A Question of Priorities

I know what you’re asking.

“Hey!” you say to me, perhaps a little annoyed. “Where all the new content you promised us? What happened to the blog posts, the interviews, the podcast, the record reviews, and all that other stuff? You revamped the web page (and don’t think we haven’t noticed that you haven’t finished that, either) and then you just … stopped. Sure, we got one diary post, but that’s it. Where’s the rest?”

First of all, let me say that you’re not wrong. Building a brand takes more than a little content, along with a little consistency. If I don’t post, I risk the chance to become “out of sight, out of mind.” Believe me, I get it.

So where have I been?

The short answer is simple: I’ve been prioritizing.

There’s an old saying that someone busy has things going “nine ways to Sunday.” Well, I have an even dozen! And none of them will be done to the best of my ability if I keep juggling them at high speed. I always refer to the guy spinning plates on a stick, doing his best to keep them all centered without anything falling. Yeah … that’s me.

I can’t do a dozen things correctly and properly. So after a long chat with myself, I narrowed the list down to three or four (with lititle bonuses). I had to prioritize, and now I have a workload that feels much more manageable.

As you know, I’m working on writing Bernie Worrell’s official biography. Had it not been for last years’ lack of flow, I’d probably be through the first draft by now. Chances are, I’d probably still be sputtering if I hadn’t changed tactics.

For the longest, I’ve been trying to write the book in sequence, from the late 60’s through 2016, when Bernie passed away. But that wasn’t working. I didn’t have all the information I needed to make the early chapters complete and coherent. It frustrated me. Writing slowed to a crawl. Then, I got an idea. I needed to do with this book what I did with my first.

I wrote my first book — all 30 chapters — completely out of sequence. It didn’t matter what I wrote about, as long as I wrote something. With a little judicious editing (and the elimination of four chapters), I was able to pull the book together. So why not do the same thing with The Wizard of WOO?

I realized I had more than enough material (thanks mainly to David Byrne and Jerry Harrison from Talking Heads) to make a serious dent on the chapter about Bernie’s work during the 80’s. I started writing on my phone (hey, the NFL playoffs were on) and the words just poured out of me. The chapter practically wrote itself!

This, I determined, was a good idea.

So, that’s what I’ve been doing: writing the book as The Muse sees fit to offer it to me. I’ve been burning up my keyboard. I leave notes where there are holes to fill with new interviews and facts I find during additional research, and I’ll come back and plug those facts and quotes in, like a studio recording project. I’ve said it a hundred times: when the Muse offers you material, thank her and get to work on what had been offered.

So, now the book is flowing. And while I’m getting absolutely no pressure from the Worrell Estate, I’ve made a personal vow to finish the first draft by early June. It’s doable as long as my back allows me to sit comfortably at my desk, which is another thing entirely.

So, that’s how I spend about 70 percent of my time. I am maintaining a presence on social media via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I try to post something at least three times a day, which is working fairly well so far. I’m slowly, but steadily, picking up more followers, for which I am grateful.

I’ve been given a couple of outside freelance assignments. This is yet another step toward greater visibility. One article is finished and has been successfully submitted, I hope. If all goes well, it will appear in a magazine late this spring. I’ll let you know when it happens. The second article I plan to shop at a couple of larger American magazines, or a slightly smaller British one. The concept is in place and the interviews are done. So that’s how I’ll be spending a good chunk of this weekend.

What about the rest? Well, let’s see:

The website overhaul slowed because I’ll be getting some outside help to tighten the page up. The record reviews … well instead of publishing them weekly, I’m thinking of doing a large batch of short (rapid-fire) reviews twice a month, around the first and the 15th. But don’t hold me to that.

I have been assembling playlists, which can be found on Spotify (look for CirdecSongs). I’ll also get those lists onto Tidal as soon as I can.

I have six or seven interviews complete and waiting to be edited. This is a skill I haven’t mastered, and I’m seeking a little outside help to bring them together. While there are a couple of big interviews I’m trying to run down, I have declared a moratorium on them until the others have been released. Even then, the plan is to conduct chats the first half of the month, then edit them the second half.

I have a couple of essay ideas, and I’ll try to do them as time allows. (NEVER ignore the Muse.) I need to at least update the WOO section of this website consistently, as rarely more than a paragraph or two is needed. I recently took a photography class, and I’m very excited about pursuing that activity for concerts and otherwise. But it’s gonna have to wait another month or two until the book is closer to done. Same goes for my planned podcasts. I’ll still make it to gigs, but I’ve been waiting for Covid numbers to fall and stay down. Come June, I should be getting out a lot. I do have Sun Ra to attend tomorrow night (the 26th), So, that’s a start.

There are several other ideas in place awaiting my attention. Somewhere in the midst of all this, I have to procure an agent for the book. And I’d like to ride my bike and play a little golf, depending on what my back allows.

Well, that’s the deal sports fans. There is a TON of information already on this page, so I’d suggest you enjoy a few “reruns” while I bring everything together. Hell, you’re reading this because it takes 2 1/2 hours to make beef stew!

I’m busy, man! Talk to you soon.


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 record reviewed? Contact me at cirdecsongs@gmail.com

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