Archive for Synchronicity

The Artist’s Way: Week 12

Posted in Creativity, The Artist's Way with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 7, 2011 by Gideon K

This is my last check-in post on here. The end of week 12 means the end of the course. I may have a post or two in the future to give more perspective on the whole experience, but other than that I’m going to be doing more topical kinds of posts I was doing before, as well as new experiments.

Morning Pages: 6 ½ /7

Friday I only did half the amount, so it really was exactly 6 ½. I had to get up to go to an audition. My mind was already quite focused on that and the pages just didn’t feel necessary or useful that day.

I only did 4 days of song pages this week, which isn’t bad but it’s nothing to write home about. I know what the problems were here. I haven’t gotten back to recording my songs or making demos at home over the last few months particularly. Nowhere near as much as I should or need to. The pages work best when in conjunction with playing and recording songs.

In a way though, it’s better that I’ve not done that until now that I’ve finished the course. Now is my chance to put the teachings, learning and experience to the test and get into work mode, as opposed to the quasi monk-like learning, receptive mode I’ve been cultivating. Now I can get on with bulldozing my way through my backlog of songs etc.

Artist Date: Yes

I took my bass down to the guitar centre and spent an hour or two trying out nearly every bass amp they had that took my fancy. They didn’t have the ones I really wanted to try in stock, but anyway the experience was fun, useful and now I have more direct experience, sonic reference points and knowledge of bass amps in general.

It mostly confirmed my previously held views that a) Modelling amps, Digital amps and the like are completely useless b) I’ll never be the owner of a Marshall amp – they’re just so damn awful mostly. c) Just like with guitars, the majority of gear that can be bought in a guitar shop is shit and of little-to-no use.

I was talking with the guys who worked there and all of them had the same stance I did regarding new guitars – they’d never buy one.

Regarding these artist dates, I need to maintain them on a permanent basis as I now know what their purpose and effect is. They keep me charged and invigorated, force me to confront myself and to have fun.

Also this week I went to an Artist’s Anonymous meeting. A friend of mine has been going to one and finds it useful, and so I went to check it out on her recommendation. I can’t say it was really my thing, structured as it was around the 12-Step recovery program and catered to that way of dealing with things. It made me realise more how I’m something of a solitary worker, and that I tend to do a lot of my more constructive work and thinking when I’m alone. I’ve always liked the idea of group discussion and group work etc but I guess everyone has their own ways. Either that or I haven’t tried it out with the right people.

Synchronicity:

I put up a bunch of ads online looking for a drummer, a bassist, and a guitarist, or some combination of these with the aim of getting a band together. I’ve been looking in a semi-productive way for the last couple of months, but not in a focused, determined way. I’ve had a lot of stuff on my plate last month to be fair, but now is the time. I had a case of the ‘Fuck it’s and put together some semi-outrageous ads using hyperbolic descriptions and dramatic flair, to make it fun for myself to post them as much as for the potential reader.

The sheer number of responses I’ve had over the past 3-4 days has been pretty cool. I checked my spam filter for the first time in weeks and found a whole lot more had been hidden in there. I didn’t even post musical links on the ad itself so people were responding to the sheer attitude of the text. Which was nice.

I already know that several of them won’t work out and are quite possibly insane people contacting me, but hey – rough with the smooth.

I reached out to the void and it has responded. Now I have to step up and take what has been offered.

Also, the other week I had a group of guys who are already in a band contacting me via youtube after they found my profile on a music forum. They wanted me to be their singer, which is exactly the role I’m looking for, so I went to meet up with them for a jam.

I want to get a band together so badly, but slowly the pieces are starting to move closer. They’re nowhere near in place, but there is definite motion.

So…..

I’ve come to the end of this particular journey or quest.

How do I feel about it? I’m not sure. I don’t feel like there is any sense of closure from doing the course.

In a way, I’ll miss having a weekly set of tasks to do. It’s nice to have a set path to follow rather than face it alone out there in the big scary world. Despite my vehement hatred of being in school, it wasn’t the student-teacher relationship, or being a pupil I disliked. They just weren’t teaching me what (I thought) I wanted to know. When it comes to art, creativity, play, music etc – I’m ALWAYS a student, and a good student. I do my homework, put apples on the teacher’s desk, put my hand up in class… hell I’d stay after the lesson for extracurricularactivies with ALL my teachers at that school.

I think that is one of the main things I’ve enjoyed about the course – having someone (or in this case the whole canon of creative minds of history being quoted) to look to, to learn from, to try suggestions from, to learn how to nurture myself and better myself free of any ulterior motives or misguided ideas. Something I could trust myself with.

In the past I’ve lamented not really having any mentors in my life that I knew on a personal basis, not having someone older, smarter, wiser in artistic areas to look up to. I’m over that generally speaking, and now just look to learn from whoever and whatever, whenever I can – including this book.

I’ll be a lot more free time-wise, and also artistically because I feel even stronger, more self-maintaining and self-sufficient as an artist and a person in general. This whole chapter has just been another step forward that I have to continue, as I have always done – in my own way. I’ll find other quests and challenges soon enough.

What I’m getting at is that it doesn’t feel like anything is finished.

I feel a bit like a cannonball. I have been propelled forward for the last 3 months, but I’m only now just clear of the barrel, flying through the air unaided by anything other than my own momentum and the initial decision to light the fuse.

I’m back on my own again and it feels good. Most probably because I’m not really on my own, I have my inner guidance, higher guidance, and my ears pricked for what the universe has to say today. I’m in the thick of it. And I’m smiling.

I know my way to get to the unknown, which is where I want to be.

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:

http://killingmoonlimited.com/2011/09/09/track-of-the-day-black-hay-i-feel-something/

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.

The Artist’s Way: Week 4

Posted in Creativity, The Artist's Way with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 4, 2011 by Gideon K

Days I did my morning pages: 5/7 or 7/7 depending on viewpoint.

On Tuesday I missed my first morning pages simply because I did not have time for them before work that morning or I would’ve been hideously late. I felt grumpy, shitty and irritable all morning because of this and resorted to doing them in my lunch break, which helped a little, but not a lot.

Then today, I only got round to doing them at about 5 o-clock in the afternoon when I got in. I was out all night, and then on my way back to pick up the car where I left it, I called my friend Isaac who lives near there and met up for a 2.30 breakfast and coffee….

 

Artist Date: No. I just didn’t give myself the time this week. It was pretty packed. However, I did get paid this week and took myself shopping for some new clothes for the first time this year. In a way I suppose that counts, it’s just not particularly imaginative or generous.

 

This week on the whole has been very interesting for me. The first day I woke up feeling quite sad and grim, with the horrible thought that my life would just be one long drudging trip, everything staying the same and never changing. Once I’d woken up a bit and started writing my pages, I realised it was just a fear to motivate me to work harder in the other direction – the one I’m already moving in. My morning pages tend to always end on a positive note, and I think I do that on purpose, especially after I use them to purge myself of any doubts or things that are bothering me. It’s an indulgence that suits me and works for me.

 

I really enjoyed the bit about writing a letter as the 80 year old version of myself to me now aged 25. Here’s part of my description of myself at 80:

 

“I will be tall, thin, healthy, smiling. I will walk with a stick that I don’t need. I will have a full head of bright white hair and my eyes will be fierce and alive. I will laugh a lot, children will like me. I will smell nice, wear expensive cologne and always wear tailored suits. I will enjoy dancing regularly. I will sing gently, softly, smoothly. I will stand up for pregnant women on public transport. I will make a mean ravioli.”

 

It went on like that for a while – I was laughing my ass off by the time I finished, but I meant every word of it. If any of you are still around when I’m that old… just you wait and see.

 

I did the second of those life-circle exercises and found that my life, or at least how I see it, has improved in 4 of the 6 areas, with the ‘work’ and ‘exercise’ ones staying roughly the same. I was glad about that. For the past two weeks I have been applying the ‘Kaizen’ approach which is instead of trying to make drastic changes to areas of my life, to merely change them gradually, making small, incrementally improvements as often as possible.I believe this is meant to eliminate problems, but could also be seen as making improvements, or at least that’s how I’m choosing to interpret it.

This could be as simple as practising some guitar scales for 5 mins every other day, or doing 10 extra press ups in the morning or whatever. This is muche more sustainable than trying to make huge changes in a short space of time, and once you have some small successes, you build a head of steam.

 

Synchronicity has been carrying on too. Quite a lot actually but here’s two examples:

 

I was thinking about learning more about jazz theory and technique. When I met up with Isaac, he mentioned something along those very same lines, so we’ve agreed to meet up next week for a brief session fumbling with some standards or some theory. Then maybe meet up again the next week.

 

I didn’t know what to wear to this fancy dress party. My friend Alice told me she had a great idea for what me and my brother could wear, and then she made them for us. Too cool.

 

It’s funny, but describing the effects of the course, every insight or discovery – it all comes out sounding like a lot of very clichéd statements, or ‘happy-clappy’ cod-spiritual pseudo-enlightenment, but I’m fine with that. Cynicism is too much of an indulgence for people who prize their fear more highly than anything else and I’m having too much fun using my mind and my life as an experimental playground. Those clichés are all there because they have a good measure of truth to them.

 

The one I’ve been thinking about themost however, and the one that has been most applicable to my current state is ‘Easy does it’.

 

Oooh, I almost forgot – I had to endure a reading ban this week. I wasn’t allowed to pick up any books or magazines (other than the Artist’s Way of course hehehe) in order to shake off all kinds of habits and open my eyes as to how much reading books can be a crutch as much as a good thing. I slipped up a few times simply forgetting I wasn’t supposed to read. But I had a number of conversations with people that I wouldn’t have had if I’d been allowed to read.

 

Til next time folks….

The Artist’s Way: Week 3

Posted in Creativity, The Artist's Way with tags , , , , , , , , on August 29, 2011 by Gideon K

Days I did my morning pages: 7/7

 

Artist Date: Yes. I went to my Aunt’s house to play their piano for a couple of hours. I’ve only got a busted old electric one which is no fun to play. I killed two birds with one stone because the piano playing was something on my list of things to do from last week that I didn’t get round to doing. It was good to make the time to sit down properly instead of stealing a few minutes here and there to twinkle away on the pieces that are already part of my repertoire. I would love to start taking lessons again.

Overall this week has been really good and quite busy. A little intense at times too. It’s funny sitting here and going over it: I played an open mic and gave one song a live debut, finished (I think) a song which has been evading me for a loooong time, spent a day in the studio mixing my songs (not quite right yet – everything is in it’s place and audible, but some of the power that the rough mixes had has been lost. Restoration time is on Wednesday).

I’d been listening to the rough mixes of the songs I’ve recorded and this week, for the first time really, I stared feeling really good about them. I had a sense of achievement about them, feeling that I’d worked really hard on them and that I had at least done them justice. It’s a great feeling.

On top of that I went all the way to Aylesbury last Monday for an audition with a band looking for a bass player and had a great time playing with really good musicians. I love solid drummers, they put a smile in my bones. I’m heading back there tonight actually seeing as they asked me back and seemed to like me. It’s a very small world – I got asked to try out because the guitarist knows my little sister somehow through a work placement, and it turns out the woman who runs the studio is an old friend of my mate’s dad who is also a producer.

Which brings me onto the next thing: Synchronicity.

They always go on about it in the book, and I’ve always had some sort of sense of it. It directly relates to my philosophy about buying instruments.

But this week alone I’ve had a few funny examples of synchronicity which make me think that this phenomenon is always happening but we either don’t always notice, or we tend to ignore it.

This week:

I was thinking about looking for more sessioning work now that I’ve finished recording my own tracks for the moment. My mate Steve told me that his flat mate (now ex-flatmate) was a producer who was looking for a guitarist to work with on recordings. I got the guy’s number and got in touch and we’ve agreed to talk further when he’s back in London.

I was thinking about generally being broke and how even when working it takes a while between every pay package, too long sometimes. – I found out I had been given a premium bond by my uncle when I was 13 that was just sitting there doing nothing interest-wise and so once cashed in I’ll have a spare few quid in my pocket. Much needed and very welcome thank you.

I thought it was really cold out last night when I was out and was thinking about how I should start getting ready for winter by buying some new warm clothes so that I don’t freeze my ass off.

This morning my mum asks me if I need anything from M&S because she’s got loads of points on her card from buying things there over the last few years, and would I like to use any of them.

That has been a cool development and I’m looking forward to much more of it in the near future.

The artist pages have been great. They say if you’re doing them then they are working for you. I just need to get up earlier or do them quicker and stop being late for work.

One thing I haven’t been doing so well with is the artists dates. I’ve been doing them, ok, but I don’t feel like I’ve been REALLY treating my inner artist, spoiling him the way the book seems to suggest. It’s not just a money thing because I have plenty of ideas that I could be doing that don’t cost any money. I’m not tight with money, but I am with time it seems.

I’m really glad I gave myself the time to just sit and play piano. I’m going to be doing a lot more of that sort of thing from now on.