Reflections on 2016 & Beyond

I suppose many bloggers will be doing posts on a similar theme. My post may just get lost in among the multitude, as my music, similarly, gets lost amongst the glut of music that is out there. But, as I continue to make music, I will also write and share this post.

This year has been marked with an inordinate amount of loss. In addition to the passing of so many celebrities, there have also been very personal losses. An old friend tragically dying in a car crash. One of my best friends taking her own life. A dear friend and one of my favourite musicians moving a world away. These things have defined this year with a lot of pain. 

My continued dissatisfaction with how my music career is received has also been a distressing and irksome characteristic of 2016. 

It hasn’t been all bad. There’s been a lot of bad, but there has been some good happenings this year. Friendships have grown. Love has grown and strengthened. I was prescribed new meds. I met Chris Chambers and, together, we are a formidable musical force. 

As I look towards 2017, I have no rose-coloured delusions. I don’t make resolutions. Ha, that rhymes. But, no. I’m not making it into a line of a song. This year, I tried out vlogging. I don’t know if that will continue; it’s a lot of work – editing the videos – to only have a very few people watch. I’d rather just write. It’s much easier and I don’t have to edit out all my stuttering. Basically, I’ve decided not to bother trying to get people’s attention anymore.  If you want me and what I have to say, YOU can do the effort. I’m tired. 

I’m not going to share my music or ask people to listen to it on Facebook and Twitter anymore. It’s on YouTube.  It’s on Bandcamp. And, I perform live. Come and get it, or don’t.  I’m tired. I’m done.

I will continue on with The Way Out. I will continue writing and recording. I will NOT grumble on social media about people not giving a fuck. I’m tired. I’m done. I’m no longer wasting my breath.

It is what it is and will be what it will be. 2017 will come and contain new sorrows and continued madness and a whole lot of shit. It will surely also have a few bright spots. There will be great performances, brilliant gigs, music shared with people who appreciate it. There will be coffee, meeting with friends, shared special moments. There will be laughter. There will be love. Always love. I’m tired. I’m done. I’m no longer wasting my breath on the ignorant, prejudiced, ageist and tasteless; I will use what precious little energy I have to try to make the most of those bright spots. Fuck everything and everyone else.

A New Project

First, I want to thank those of you who follow me here on WordPress. I know that many of you here suffer with health issues like I do, and the main reason you follow me is because we have that in common.  I also hope that I have gained fans and followers of my music, so much of which comes straight out of my struggles with my illnesses. First and foremost, I am a musician.  That’s where my heart is and, really, if you don’t want to hear/read me ramble on about my music and why you should listen to it (and support independent artists in general), you pretty much shouldn’t be here (just sayin’ it like it is). So, saying that, I want to go on to say that I really do appreciate my readers, watchers and listeners, and sincerely hope you will stick with me.

**(For those of you who would rather watch and listen to a vlog version of this post, here you go…otherwise, keep reading.)** 

Inspiration has struck for doing a series of posts about obscure/independent/unsigned musicians (other than myself), in an effort to make more people aware of the talent that is out there amongst us lesser knowns.  So, I am beginning ‘Project: Now Hear This (Music & Musicians You Should Know)‘ in order to spotlight the treasures that dwell amongst you.  Because, they are worth knowing about.

Now, in doing this, I know that musical tastes vary immensely.  But, I will try to provide something for everyone…well, for most people, anyway (if you like grunge metal, move on now). Thus, I will have categories for genres, so that if you really aren’t interested in a certain genre, you can skip that one if you must.  However, I encourage you to check out all the artists that I will be sharing over the coming posts; you may surprise yourself by finding you like something in a genre you never could imagine liking.  Hey, it happens all the time.  Music is like that, and so many of my fellow artists cross genre barriers all the time (I do it on purpose).  So, don’t count something or someone out just because you’ve never liked a particular genre before. Try to keep an open mind, and heart!

Now, this is simply an introductory post to whet your appetite for what I plan on sharing as an ongoing series – an advertisement for future posts, as it were (I’ve also written it for myself, in order to solidify the inspiration and importance of doing this) . So, as I say, stay tuned. Watch this space. And, get ready to Now Hear This!

Life, Death & Coffee 

​Some people require a visual. Some are more auditory. Others still prefer the written word. This vlog/blog post has it all.

I actually have a friend who prefers my vlog posts, where I TALK, more than she does listening to what I – and many others feel – is the considerably better use of my voice. 

Personally, despite having a good vocabulary, I find it difficult to verbalise my thoughts and feelings. I am unable to put these things into SPEECH. So, I put them in songs (one uses a different part of the brain when one sings than when one talks… this is the reason why some people who have suffered severe strokes, rendered speechless, can sing just fine…it is also why a stutterer can sing perfectly and clearly) or in visual art which illustrates how I’m feeling.

I find talking overrated. When I’m forced to speak, I do so…but, it’s rarely willingly. And, inevitably, I never end up saying what I really want and need to get across. It’s very frustrating. I don’t stutter badly, but I have elements of the problem. Speech is just hard work.

Of course, the problem with art, in any form, is that once it’s ‘out there’ it’s open to all sorts of interpretation. You see, hear, read and feel it through YOUR filter.

Sigh. It is the human condition. 

But, I continue to try to communicate, for what it’s worth.

 Life is hard. One could say, life is hard as speaking, and life with ANY chronic illness is a prison. Here’s an animation illustrating the daily struggles and dreams thereof:

This next video is a music video… I’m not explaining it. Just watch and listen. 


And, ending on a fun note. One of my grandfather’s favourite jokes was about a guy who needed to pass his school exams, but he was woefully stupid. His teacher, trying to be kind to him, decided to help him out by marking him a passing grade if he could spell just one word correctly. The teacher thought about it and realised that the student was too dumb to even get one word right, so decided to let him pass if he could just get ONE LETTER of one word right. The teacher thought that, surely, even this idiot could at least get one letter in a word correct. So, the teacher said to his student, ‘Spell the word coffee.’ The student replied, ‘K.A.U.P.H.Y.

And, thus, I give you this:


May your coffee be good and may you always be heard.

Thoughts Spilled From A Brain Left Ajar

I was inspired by this man and his vlog to try vlogging again.  But, sheesh, it takes longer to edit and upload the video than it does just to write a blog post, so while I’ve said this is episode 1 of ‘Thoughts Spilled From A Brain Left Ajar’, who knows when and if there will be an episode two.  This is a raw, intimate look at the real me and what I struggle with daily.  Anywho, with no further ado…

A Foray Into The World of Vlogging

I sing. I write and I sing. I don’t like talking. Talking is too much like, you know, work. It takes a great deal of energy. In writing, I can carefully craft what I want to say and paint pictures with words. In singing, I express myself with the most freedom – no longer reaching for what to say or struggling to get my point across. However…

a friend of mine has told me that, in this day and age (where video has well and truly killed the radio star), I need to TALK in order to connect with the fans (and potential fans) of my music and reach my internet audience better. So, I’ve done it! Eek. My first ‘vlog’. In this, I TALK about my music, in an effort to help people discover and connect to me as an artist. It gives an overview of where my music comes from and what it’s about and who might be interested.

On another note, my friend John watched it and told me I, apparently, have a sexy accent and sexy lips.  So, if you watch it for no other reason than that, you haven’t wasted your time. 😉

Thus, with no further ado…

It’s A Borderline Thing

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So, yesterday’s post got me into some trouble with a friend. I wouldn’t have wanted to deliberately disturb or hurt my friend, of course.  But, hey, it does seem to be a borderline thing. We lose friends like leaves falling off trees.  It’s not easy being green and it isn’t easy being (and staying) a friend to a squishy brainer. People that don’t suffer with these conditions tend to misinterpret the actions of a borderline.  At first, it made me question whether I should be so open in this blog.  But, I appreciate knowing I’m not alone when I read other bloggers on here who also struggle with mental illness.  One blogger that I follow has shared things I haven’t dared share (they would make my friend run a mile – or several miles, in fact, and put up a giant wall and maybe get attack dogs), but I so appreciate that she has written of these things, because I can identify, and it’s a comfort to know I’m not alone in going through the situations she’s written so frankly about.

 

I’m happy to report that I didn’t lose this particular friend.  He’s decided to stick around for now, and hopefully long term.  But, I think I explained myself poorly last night when he came over and confronted me about what he felt to be ’emotional blackmail’.

 

All the borderlines are now nodding their heads.  This sounds familiar, doesn’t it?  We get accused of being emotionally manipulative.  We are extremely emotional, our feelings are overwhelming. And, when we can either no longer keep the mask in place and hold them in, or we simply choose – like on this blog – to express how we feel and what we are going through, it makes “the normals” uncomfortable and many feel they must rationalise it by accusing us of being this way just to control them. But, while I can’t speak for my fellow borderlines, I can say that I never intend to manipulate another person, and I feel that if THEY feel manipulated, then that’s more THEIR hang-up than mine. I’m sharing how I feel, not to get something out of anyone else, but to rant and rage at life as it is.  Sure, it’s great if the regular non-squishy brain types find the blog informative, if it dispels some stigma, if it softens a few negative opinions about those of us who struggle with chronic pain and mental illness, but that’s not the main reason I blog. This is my place where the mask can come off. And, yes, sometimes, the gloves come off, as well.  This my place to be brutal.  But, it’s not a brutality aimed to hurt anyone – it isn’t malicious, even when I am furiously angry at life – well, it might be malicious toward life itself, yes.  But, it isn’t a maliciousness aimed against any person in order to try and get my way.  It’s just me having a place to talk, to really talk, to bring it out in the open instead of suffering with it in silence.

 

So, some points:

1. When I post here, the farthest thing from my mind is how what I’m saying may pressure you into doing something for me. Again, if you feel that way, it might be an issue of your perception.  What it is NOT is my manipulation!

2. When I post here, as uncomfortable (or, in some cases, impossible) as it may be for some to understand, this is where I am right now. It isn’t something I chose. I am going to repeat that: it isn’t something I chose. The question is, should I choose to openly share about it.  And, as I say, that’s what I’ve been asking myself today: should I continue to post my experiences and feelings and how chronic illness, and life itself, affects me?  Or, should I stop?  Should I bury it.  Never expound on it. Only refer to it in songs that people can either ignore or choose to interpret in another way? This sounds harsh, but is your comfort more important than mine? I’m honestly – and, without malice – asking the question.

3. No, I don’t want to feel the way I do all the time, but I don’t think that my mental illness necessarily makes me wrong all the time. I do see a lot of things very differently, yes.  But, I’m not convinced that just because my brain is squishy means everything I think is messed up.  I am a creative person, and expressing myself here is an outlet, an unleashing and releasing.  It helps me, and sometimes it helps others, too.

 

So, maybe it’s a situation of, take the good with (what you consider) bad.  And, realise, this blog isn’t some sort of agenda to get my way.  It isn’t an act to get attention.  Sometimes, yes, it IS a cry for help (I’ll give you that one), and – though it might really scare you – I’m not alone in how I think and feel; there are many of us here.  We are sorry if we make you uncomfortable or feel threatened, but try not to judge or blame us – if you want to blame anything, then, like us, blame life, and rage against it a while with us, because it really is a bastard.

 

In other news, (pardon this bit of shameless plugging) I updated my bandcamp page, doing some sound edits, improving some bits here and there, and it’s all there waiting for you to discover. Now, shall I emotionally blackmail you to check out my music? Ha ha, ’tis a joke.  I want people to like my music and download it because they like it, not because they feel like they’ve been railroaded into buying something they don’t really want.  If you like the music, YAY. I work hard on it, and it is the very deepest expression of my soul.  And, yes, like all independent musicians, I can use all the support I can get.  So, if you haven’t checked out my music yet, give it a go.  If you’ve checked it out before, why not take another listen to see if there’s anything new you might have missed.  Oh, yeah, and of course, I could really use the validation. :p  There I go again. 😀

 

Here’s just one of the songs you’ll find there… listen: