[ Written Sunday morning ] This weekend, I am supposed to be making one final attempt at writing lyrics for a new Black Tape For A Blue Girl song, so I can record with Athan in New York City next Monday. But frankly, it’s too early in the process to create lyrics I’m excited about (the stuff I’ve written so far is perhaps up to a “m’eh!”). I keep drifting towards writing dark electronic songs based upon my horn sound named “102 Hypocrite=Me” (this is a sound I created in the A Chaos of Desire era). Ok, do what feels right, I suppose. Two new songs started…
From Projekt Records’ Sam Rosenthal.
But, oddly enough, my brain is having a few ideas for the follow-up to my novel Rye. This is good, because work on that has been stalled (and by ‘stalled’ I mean, ‘not started’). It is so stereotypical to be a writer with writer’s block after finishing a first novel! I wouldn’t go so far as to call it “block” (even thought it HAS been two years since Rye was published). I’d say I’ve just not been making enough time and space to get back in the mood for writing.
Something occurred to me in the car Friday morning on the way to my son’s bus stop. He loves turning on NPR to listen to whatever they are reporting on. I am so tired of hearing about Ebola. NPR is filling all the available space in my brain. It makes me a bit nuts; I realize the radio leaves me no space to think.
Early on Saturday morning, I walked two-and-a-half miles to downtown Portland; headed towards The Fresh Pot coffee shop. Forty minutes of walking. No radio, no news on the ipad, no texts on the phone. The only things I had to do was drop off some promo packages at the mailbox, and drop off my voting ballot at the ballot box (as an aside, let me say it is so cool that every registered voter in Oregon gets a ballot in the mail. We fill it out at home and send it back in. Every state should use this system). Anyway… forty minutes of walking. No NPR. No news. Crossing from residential to the industrial east side; on the bridge over the river, then slipping within the tall buildings downtown. Just walking and my brain randomly thinking about nothing in particular.
While I was sitting at Fresh Pot, I had an idea. I asked the guy behind the counter if he had a sheet of paper and I filled both sides with sloppy red writing. It might be something for my next book. It might be trash. But I wrote SOMETHING!
I am thinking about how to re-introduce my characters in the sequel to Rye. I find it’s a common problem in sequels that writers assume you already know their characters, and they jump right into the story. A writer I met made this mistake in her sequel. Having never read the first book, I was confused by the third sentence. One cannot assume readers know your characters like you do. And yet, you don’t want to bore your return readers with the obvious. This dilemma has been on my mind for a while.
Every day when I was working on Rye, I walked a-mile-and-a-quarter each way to Projekt; I was taking in the surroundings, watching out for traffic, seeing what the druggies at the housing project were up to; and my thoughts were also working on the issues I was gaming out with my characters and plot.
That kind of input from my environment doesn’t seem to hamper my creativity. It seems to stimulate it.
But the radio, the internet, information-inflow? That seems to be a problem. My friend often says: too much input, not enough output! Too much pre-chewed information is bad for my creativity. I have to turn off the radio, stop reading so much news. Walk a mile to a coffee shop. And let me brain do it’s thing.
Hey, check this out: I finally got into the last decade and bought an iPhone. My old blackberry-styled phone wasn’t ringing anymore and the back was being held on by painter’s tape. It was time to get semi-modern.
I am very aware of a problem I’m about to face: iPhone addiction. I don’t want to use the phone as a time-filler, or as a video-watching-device. I want to use it to make my life better (find things on Yelp when I’m out of the house, read texts from the people I am about to meet, make phone calls). I’m sure you’re rolling your eyes and thinking, “Yeah, good luck on that one, Sam!” But really, I want to fight the urge to nurture this addiction. I sense people are losing their connection to other people and their environment, as they crawl into their technology. They’re walking down the street watching cat videos and reading about the ten hottest actresses in SciFi films. All well and good, if that’s how you want to fill your life.
I want my life to be filled with creativity.
Speaking of… I am supposed to be in the studio, rather than procrastinating here writing this blog. At least blogging is writing; it’s creating something; it’s output.
(Yes, I admit it, I shot this photo of my ESI on my iPhone!)
I am out of town next weekend and after that, there are two new Projekt releases to announce. Then I’ll pick back up on the intrinsic value of music (which I started talking about in last week’s blog).
Hi Florida. Which Billionaire would you like to buy your governor?
Article at The New York Times.
Not One Artist’s Album Has Gone Platinum In 2014.
Read the article at Forbes.
This Thursday in Portland… Sound & Chaos: The Story of BC Studio. For over 30 years, Martin Bisi has recorded music at his studio in Brooklyn’s Gowanus neighborhood. Brian Eno worked on the album On Land there. Bisi worked with many other influential musicians there, including Sonic Youth, Swans, Angels of Light, John Zorn, Foetus and the Dresden Dolls. I recorded Brian Viglione’s drums for 10 Neurotics at BC Studio. This film plays Thursday 10/23 at the Hollywood Theatre. There’s a free afterparty + performance by Martin at Club 21. Facebook Event Page.
DEVO free Concert in Times Square from last week. Watch the whole thing on youTube.
Weep: Weep (Pre-order, expected late October) | CD $14
Doc Hammer’s latest CD of lush and powerful Dark Rock with a bit of Shoegaze panache. I Die You Die writes: “The tack that the group’s taken with their fourth full-length, from its unassuming eponymous name to its intentionally buzz-forsaking promotional strategy, to its less bombastic yet no less memorable sound seems specifically designed to avoid putting Weep in the same category or conversation as its predecessor.”
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