Archive for Spirit

Songwriting Challenge Week 3

Posted in Songwriting, Songwriting Challenge 2012 with tags , , , , , , , on March 7, 2012 by Gideon K

This week has been another partial eye-opener. Thankfully.

I started out with an artistic hangover and itchy pen scrabbling to finish the unfinished business of last week’s song. I had figured that I was going somewhere with the last song and that despite the deadline having been crossed, I should stick with the goal and get it finished.

It didn’t work out that way.

I had a few more glimpses at the overall picture of the song but it has not gotten any closer to me. I have at least cut out a fair bit of what was the excess of the song, and have been finding out that which is elemental about it.

If I’m singing a song I’ve just been writing, and I can’t remember the words, or which phrases go where, it’s usually because they aren’t that good in the first place. There are certain phrases that stuck out right from the beginning and have stayed in the song, because they work, they fit and are memorable. The song can be a bit like a jigsaw puzzle at times, although you’re trying to complete the puzzle while riding an elephant’s back and having a crowd of hooded, cloaked strangers on either side shouting at you and throwing pieces of the puzzle at you. Some of the pieces belong to the puzzle, some do not, some pieces are very nice but do not belong to this puzzle. It’s not always easy. It is often interesting at least, if arduous at times.

The best lyrics to songs are ones that I can write and then go and sing straight away, or come out and get written down after I have just sung them. I have a good deal of the song from week two like that, but I realised I should be looking to other songs that need their own bit of attention. I’ve made some kind of peace with this winter song and realise that as long as I’m not going anywhere, it won’t either.

It will come when it’s ready, or when I am.

In the meantime I received a blessing of sorts. The song I’d been working on put me in mind of an earlier song I had been working on at different points in the last year or two, but never quite felt I had the whole thing in the bag, or that I’d tied the various pockets of clarity together.

One morning this past week however, I woke up thinking about the song. In the spirit of the challenge I went to the appropriate song file and pulled out all the worksheets I’d accumulated for it (it pays to be organised) and went to work on it.

The force was with me that day – I finished it in under an hour. Cut out anything that I felt wasn’t vital to the characters and the story, and assembled it like puzzle pieces, like a recipe I was cooking and there it was.

It was one of those beautiful moments when you get lucky.

I say ‘Lucky’ because it’s a spirit that you sometimes channel. I did put in a LOT of work into the piece over the past, but sometimes moments of clarity and power hit you and they ride you just as much as you ride them. When something really powerful happens it is bigger than you, and like Neil Young says “You don’t own that”.

(check out this clip and Neil talking about ‘the essence’)

Now I’m looking forward to the next week, and think it’s time for something a little more RAWK.

Hold onto your helmets people.

The Artist’s Way: Week 5

Posted in Creativity, The Artist's Way with tags , , , , , , on September 11, 2011 by Gideon K

Days I did my morning pages: 7/7

Some of them I did a little later than first thing in the morning, and some of them in a less than ideal state of coherence, but that was interesting too. More days than not I did the pages in a relentless stream of non-stop writing, not allowing my mind to veer off into predictable and habitual thought patterns, but simply to report what was running through my mind.

In the artist check-in this week it asked whether I’d found the ‘One and a half page truth point’, but I believe I wrote about that within the first 2 weeks of starting this.

Artist Date: No.

Again, I didn’t give myself the time this week because I had too many work or evening commitments and spent several nights this week thoroughly enjoying myself in a social and recreational manner. I think this charged my batteries in a different but equally important way.

It’s becoming an obvious point of self-neglect that I need to address.

HOWEVER, I have made the following two steps to address this:

1) I’ve booked myself in to go on a weekend retreat doing meditation and that kind of thing.

A perfect example of synchronicity actually, but it’s one from last week. I met up with a friend who mentioned a mate of his who has been staying on a farm somewhere, just meditating and farming the land. This guy had been extending invites to my mate to come and visit him. I’ve wanting to get out of London for a few days for ages. I had to cancel my summer trips that I’d planned due to them clashing with my recording schedule and generally having no money. As soon as I got in I messaged the guy to ask about it and he told me they’re having a retreat there this coming weekend. Perfect timing, perfect synchronicity. How could I NOT go?

I’ve never done much in the way of meditation before but I’m always game for something new, especially if I might learn something from it. So off I’m going on Friday to stay up in Cheshire for the weekend and spend it in ‘Noble Silence’. Can’t wait.

2) I’ve been meaning to take some upright bass lessons ever since I bought my Electric Upright back in March this year. I’ve taken a few lessons on Youtube (God bless the internet) but I have really wanted a proper bassist in the room with me to give me pointers, mainly on technique and how to hold it so that I don’t develop bad habits from the start.

Anyway, a few weeks ago I went to an amazing Jazz club in Greenwich and chatted to the bassist during the interval, and asked him if he taught lessons. He said he did, but also it turns out he lives pretty near to me. Only a few stops away whereas previously all the teachers I’d found advertised in London where all living miles out.

This week I got in touch with him and have booked a lesson in 2 weeks time. Can’t wait.

On a related note, one of the developments this week has been that I’ve been much kinder to myself, and much less stingy with myself in allowing my artist to have everything it desires (as much as my quivering bank balance will allow anyway). I’ve also finally gotten enough cash together that I’m allowing myself to breathe a little.

This coming week will be addressing some issues surrounding money which I’m looking forward to and should indeed be interesting.

One of the tasks was to write a list of 19 wishes and the last one was the biggest wish. I’d like to share mine, word for word:

I most especially wish for… the time, health, life and sanity to act out my wishes and take my chance and risk on these dreams of mine. To be one of the few people who actually DOES what they want, and in doing so prove it’s possible, and be an inspiration to others to do likewise. Amen.

The things that really matter are a question of spirit. Everything else is logistics.

I don’t know if this counts as synchronicity, but I’ve had one track up from my recent recordings as a teaser for those who’ve asked and those who are interested, but I’ve not been advertising it because it’s not the final mix. David and I were meant to meet up and remaster the tracks 2 weeks ago but had to postpone to last week, which got postponed til tomorrow because he has had to move house and rebuild his studio.

Exactly… time doesn’t fly, it falls away.

Once the tracks are done I’ll be tearing you all new orifices don’t you worry.

The point of this is that I turned on my computer last night to find someone I’ve never met nor heard of has made that song ‘Track of the day’ on their website, which from what I could tell was small independent label/management company. They had this to say about the track:

It’s really cool though. People seem to be really responding to my songs when I’ve been playing them.

I don’t know if it’s the course that is doing this, or if it is that I was ready at this point and doing the course is just part of me continuing to experiment with myself and what I’m capable of, and the universe rewarding me for my effort. I like it the same either way.

Life is very exciting right now.