Wow, it's hard to believe that it's New Years Eve tomorrow (and that rhymes) Been feeling a lot of anticipation for my new record the last week. Not that I've ever been pregnant, but I am beginning to think that this is how it might feel. I want these ideas that I have in my head to become real, LIKE NOW!!!, but I know that if I rush the process the "baby" (album) will look all fucked up and mucus-y. I've been stressing myself out about it, and now have a giant knot in my right shoulder that has become inflamed and hurts like a beast.
Can't decide if time moves slower or faster here. Things that happened just last week feel like they took place a month ago, yet each day can sometimes feel like a week. It's hard to remember that I'm making progress. Maybe a year-end reflection is in order...?
When I look back to January of 2013, I was just starting to get back in the groove of playing out again, after taking a few months off while starting my new full-time job as a case manager at Community Action Youth Programs. I had a very productive Fun-a-day, complete with tunes written on my new 100-year-old accordion, Diana. It was either January or February that The Woman Songwriter Collective had it's first meeting. I made a big pot of Squash soup, and Christa brought over some wine and bread. Out of everything that happened creatively for me last year, having that group of women around me was by far the most profound. We began playing shows together in Feb or March, and by August, we had already been booked at Club Passim's and The Iron Horse.
In May, after almost not making the trip, I went to Kerrville and it changed my life. I began the process of untangling my life from Western, MA and preparing for my tour down to Austin. I also started my first prolific period in a long time, and wrote about 10 new songs in 6 months, many of which will be on my new album.
I guess looking back can be helpful to provide some perspective. After all, it took me a good 25 years to prepare for my first album "Places Not on Maps." Guess I'm gonna keep breathing through 2014, and with steady patience and persistence, look forward to this new baby going through it's full term :)
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!!!
After a good two weeks of holing up in my new room and letting my inner artist child run-a-muck, I had a week of indulging in much needed "vitamin P" (P = people.) CHECK OUT THE RUN DOWN BELOW:
The fun began Tuesday night, when Amy and I went to a secret island party! The hosts had build a raft out of planks of wood and two canoes. We sang sea shanties and "Up a Lazy River" as we were motored over to the tiny island on Lady Bird Lake. We were met by strings of Christmas lights, meaty chili, and guitars strumming out Beatles Covers. My kind of evening.
Thursday night, I ended up at The White Horse for some two-stepping. Again, I found myself wearing the wrong shoes, but threw caution to the wind and danced barefoot - dodging heavy cowboy boots and (even more treacherous) fine-pointed high healed shoes. It was worth it though, as I found my dancing abilities drastically improved without the added burden of trying to keeping my flip flops on whilst also trying to follow the fancy turns and dance moves.
Friday, I went out with some friends from High School to see French Horn Rebellion, but the highlight of the evening was dancing at Barbarellas where they have.... 80's dance night complete with 360 TV's projecting music videos!!!! It was "Just Like Heaven" rocking out to The Cure, Talking Heads, The Police, Bowie... Feeling that I may become a regular.
Finally, on Saturday night I went to see my friend Tyler's band The Gents play at The Scoot In. They did soo great, and after feeling rather home sick last week, was awesome to remember what a great community I have right here in Austin. I also went to see a really interesting social design school exhibit before hand. I keep having moments of fretting about the future/if I ever want to go back to school, and was neat to see a new opportunity and model that I had never heard of before.
........It is interesting, as I find myself to be a person who is both energized and drained by spending too much time either alone or with people, the need to strike a balance with time spent out and time spent alone. This week helped me to realize how important it is to let loose and have fun in order to refuel and be a more effective artist and person. I also forgot how fun and important it is when you are in a new place to meet new people and put yourself out there! There are so many unique and interesting opportunities and people to discover in Austin and this weekend helped me to remember how happy and grateful I am to be here!
Well, it's week 8 and I have officially been in Austin for 2 months! Pretty hard to believe, like how it is mid December and 70 degrees outside!!!
Despite today, however, the weather has been rather cold and devoid of sunlight. This has, however, provided the perfect conditions for me to hole-up in my new room and create copious amounts of art an a variety of mediums. All told, this week I have written 2 new songs, painted over 10 pictures, and begun filming for my kickstarter video to raise funds for my new album, which I plan to start recording after the new year! Very exciting stuff.
I have also been sustaining my new practice routine thanks to my new Ukelele teacher Kevin (as well as some help from my new-found discipline) After years and years of trying to learn music theory, but having it always feel like math, I think I have finally found someone who can explain it to me in a way that I can understand. Who knew there was so much to the C scale? In exchange for lessons, I will be helping Kevin develop his awesome non=profit organization that brings ukelele's into schools in low-income districts. Am beginning to think that non-profit consulting and meeting facilitation may be a new career path, and am excited for the opportunity to test it out!
In addition to uke playing, have also been experimenting more with my electric guitar and new amps. Am working on discovering different settings, and have been taking pictures to remember. I also had my first show at Flipnitics, a sweet little listening room down the street for me. Had an encore, where I played a cover of "This must be the place" by the Talking Heads, where to my delight and surprise, everyone knew the words and began singing along with me! Totally Rad.
Took a week off for Thanksgiving and now the blog is back with some exciting news...
I have a new home!!!!
After 5 months of wandering, I have finally landed in a room in a house with some sweet older hippie dancing folk in South Austin. I cannot quite express to you all out there in internet land quite what this means for me, (honestly, it is still an unfolding process) but I will do my best to try:
My journey over the last half year of leaving Massachusetts to follow my creative impulse has been a really beautiful, and at times very difficult process. I have been finding that to welcome all of these new experiences, people, places and things into my life, I also have needed to say goodbye to some of my old ways and ideas about myself, friends and also my environment. For example: Making the decision to start paying rent in Austin means that I am committing to Texas, and thus saying goodbye to the Northeast. Starting Bathtub Moon means that I need to say goodbye to my beloved Woman Songwriter Collective. And on and on... Since arriving in Austin in late October and having been essentially in limbo land at my friend Alex's, it had been difficult for these feelings of loss and future to fully surface and express themselves. After moving into my new room, however the reality of my shift is feeling very real and potentially even permanent. (After all, can we ever REALLY go back to where we were before a big experience? And further more, would we even want to? Things will never be the same.)
After setting up my room, with all the finishing touches on Friday, I lay in my bed and took a big sigh and felt the expanse of space surround me. It was like I had been holding my breath for a very, very long time and the parts of me that were carrying the stale air were becoming fully oxygenated. This small room holds all of my things perfectly - the things that I packed in my car five months ago. The things that after a tedious elimination process I decided I truly needed. This room is warm and holds me like a cocoon. It has walls and a door that I can close so that nobody can see me. Lying in my bed on the floor, I felt my heart and body open and I cried. I actually cried a lot. This is usually hard for me to do, and I am very pleased that it is becoming less difficult. I was also able to write some music, which is always a plus.
This is interesting. I had a long conversation with some friends from back home yesterday, and we talked a lot about where I had come from and where I am now: in this new culture, in the people's republic of Texas, where the people are friendly right away and everyone is late like me. Do the strategies that helped me survive life in New England still work here? Or are they holding me back?
I am deciding to resume my meditation practice and following my friend's suggestion to sit with whatever emotions arise and just feeling them. Feel. That's something, I think, that Texans are good at. It is coming to my attention that there may be parts of myself, like the things I decided to take out of my car and put into storage before I left, that I may not need anymore. I am opening to greet them, and maybe, just maybe, becoming able to let them go.