December 15, 01:09
WHY did I think a Coke Zero an hour before midnight was a good idea? God only knows. But here I am. Then again, Grand Prix is a movie I’ve never seen, and it’s three hours long. May as well try to finish it.
The weather was clear and cold. It’s starting to feel like winter. It’s starting to feel like Chicago. But two more hoodies have arrived, so I have one for just about every day of the week. Sweaters, thermals, skull caps, heavier coats … I’m about as ready as I’ll ever be.
Got outside long enough for a walk to the pharmacy. The little strolls are starting to feel more and more routine. There’s a gym around the corner. COVID concerns have kept me from it. But the thought lingers. I’d like to sweat for at least an hour a day. There’s no reason not to incorporate that into my routine. Weight day/bike day/weight day/bike day/weight day/yoga. I like the sound of it, at least.
In the mail today, this bit of wonderment, which has eluded me for a year.
It’s far too late for a “breaking news” type review, but a “Personal Icon” essay is not out of the question.
The Facebook group has drawn 130 members in a little over 48 hours. I’ve saved videos to learn about social media algorithms. I’ve downloaded Twitch. Review requests are coming in slowly but surely. I have a book commission and an additional paying gig. The ball is rolling. There’s nothing to stop me but … me.
December 16, 14:26
The Sonic Sanctuary
Outside, cold and gray. The season’s first snow has fallen, albeit only a dusting.
I could venture outside, but I have no real reason to do so. So I stay indoors and try to work. This will be a common theme for the next few months.
The daily read could not commence until I got things on my reading table (located next to the Captain’s Chair) the way I wanted them. I believe I have finally reached my Point of Happy.
I’ve also noticed my music book collection is becoming a bit … academic.
I’m not sure what I’m working toward, but I should be a lot smarter when I get there.
With that accomplished, I could dive back into a classic.
My musical day began as it ended last night, with Stephan Thelen’s World Dialogue, an absolutely remarkable collection of string quartet compositions written by Thelen and performed by the Kronos Quartet (legends in and of themselves) and The Al Pari Quartet (a masterful group of Polish women).
I wasn’t sure what was going to happen when I dropped the needle. I didn’t know if I would even recognize the work as Thelen’s. That particular issue was resolved by the end of the first measure of the first piece. I just laughed to myself and said, “Yep. That’s Stephan.” My only complain was that the two-record set had no side four! I was crushed! But Stephan told me he’s working on more. I can’t wait to hear what comes forth.
Spent a small chunk of last night trying to learn about social media algorithms. It was painful for someone whose focus can be questionable at best most of the time. I was reminded of taking a course required for the degree being pursued, regardless of how reluctant I was to be there. Still, I was able to glean a couple of things out of the videos. And I’ll probably dive back in tonight.
A couple of happy writing “accidents” have descended upon me. As I have learned never to ignore the Muse when she lights upon my head, I took quick advantage of these opportunities. New pieces for the stockpile. Always a good thing.
There is much to do, starting with Holiday cards.
December 17, 12:42
The Reverberation Station
Winter is giving us a sneak preview of what most likely is to come. Today I may have to venture out in it, both for experience and the need to go to the pharmacy.
I almost forgot about the delivery due today, so the pharmacy will have to wait. But I did step outside, where I found it to be not bad at all. Temperatures in the 30’s with little to no wind. It could be a helluva lot worse.
The delivery was the first of a couple of shelves destined to house my videos. When I complained about lack of space for shelving, my pal Brad suggested putting the shelves in the closets, thereby keeping them out of the way. I believe he was on to something.
The bad news is that closet was full of boxes, only a couple of which housed the videos destined for the shelf. Consolidation is about to take on a whole new meaning.
December 26, 15:22
It’s laundry day. I’ve been putting it off all week.
Sitting here contemplating the immediate future, and stunned about how ambitious it is.
As I said on Twitter:
A #book writing gig. A #magazine writing gig. Magazine article pitches. Writing for three web sites. #Podcasts for one site. #Video content for two. #Reviews, #interviews, #essays. It’s official: #music just became my #job. #2021
The CirdecSongs side of Big Busy Board was wiped clean today.
It was altered a couple of times, and there’s no “Gigs” heading for the time being. Thinking on it, that may require yet another board!
The board began to fill up again quite quickly. This is both wonderful and terrifying. And it doesn’t even cover the Bernie Worrell work, which comes first. A busy year, indeed.
Something in me was quick to ask the dreaded question: Now that music is your job, what will you do for fun?
I live in Chicago now. I think I can figure something out.
I can ride my bike. Work out (please). Learn my camera. Watch movies. Play my guitars. Enjoy sports. Read. Hang with my new friends (eventually). Jam with them. Go to the game (eventually). Or just explore the hell out of this town.
I’ll be fine.
I kinda glossed over Christmas. Probably because it was pretty much just another day. The magic left when my daughter became a tween a few years back. They grow up. What can you do?
To her credit, my sister did a wonderful job with the gift giving. I asked for a Darth Vader cookie jar, and she came through.
Then she took the ball and ran with it, unbeknownst to me. This included a welcome mat …
… and ice trays.
Funny lady, my sister.
The Captain’s Chair
I knew this chair was important. But in the last hour, it has revealed it’s true value. And somehow, the chair has connected itself to Robert Fripp, who once again has taught me something.
It didn’t take long for the Big Board to start filling up. There’s so much drive and ambition up there. It’s so exciting! It’s also completely terrifying!
There are so many projects up there (to say nothing of the book, which is on a separate board), my ADD-addled brain began to wonder just how I would be able to maintain the focus required to channel so much information. How do I even start?
That’s when I heard that clipped Dorsett accent of Robert’s permeate my brain. “First,” he said, “we do nothing.”
And then it all fell into place.
Robert often speaks of starting his day with sitting and doing absolutely nothing for several minutes. Meditation. Getting in touch with the center. Feeling what needs to be felt, thus enabling us to move forward. He doesn’t say that, but that’s what I get from it.
The Muse is helpful on multiple levels. But excess mental clutter makes it difficult for her to get through. The thing for me to do is get out of bed, have a glass or two of water, and make my way to the chair. Once there, close my eyes and do nothing for at least 10 minutes (and longer over time). Clear out the clutter and get out of the Muse’s way. With luck, the answers for the day will reveal themselves.
If not, I guess I’m editing that day.
Meditation could help on multiple levels. It could serve as the foundation for a daily routine that allows for exercise, healthy eating, reading, and whatever else needs to be done. Structure. Meditation can be the foundation for structure. Otherwise, it’s all chaos. Nothing good comes from there.
December 27, 18:31
Jazz on the turntable, dinner preparation in the kitchen. It’s been a pretty low key day.
Jazz Sunday revolves around two legendary saxophonists in Branford Marsalis and Wayne Shorter.
I don’t know what it will take to get interviews, but I think I’m ready to try. It would certainly help raise the proverbial profile.
Speaking of which, the CirdecSongs board filled up rather quickly.
Calling it ambitious would be to embrace understatement. We’re back to that “exciting, but terrifying” thing again. But I’m not worried about it. Take on the challenges one at a time, and we’ll see where that leads.
Had a nice conversation with an old high school friend, our second in 15 years or so. Fifteen year intervals, we’ve decided, are a little excessive. We’re gonna aim for at least bi-weekly for awhile.
The Reverberation Station
Jazz Sunday is in overtime today. Cool. I needed it, and there’s no reason not to enjoy it. Right now it’s Max Roach.
I didn’t even know I was in the mood for drums. But it entered my head, and we were off and running.
As we enter the last few days of the year, I find myself contemplating the length of my workday, now that I have a good idea where I’m headed. The quick answer is “six hours.” And once again, I find myself thinking of Fripp.
Time, he believes is relative. His practices, if I recall correctly, aimed for four hours. But sometimes you can do four hours of work in two. Other times, it may take eight. Which is how I’m feeling about my workday. I should be able to get a lot done in six hours, with focus. Some days, I won’t need to work that long. Others, I’ll need to work longer.
The practical answer appears to be, “I’ll work until I’m finished.” That seems to make the most sense in the here and now.
Time to read.
December 28, 16:50
Starting last Thursday, I challenged myself to not eat out for a week. While I’m no culinary genius, the bottom line is DoorDash is bloody expensive. I have my groceries delivered. Might as well make the most of that and the new appliances I bought but haven’t used enough. Today is was air-fried chicken breasts with a nice, spicy coating. I was very pleased with the results.
Still in the planning stages for next year, but there’s no reason I can’t get going on a few things now. I’m sure I’ll listen to something new this evening. But most of the afternoon had been about Meshell Ndegeocello. Not a bad way to go.
She’s a brilliant musician, and someone I think I need to add to my interview wish list.
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. I’m currently working on my next book, The Wizard of WOO: The Life and Music of Bernie Worrell
Would you like to have your album reviewed? Contact me at email@example.com
You seem well from your posts. I have a question? What group were you referring to when you said that 130 people joined in 48 hours?
I would like to join but I missed any info on this. Would appreciate info so I can join.
If you ever make it to New York, look me up.
Thanks, Bruce Shafsky
Sent from my iPhone
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I formed a CirdecSongs group on Facebook. I have the most … “attention” there. I’m looking to centralize my presence on that page. If you’re on Facebook, come on by. We’re up to 550 members now!