There was a running joke I had with my friends in the police department over the last couple of years: I was a man leading a double life. Not quite like Bruce Wayne and Batman (though that would be pretty cool). But the two worlds were very different all the same.
For anywhere between eight and 14 hours a day, I was a policeman, dealing with police things. But I made sure people knew that the instant the fourth tire of my car left the station’s parking lot, my life was about music journalism. The uniform came off, the record store/band t-shirt came on, and I was not interested in talking about cop stuff again until my car re-entered the station parking lot. And for the most part, it worked.
Still, I could hardly wait until my retirement date. When that came, I could put cop stuff aside and focus solely on my music journalist life. No more interference. No more long days at the office that drained me of my energy to write once I got home. It would be smooth sailing from there.
Hmmm. Maybe not so much.
It turns out that even within the realm of writing about music, I’m STILL leading a double life. Now, my world is divided between working on reviews, interviews, and this blog AND doing research for, organizing, and ultimately writing the Bernie Worrell biography. This is a completely separate entity from my life within CirdecSongs. The author and the music journalist must lead slightly different lives. It’s a nice problem to have, but it’s still a problem from time to time.
Today is a prime example. I just got off the phone with Preston Singletary, who formed one of the last bands Bernie played in. It was a great talk, and there is much information to be gleaned from that chat. I’d love to dive into. Trouble is, I promised someone I would have his rather lengthy interview online by tomorrow (Saturday), and I have several record reviews to write, along with arranging some future CirdecSongs interviews. The Preston material (along with four other Bernie-related interviews I conducted this week) will have to wait.
This is turning into actual work. Fun work. But work all the same.
Each aspect requires different mindsets. The reviews, etc. are the equivalent of comets in my world. They appear in my world quickly and burn just as rapidly. I get the material, I do what is required, I put it out in the world, and I move on. There are times when I’m alarmed by how quickly it happens, or who much I have written that I’ve all but forgotten about. The book is different. It’s a star, bright, slow-burning, and visible for an extended period of time. Writing a book requires next-level focus and attention to detail. Trying to maintain both mindsets in the same day doesn’t really compute in my fragile little mind.
Sadly, it has taken a couple of months of intense “trial and error” to reach this fairly obvious conclusion. I must now embrace the art of dividing my time. There will be CirdecSongs days, and there will be Bernie Worrell days. I’m on a deadline with the Bernie book, so clearly it will receive a bit more time than the reviews and interviews. How much? I’m still trying to figure that out. Now all I can hear in my head is David Byrne: “You may ask yourself, how do I work this?” A 60/40 split seems logical. But I need to determine just what that looks like. I’ll get there, I suppose.
When all is said and done, I like to go to bed knowing I accomplished something that day. The problem I’ve had is I never seem to feel like I gave enough attention to one thing or another. This feels like a solution worth looking into. How long my “workday” will be has yet to be determined. But let’s focus on one problem at a time, shall we?
I’ll get there soon. Thanks for letting me talk it out.
You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (cirdecsongs) My book, I Can’t Be the Only One Hearing This: A Lifetime of Music Through Eclectic Ears, is available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other fine book dealers.