The Art of Not Blogging

I have a thought, and I think, ‘Ooh, I’ll write about that; I need to SAY SOMETHING about THAT.’ Used to be, I would immediately get to some device and hold forth about whatever it was I was thinking and feeeeeeeeling. Now, I just wait until the urge passes, with the thought that comes, ‘No one gives a shit about what YOU think; no one is waiting anxiously to read about how YOU feeeeeeeeel.’

So, ironically, here I am, blogging about not blogging, writing about what I’m not writing about. 

All these blogs. All of us longing to be HEARD. Shouting deafeningly into cyberspace with all the effect of a whimper. 

My frustration and weariness grows with each waking moment…oh, but I am dangerously close to writing about how I feeeeeeeeel. ‘Fuck off, Autumn; no one wants to hear it!’ The thing is, it’s not so much that no one wants to hear it, it’s that no one is listening: there is too much noise. We are desensitised. And so, the good, the poignant, the profound gets lost with the bad. No one is listening. Thus, shout = whimper.  

The word ‘futility’ springs to mind. But, forgive me; there I go again, frighteningly close to sharing a thought. And, perhaps, I only state the blatantly obvious. There’s the damn forest, the damn trees are falling all over the fucking place, no one’s there to hear them… you get the idea… or, maybe you don’t. 

My friend Stevie Jones has a brilliant song about what we do here on the Internet. It’s better than any commentary I could or could not make… 

https://steviejonesandthewildfires.bandcamp.com/track/instant-world

I still have hope that music can carry a message to this world (damn it all, I just shared a fucking thought again; the art of not blogging is a difficult one, apparently). Artists have never been here to entertain you; we are here to make you feeeeeeeeel. So, who knows, maybe this little whimper will get through. But, I’m for sure NOT writing about it.

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.

Searching For You

C.S. Lewis said, ‘We read to know we are not alone.’

This is also why we listen to music. And, ‘if sad songs say so much’, as Elton John has rightly said, then my songs speak volumes.

This post is about me finding the right fan base for my music.  See, I know I’m not alone out there in what I suffer with major depression, anxiety, borderline personality disorder, chronic pain, suicidal thoughts and everything that goes along with these conditions. In writing this blog, and reading others, I have certain proof that I am not alone. And, yet, we are all uniquely alone in what we individually suffer. My music helps me to express and, in a very magical way, make beauty come from the horrific thing called life/existence. This is my gift. However, in another way, it complicates matters, because, with it, comes the intense frustration, anger, and sadness of not seeming to be able to get my music out there to the people it will most speak to and resonate with.

The thing is, I need a fan base—and I KNOW you’re out there, I’ve even spoken to a good number of you. Now, there are just a whole lot of people who aren’t ever going to like and support my music (even those who rave about my voice and talent), simply because they can’t relate to it.  I need to find those of you who will relate and find some comfort, expression and solidarity in what I do. I know I’m not alone, but I seem to keep pitching my music to the same people who don’t understand what I am going through in my daily life in general. In this way, I need a very specific audience. I know that audience does exist.  And, I truly believe it is an audience that NEEDS a musical voice.

I don’t want this post to just be some advertisement. And, I don’t want it to be me begging for people to check out my music like some sad failed loser of an indie artist. This is simply me putting out a search to see who’s out there in this Blogdom that my music might touch. ‘Hello? Is it me you’re looking for?’

Yes, I know that even for those of us with similar health problems, our musical tastes are not all going to be the same, of course…  but, if you are a music lover, just check my stuff out – if it vibes with you, then great. I do incorporate a wide range of styles in what I write and perform, so there’s a good chance that something I do will hit the spot.

I’ve just released a new studio album for digital download.  No, I am not giving it away for free (giving away my stuff in the past hasn’t helped me gain fans anyway). Musicians have bills to pay, like all craftsmen/craftswomen. I REALLY shouldn’t have to explain this, but in this day and age where musical talent can be faked with software and those of us with real gifts are left in an industry bankrupt and bereft, without a leg to stand on, many of us feel forced to give our lifeblood away in any desperate bid to get noticed. The thing is, most of us literally cannot afford to do it. I cannot afford to do it. Furthermore, it’s worth far more than the modest price I’ve put on it anyway.  I owe it to the other fine musicians and the exceptional producer I worked with to bring this piece of art and labour of love to completion to not just ‘give it away’, as if all our hard work meant nothing. Good music, real music… it costs something.  It costs those of us who make it – it should cost those of you who hear it. It’s part of the deal – it costs us all, but we ALL get so much in return…look at it as an investment. And, finding something you personally can relate to…well, that value cannot be understated or underrated.

So, this album isn’t a freebie, but you can listen to the tracks on bandcamp without paying; however, if you want to own the album and listen whenever and wherever you are, get the special bonus track and extra artwork, as well as support me as an artist (I’ll be eternally grateful), well, then, surely that makes the tiny monetary price a worthy investment.

Thank you for reading and listening. I hope I will hear from you soon.  Most of all, I hope (there’s that four letter word again) my music will reach who will most benefit from hearing it. I’ll finish here and let the songs speak for themselves.

The World As I Know It

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Most of the time I feel like a frightened, helpless little girl or, more often lately, a frightened, washed up, helpless old woman.  I realise what I have never felt like – what I’ve never been – is a confident, capable adult.

This is not just me being too hard on myself again. I’ve really never been a functioning adult. As a child, I craved adulthood, thinking that that was where the respect lay. Adults made things happen. But, in reality, of course, the respect we think we see adults receive when we are children is just an elaborate deception; it doesn’t exist. And adults only make things happen if and when they can. It’s not just a given that comes with age. But, adults do function and are capable of independence.

I find I missed adulthood altogether. It may be a BPD thing. Whatever it is, it’s painful. I struggle with it everyday. As I try to be a parent. As I try to be successful in music. As I try to traverse the wild and winding road of human interaction and relationships. I struggle.  And, again and again, I fail miserably.

Take care of me. Shut this world out. I need a blanket. I need a hand to hold and walk me across the street. Everything is too much. I’m overwhelmed. Make that phone call for me, PLEASE. I can’t do it myself. Love me, coddle me, make over what I do. Fucking HELP ME! I’m weak and frail and broken and too young and too old and too me. And, it hurts and I just want to hide and sleep and someone to wake me up when it’s all easy, or else don’t wake me up at all.

To Quote Sir Elton John…

“Sad songs say so much.”

Autumn Live at Queen's Park

Yesterday, an exceptionally talented fellow artist, Robin Chapman (seriously, if you get the opportunity to hear this guy, do it) asked me if I was going to sing depressing songs on this beautiful day.  It was a beautiful day, and, yes, I was going to sing depressing songs.  Although, that’s not quite an accurate description. They are written and performed by someone with severe clinical depression, and they reflect a lot of my experience. But, you’re not going to catch depression from them, any more than you’re going to catch my irregular heartbeat.

I have an advantage in that people like sad songs.  Music is a safe place to express and explore what we call negative emotions and life’s pain (and, life is FULL of pain). All the better if you’re good at it (the music, that is).

Yes, I sang sad songs, but I was glad to be doing what I love (even if I did have to wrestle with a keyboard that didn’t want to cooperate with me  – bloody electronic things *&^£”!!! – and everything didn’t go strictly to plan); I was out in the open air, making music for an appreciate audience, and that felt good.

Two moments in the day stand out for me as precious. One was, when the last performer of the day, the delicious Mo Shotter, called me back up on stage to sing some improvisational blues with her.  So, we sang ‘The Queen’s Park Blues’ together. This was a magically spontaneous and pure fun.

The other was when I was singing this song:

There’s a point in this where you see me smile, and it’s where I look into the audience and see my 6 year old son singing my song along with me. It was one of those serendipitous moments, a fixed moment where time stops.

Things had come full circle.

I was on the stage and my child was in the audience proud of his mummy and, very happily, singing one of my sad songs along with me. And, I saw myself at that age, in the audience, proudly looking up at my mother…singing along with the sad songs…’I saw the harbour lights. They only told me you were leaving’…

Pardon me while I wipe the tears. Pardon me while I smile during a very unsmiling song. And, pardon me while I cherish the songs – and the moments – that say more than the sum of their words ever could. Because they interpret what cannot be said, but only be felt.

This Is EXACTLY How I Feel

“A great fire burns within me, but no one stops to warm themselves at it, and passers-by only see a wisp of smoke.” – Vincent van Gogh

Van_Gogh_Self-Portrait_with_Straw_Hat_1887-Detroit

This is exactly how I feel about my music. And, in general, I relate to this incredible artist very much. The anxiety. The bouts with mental illness. Sometimes I wonder if it’s all a part of the brilliantly artistically gifted: you can have the creativity and be able to produce works of marvellous beauty, but the pain, the torment, the feeling that you really don’t belong here, all go along with it. It is very, very sad. But, it is our existence. And, I suppose if you gave me the choice between being “happy” (whatever that is) and my ability to sing and make music, I would choose the latter. But, what I am writing specifically about in this post is this issue of obscurity rather than our shared mental health problems.

According to Wikipedia, during Vincent van Gogh’s life, his work was known only to a handful of people and appreciated by fewer still. Hmm, that certainly sounds all too familliar.

Of course, not all artists are doomed to live in this obscurity, only being appreciated and finding acclaim for their contributions posthumously. Not all of us are alike. There isn’t a great artistic brotherhood (just like there isn’t some great sisterhood of women, either…but, I digress – yes, again! – that’s a post for another time); we aren’t all cut out with cookie cutters. Some of us aren’t tortured as badly as others and some of us do get discovered (and appreciated) whether tortured greatly or not prior to leaving this ill-fitting world. I do wonder what it’s like to be in that category, but that has not been my lot.

Vincent van Gogh was 37 when he died. I am 38, nearly 39. I feel old. I feel passed it. And, my entire life – artistically speaking – has been this quote. When I saw it today, shared on another artist’s Facebook wall, it knocked the wind out of me. I felt like I had been struck. I physically hurt when I read it. Because, I know this experience, and it has been my experience for nearing four decades now.

And, so, this is simply my lament for myself (yes, another pity party for a pitiful nobody of a singer/songwriter), and it is my celebration of van Gogh – who was brilliant and sad and who painted the sky not on canvas only, but on the very fabric of our hearts. His work hangs, no longer belittled or thought of no worth, now admired, acclaimed, sung of, cherished and highly valued. I wonder what it would have been like if his paintings had been considered with such value when he was alive. One thing I can say – back to the mental health thing – it would not have changed his mental state, it would not have chased the demons away, but what it would have done is to provide validation to the living man and put bread on his table; it would have fed both spirit and body. 

How am I so certain of this? Because, that is what it would do for me.

Now, a last note must be made here. To the precious few who do support my music, I want to make sure you know how grateful I am for you. I would never want you to think that I’m ignoring you; I want you to know that you mean a great deal to me – you are a tiny, but beautiful, spark of validation in a black sky that would otherwise be solid darkness; I appreciate you very much. But I needed to write this post because of how this quote affected me. I needed to write it for me, and for him.

One Of Those Days

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Today I have had the pervading thought that, no matter how hard I combat a “victim-mentality” (overused term, in my opinion), there are some days when one is hard pressed not to feel like a victim. Now, I am working on not letting my feelings dictate my words and actions. But, for such a feeler as I am, to say it is a challenge is such a gross understatement that it’s almost laughable to use the word “challenge” in place of the word “impossible”.

Almost laughable.

Not impossible. Not probable, I’ll give myself that. But, not impossible.

But feeling the victim and being the victim are two different things, right? I can’t help but sometimes ask, “But, in this situation, aren’t I, in actuality (not just in perception), the victim?” It certainly appears (don’t want to use the word “feels” here) that way.

It’s one of those days.

When I have one of those days, I usually go here. It is my default place (a place of despair and honest longing for death). Occasionally, however, I go to this place instead (a place of whispered promises, lullabies and, most importantly, hope).

…this place (please, listen):

Today, which has been so very much one of those days, I have tried my hardest to turn from the road which leads to the former place to somehow walk the road to the latter one, on purpose. And that, in itself, is hope breathing. So that, when “I close my eyes against the pain”, I am closing them to “dream of better days” I am still trying my best to believe are out there for me.

And, because I know I’m not alone in this struggle (I know I’m not the only one fighting to keep hope alive), I pray that this post reaches out across the interwebz and helps others who are having one of those days, too.