to see if something comes to me.

Of course, to get anything like a book, or even a short story, done requires periods of concentrated writing effort. But that usually comes, for me at least, after I've mapped out the general outline and written lots of individual paragraphs the get my juices flowing.

And they are flowing, even if you're not seeing a lot of the results yet. But it will come.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Passing Me

I felt a twinge of guilt and jealousy today when I noticed that my 13-year-old son's channel has more videos on it than mine does.

Of course, his videos are all just screen captures of him playing Minecraft and Happy Wheels, so it's not quite the same as what I'm doing. And, no, I'm not going to resort to the same tactic just to get my numbers up.

But if the guilt and jealousy gets me off my butt and back behind the camera, then maybe I need to feel a little more of it!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Song Six Finally

After struggling with all kinds of recording and logistical problems, during which time I just sat down on the bed and started rehearsing the song so that I could play it in one pass for the mic, I finally did just that and gave up on multitracking this one.

And so here it is:



It's not long on production value, but I think it's one of my best songs yet.

But no time to rest. Three more songs in the pipeline, five videos, two short stories, two books, one screenplay ...

Oh hell, I'd better get to work!