Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Fridge poems

I've been SSOOOO busy! But if anyone reads this stuff, I suppose you deserve an update for your patience and dedication, so in a nutshell:

I've been having a wonderful time galliivanting around the city in my floatiest dresses.

I've been eating gelato and drinking champagne.

I've been watching silly movies and listening to silly music. The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy is such a terrible movie! I can't believe I bought the thing (although I still acknowledge I had to have it to complete my collection). The actual humour has been hastily cut out with plot devices and the philosophy is gone. The new story is interesting, but it's not in the spirit of HHGTTG; the writer just didn't get it.

I almost bought a dress but it only came in 14 and I couldn't be bothered taking in all the frilly bits.

My hair is bothering me because it's at an in-between stage and I have to wear it in a certain way so it looks shorter than it is but looks like the shape isn't really weird.

I've been taking the little Dewdrop to the park. She loves the slide and she eats olives in a way that causes me to redefine my idea of eating a lot of olives. But hey - it's great for growing brains; olives were a gift to Athens from Athina, goddess of beauty and learning.

I've been taking inspiration from those magnetic words that you put on the fridge. According to the book, the guy who invented them was actually a musician who used them to write songs. Cool! Only thing is, the set I have is in Italian. I forget half my conjugations, but I've been caught up in the rhythm of the language - it's the most musical language I know. So I've been writing in Italian, although I admit occasionally I need to go to my grammar or dictionary.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Writing poems

I've been jotting down some words.

I wanted to share some of them.

What you're about to see represents first drafts. The first one is a very teenagerish angst-filled poem about being afraid of love and acting out, only to end up very alone. I think it's self-explanatory. Most readers have been a teenager at some point.

The second one is about different ways of loving. The song describes four women and each has her own style of music. The first two women (I wrote women because I am a woman... it's how I relate to the world of romance) fight their lover - the first woman is losing and the second woman is "winning" - he does what she says. The third woman just martyrs herself - well it's better than fighting... but the fourth woman is capable of giving without losing herself - her partnership is to their joint benefit. The idea came from Lao Tse's verse on leadership - his version is better than mine but would make a very strange song.

poem 1
I gave you my heart
When I left you I thought it would come with me
Instead it stayed where it belonged
Without my presence and anger to poisin it
My heart grew
Each day it doubled in capacity
Began to glow
Now my heart shines with perfect love for you
Can it overcome my fear?
I'm afraid to lose but I must lose this battle
Against my heart

Seventeen
She sees him
She knows what she wants
She looks inside herself for the anger and tears
Love means passion
And passion means war

She sees her man
She tells him what she wants
She looks inside herself for the heart of glass
Love means struggle
A pain she controls

She knows him
She gives him what he needs
She looks inside herself to be what he wants
Love means giving
And giving brings love

She hears him
She takes the time for him
She looks inside herself for the peace they seek
Love means sharing
United and strong

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Making plans

Well I've decided to try to get into composition. I feel very strongly about it, but of course I'm waiting and thinking and trying to determine why I feel composition is the right thing for me to study.

I'll have to get together something a bit formal for my interview. That means this recording session in October is so much more of a deadline than it would otherwise have been.

The idea is to do the combined degree music/science and major in composition and mathematics. Sounds strange, but actually knowing how to compose makes for a stronger mathematician, and knowing maths makes for a better musician. As far as I'm concerned, music and maths are the same stuff, presented slightly differently.

Making the decision to study music and science is also a lifestyle and family choice. It's a decision to spend the next few years here in Canberra as a student, and to spend it with other students. I don't yet know how family fits in with that, but there's lots of time to keep thinking about it. The application doesn't have to go in until the end of October - it's usually later, but I'll need to arrange an interview to get into NITA, and they're during November.

But I have to get on with my life - there's no point sitting here writing about what I want to do forever!

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Update

Dewdrop's fine. False alarm.

She'll probably have a little bruise but there's no swelling.

Bump!

Poor little Dewdrop took a bump on the head today. I thought we'd have a fun morning together and she ended up with a dint followed by an egg. I sat her down and tried to put something cold on it, but she SCREAMED in protest.

She's having her siesta now - I'll spend the time tidying all the stickers she's scattered and vacuuming her couscous.

By the way, I've thought about what I wrote last night, and I'm totally into writing about being a big nerd. I don't think it happens enough, so from memory, here are some words for you to ponder:

I ran into her on computer camp
Was that in '84?
Not sure.. I had my Commodore 64. Had to score.
Not with that dirty tramp!
She's not a tramp - her name is Judy!
That's a nice name.
Yeah, she's a nice girl.
Big deal. Did you get in her pants?
No way - she's not that kind of a girl, Booger!
Why, does she have a penis?

Funny how Data Rock, a Norwegian group, have a way of finding and using English.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Blogging is a culture, man!

Having had comments from this guy Shrover, I've been reading through his blog and it's quite refreshing to see something so funny, especially coming out of Zombie Town. How he managed to get in I'm not quite sure but I'm glad the whole place isn't undead.

I'm currently working on a song about the Blog. (Not his, the Plato-style abstract perfect entity... thingy. The experience. Blogging. That stuff.) It's easy enough to write a poem about logging on and having a laugh at this and a read of that, but goodness, what music do you put it to?

My song about arguing in relationships is easier to write - it's clearly a fugue as lovers tend to argue in fugue!

I heard another George Dubya remix today. I'm getting really impressed with how musical they can make a bunch of words sound. I'm getting my act together to do a Shatner remix! "Picture your...self.... In a boat! On a river!" no more! I'll get that silly man in rhythm and making musical sense.

Shatner claims he and music are old friends, but clearly Shatner and music still have issues to resolve.

I'm thinking of the song about being stuck on hold "You're valuable... so very valuable". There are so many everyday experiences that people can appreciate in a song... it's like being a bard - bring music back to the people! I'll be looking out for those experiences.

Finished the ending of Number of the Beast again. I'm not entirely certain, but I think Heinlein wanted to say "stuff the lot of you - I'm a great writer and I'll write about whatever I want to write about! And I happen to want to write polyamory, yes and even incest, and generally explore all the rubbish I ever enjoyed reading about as a kid! It's all wrong but it's still a great book - make of it what you will!"

Hopeful

It's been a better day. I'm feeling hopeful again.

Been jotting down notes on my sci-fi story. I've come up with a totally interesting universe, but no story to play out in it! Who wants to read that? I need a new idea to get people travelling... and that's a challenge. People travelling through a universe is not exactly a new idea.

Had an idea for a song about the fight that happens in the music shops. Guitarists are accustomed to just turning up their amp. Pianists are accustomed to banging away. They never get along! Those amps just can't compete with a nice big lump of spruce. And you'd never know, because a piano just sounds so nice.

Had a good read. I'm back into The Number of the Beast because I'm committed to figuring out just what happens in the end!
Number of the Beast is a unique "people travel through the universe" story, with lots of social commentary, mostly about marriage. I'm glad Heinlein wasn't my husband!

Also on my bookshelf: The Mote in God's Eye, UAC 2006 Guide, and a lot of self-psychology or self-empowering (is that a word?) books. I love Barbara DeAngelis and Leil Lowndes - they're romantics.

Piano's getting to the stalled stage. I need new approaches to my practice for each of my pieces.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

ghost town

I'm so disappointed with this city. I went out dancing last night. I know Wednesday's not the most popular night, but I'm going to be busy this weekend, and I remember Wednesday being one of the most fun nights out, because everyone's in the nightclub just trying to burn off a bit of excess energy, enjoy some tunes and have a good time.

I went to the one nightclub that still has music of a Wednesday (it used to be everywhere!) and the place was almost empty. Why? Well, it was raining, it was Wednesday, nobody wants to go out any more!

There were the usual places open - pubs for students. But I wasn't dressed for a pub - I wouldn't have had a moment of peace in my black miniskirt! I was dressed for dancing...

I know there's a lot of drugs going round this city. OK, it's so deadly dull, there's nothing to do except take drugs... I can see that argument, although I've never believed it. More to the point, people who take drugs regularly are very boring otherwise. If you need a pill to have a good night out, chances are you're not going to be any fun of a Wednesday while your previous weekend's "fun" is still wearing off. What else? Alcohol and dancing never went together. I've no idea how much herb is around nowadays, but it used to be everywhere - it stands in place of personality for many people.

It's not just the dancing. There's no decent coffee to be had - so there's no way to enjoy sitting in a cafe. The shopping is all mall and chain-store style. The restaurants are, with very few exceptions, simply horrible - a few are OK. Local centres are ugly and for the most part utilitarian and definitely not good places to meet your neighbours!

I'm disappointed that this city lacks imagination and soul. I went out thinking there'd be likeminded people and some dancing. Perhaps I'm already suffering generation gap at 21? Where are all the creative people? Why does everyone look the same, act the same, try so hard to conform?

Somebody tell me why I'm getting so frustrated with this place!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Conflicting emotions and my family

Well it's been another busy week in Rocket Land.

I've been doing my usual cooking muffins a zillion times better than the stuff in the shops, caring for my darlink toddler and keeping house while practicing away. My piano pieces have improved tenfold, although they still have a way to go. But I'm looking forward to my exam, which is something I don't say very often.

I'm so used to cruising through on my intelligence, that I've never been into my study, but that's an essay for another day. For now, it's enough to know that I'm enjoying working hard.

I've also been procrastinating. Oh sure, there were days when I was itching to write, but just exhausted. But the past 2 days have been spent itching to write but nervous about probing into my deepest emotions, lest I depress myself. I'm also reluctant to expose myself in public, so I've been nervous about sharing these feelings.

Most of my inspiration comes from my family, which is hard because I don't want to tell the world about my relationships. I've written about this before - it's one thing to sing about relationships and feelings, and another to share intimate details. But the emotions are either true or false. Either way feels strange.

Like most families, there are mixed feelings. My partner and I have recently separated, and I don't know if it's forever. There's love, hope, regret, anger, jealousy, guilt, warmth, attraction, romance... as in every relationship, a number of feelings appear at different times as we have different phases. When we're getting along, it's a summer song about cuddling up and watching star trek together, him admiring the Captain's discipline while I check out Frakes. Yes, we're TNG fans. He promised to start collecting DS9 which I know he'll enjoy, but he never got around to it. When we're not getting along, there may be misunderstandings or arguments... and they hurt.

There are dozens of ways to look at our relationship. Maybe we will be one of those wonderful husband-wife teams that take on the world and change it for the better. Or maybe I should allow my mentor to introduce me to a nice professor of the humanities. Or I could go out dancing tonight and meet another reckless teenage girl looking for some fun in life.

My main emotion is disappointment. I have such high hopes for us!

So I've been drinking coffee and digging deep. It's depressing, so I'm a little depressed. But I'm hoping to write it all out soon. I've got three weeks to get my lyrics together AND start composing music. All this while I write, practice, sew, cook and try to get some employment.

Another conflict is where am I going to live and what am I going to do?

Right now, I live in a city where the university has a world-class maths department. Possibly the world's best, depending on what you like. People come here to do honours and find themselves back in second-year classes! But I hate the city. If I move to the big smoke, I'll be home... it's not that I'm unwelcome here, just that there's no place here that's welcoming. The university is a tiny enclave in a big mess of no talent, no imagination copycats who want to feel like they're living the good life but don't know what that really means. There are few people here that I want to spend time with, and they live the student life which I'm not involved in. Even as a student, I'd only be happy living on campus, which I don't and probably can't...

Then there's music versus maths versus family. I'd give it all up for my family, although I don't know if that's an option. I can write, create and express myself and feel fulfilled with my family. Studying maths won't give me that, and I don't know if being creative on its own will really do it either. I've always wanted to be a scientist. I want to study maths and data analysis so I can do physics or other sciences, probably involving computers.

Thing is, if I'm here I don't need to choose. I can apply for enrolment in B Music/B Science. It's perfect - the best maths in the country, combined with music tuition from my mentor's colleagues! Everyone knows you make your own fun and your own friends, so I could really get to enjoy it. But what if he has to work in the city? What if I can't make friends?

These conflicts are certainly fertile ground for new songs to come from, but sharing them feels a bit like making love for the first time - I'm so scared that I'm not sure when I'll be ready to share myself with my listeners.

So I'll be around town with my notebook at some stage, and I'll be scribbling and crossing out for the next few weeks.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Return to civilization

No piano practice today; I'm back in the big smoke after a few weeks in what can only be described as the little smoke. Of course, given that the little smoke is where I live, I'm in for a lot more of the dull, dreary country life. I'm only staying in the city overnight.

I was really looking forward to that classic city activity - sitting in a cafe with a mineral water and maybe a scoop of gelato, and writing lyrics in my Moleskine journal. Unfortunately, although I had a lovely walk and a delicious dinner, my dinner companions have piked. I'm on my own and I realized it was better to just have a shower, get in my pyjamas and write on the couch instead.

Lonely? No, not exactly. It's a nice couch and I'm enjoying my own company. I need to live my own life but that includes having someone to care about. With all my friends either studying like mad or living somewhere far away, I'm getting that lonely feeling, but mostly I'm remembering that they still care and using the opportunity to work on my projects.

So I'm off to write sad songs now. And then happy ones.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Ways to get the most out of practice

Yep, I'm still at it! Here are some of the different tricks and ideas I'm using to keep myself motivated through my practice. Unfortunatlely, this post is only going to be of use to serious musicians...
  • Practice each hand on its own and try to memorise the part. It's amazing how I come to remember one part by its relationship to the whole.
  • Put the metronome on set to slow and try to get the whole thing even. When the piece has a lot of big chords, this is very valuable. I use first one hand then both, trying to get it as even as possible.
  • Put the metronome on set to fast and challenge myself. I play just one passage at a time and try to get it really moving along. It forces me to get the rhythms even.
  • Just play through the piece and focus on the interpretation. If I really don't feel like doing drills, this can help me to get into practice.
  • Play backwards from the end. Work on a passage at a time starting with the big finale! That's always the bit that needs to be confident if the energy is going to keep through - otherwise you're just waiting for the hard bit to start.
When I'm really having trouble motivating myself, I think about how important it is to do justice to the piece of music. I'm not really motivated by exam results, so it's more useful to play properly through respect for the composer. If only I could find an equivalent motivation to get me working hard on my maths!

Sunday, September 04, 2005

A long day

Hi there readers!

It's been very busy for me today, powering through my ironing pile, working my fingers down with Hanon exercises and of course getting set up to get a day job. (Don't worry, readers - it's not with a mega-corp. Rather, I'm going into small business.)

Because I've got an exam soon, I've been doing mostly just my piano work, but I've really got to start working on my songs, because I've got studio time in a month. I'm very nervous about really writing down and playing with some of the ideas that I've got, because they're so perfect as concepts, but as real music, they have to be created and re-created until they make sense!

I'm so tired and I don't understand why. I've been sleeping, although it's been a long time since I've had good sleep. I've been starting to exercise again, so maybe I'm tired from that. I'm craving a coffee. I want to grind the beans, press them down ... hard. I want to watch the crema darken and thicken then lighten as the coffee pours. I want the smell, the feel of the grounds on my skin, the taste. But as lovely as it feels to be perky with caffeine, I know it's really not that great for my body. So I'll enjoy the poetry of coffee, but leave the reality of it for times when I can really enjoy it.

Back to work

It's great to be feeling better. I've been doing some yoga this afternoon and I'm really enjoying the feeling. I love to stretch and twist, I guess. What I'm learning that I really love above all is my writing. It seems so silly to think that I can be successful as a writer, but I'm looking forward to spending more time working on this blog and my new project at http://gorgeous-r.blogspot.com which is a sort of magazine, looking at beauty, health and lifestyle issues, but doing it from the perspective of a thinking woman, maybe a bit of a geek. It should be good fun.

I'm also starting to get right into my music. The piano work I'm doing is coming along very well. I've had a bit of a bad week because I've had trouble finding my motivation to really do the tedious work of separate hands metronome work. It's so painful! But it's necessary, and as I keep telling myself, those composers wrote that work with the greatest love and respect for the people to whom it was dedicated. To get it wrong because I didn't care to work through the tedious boring bits of practice is to show great disrespect to the composer and the friend. It's making a mockery of everything I claim to feel in the music.

Also looming in my life is my dedication to my electropop music. Think of it like that Europop stuff that's sort of techno but still totally poppy... then stick in all sorts of interesting elements like fugue, syncopation, soundscaping... I'm hoping to bring a new depth to simple pop music. The songs will be for singing along (mostly) but also have sufficient depth to make them interesting listening. I'm also working on the visual elements for the live show, but that's so hard to do with pop when the act is basically a singer/composer who isn't likely to do much that's visually interesting as far as the music goes. I'm still looking for a new approach to the problem.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Long absence

It's been a long time since I've written anything here, and the reason is that I've been sick.

I'm going to keep writing about my experiences as a musician, but I'm going to scale back this blog so that I'm not just blathering on about any old thing as I have been a bit.

Stay tuned for my new concept: a beauty, lifestyle and fashion magazine that doesn't insult your intelligence.