I am having a really great week. I can’t talk publicly about all the reasons why just yet (feel free to reach out if you’re curious), but here are a few:
Last Friday, I ended up writing a song with a fellow FAWMer. I wrote the lyrics, sent it to them for music, they sent it back, I recorded the melody and guitar part, and they added harmony and ukulele. It sounds FANTASTIC, and I am so excited about it. You can listen to it here.
Over the weekend, a friend from the Twin Cities came to visit, and it was so fun! They are a very easy houseguest and it was a relaxing weekend for everyone, I think.
As of this morning, I’ve completed my personal FAWM challenge of writing a song for every card of the major arcana in the tarot. I’m very excited about that.
More to come next week on the rest of the excitement. In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you – what’s making your week brighter?
It’s been another kind of hard week. I’m tired, I’m achy, I got an unexpected medical bill, and I’ve been feeling cranky and out of sorts a lot of the time. However, I am attempting to look for some bright spots – not because I think everything needs a silver lining, but it’s easier to get up in the mornings and get through each day if I have things to look forward to. So here are a handful of happy things:
I was able to play guitar this week! A couple of weeks ago I picked up my guitar and couldn’t play, because my hands hurt so much. Thankfully, despite the fact that they still hurt, I’m finding that I can play some things, as long as I mostly avoid barre chords and don’t capo up so high that I’m having to cram my fingers into smaller spaces. So that was exciting and encouraging.
My department at work is going bowling tomorrow. I have admittedly mixed feelings about this – both because of how much socializing is involved and because my hands have been hurting and I can’t imagine bowling is going to help that. But I do enjoy bowling (even though I’m pretty bad at it), and it means a few extra hours I don’t have to work, so that’s good.
I’m getting super excited for FAWM. This will be my third year participating in this challenge, and it’s always a magical time. This year, I’m planning to get some serious work done on my 78 Songs project, where I’m writing a song for every card in a tarot deck. I’ve been “working” on this project for years and have almost nothing to show for it, so I’m excited for the external motivation to get some of the work done. This FAWM I’ll be tackling the major arcana, which is comprised of 22 cards. Since the goal is just to write 14 songs, I started working on them this week, and have two songs done and another set of lyrics started, so that feels like good progress.
What things are you excited about or looking forward to?
I have a tendency to set intentions and create resolutions at the beginning of the year and then never look at them again. That kind of happened in 2019. However, I looked back at my first post from 2019, when I laid out goals for the year, and even though I hadn’t looked back on them at all as the year progressed…it turns out I actually accomplished most of them? So that’s cool.
Let’s take a look back and a look forward, shall we?
Goals I had at the beginning of 2019, and progress on those goals:
Find a new therapist
I found a new therapist in January, and it was, on the whole, the most productive year of my life, in terms of therapy. I’ve been working through all sorts of things and feel like I’ve greatly increased my capacity for handling shit that comes up.
I’m in a weird, waiting space in a few big areas of my life right now. It’s not bad, necessarily, but it’s uncomfortable and I’m hoping I’m able to start moving again soon.
In the meantime, I’m dreaming, and I’m trying to figure out how to manifest some of these dreams. (I’m also thinking about how “manifesting your dreams” usually comes down to some combination of hard work and privilege.) What do I want my life to look like? What do I want to give more time and space to? Where is my focus shifting away from things that have taken up a lot of time and space historically?
I’m trying to stay on top of assignments for my songwriting class (which I’m super grateful for at the moment, because if I didn’t have those deadlines, I probably wouldn’t be writing much at all right now). There are dreams tied to that, too – when will I hit the point where I can save a little money to record an EP? Since 2012 I’ve written almost 175 songs; more than half of those have happened in the past two years. I’m sitting on a lot of material, and it would be nice to be able to put some of it out into the world in a way that feels more permanent than the (very) occasional live show.
I really, really hope I have some more concrete news to blog about soon. In the meantime, I am trying to learn to breathe through the discomfort of waiting. I don’t know that I believe that everything happens for a reason, but I am trying to see what I can learn from this liminal space. Patience is not always my strongest virtue, but I’m working on it.
We are inching ever closer to our move date, and the number of packed boxes in our apartment has increased since last week. We’ve been coordinating some maintenance needs with the new landlord so that we don’t need to have them come and fix things when we’re actually there.
We’re down to the wire for packing now, though.
My partner has been in Minnesota for the past few days, hanging out with his parents before borrowing his dad’s car to drive to Song School. He gets back into town this afternoon. We leave for Song School tomorrow.
I am so excited for Song School, for seeing dear friends and digging into the practice of songwriting. I am also worried that I’ll struggle to be present, knowing that we move two days after we get back. I’m hoping I’ll be able to set that aside and fully engage while we’re on this trip.
On that note: there will be no blog next week, as I will be in Colorado and off my phone as much as possible. The next time I write a blog will be from our new apartment!
30 big green bins. So far we’ve packed 17.5 of them, and it feels like we’re running out of places to stack the packed ones. We basically have to finish by the end of this weekend, because Monday my partner heads to Minnesota to hang out with his family for a few days before we borrow their car for our trip to Colorado, and I’m hoping to not have to pack too much on my own.
It feels like we have so much to do before we leave for Colorado next Friday. I believe we can do it, but it’s going to be a challenge.
I am excited for Song School, though. Looking forward to seeing friends and filling my brain with the wisdom of other songwriters. I’ve been feeling a bit stuck in my own songwriting lately, so I’m hoping this helps to shake some things loose.
It’s the final day of February, and I’m tired. But it’s been an interesting month. Here are some highlights:
FAWM, obviously. Unless I miraculously get something done tonight, I’m ending the month with sixteen new songs, plus two that I co-wrote with my partner. I’m pleased with the majority of my songs, and I’m really happy with how our co-writes came out. Collaborating was a new experience for us, and neither of us was sure how it would go.
I started seeing a new therapist. It’s going really well.
I had some really good times hanging out with friends – I didn’t let FAWM completely take over my life. We had a visit from a Minnesota friend, a birthday party, and I got to play D&D. I am frequently reminded how great my people are. I’m a very lucky queer.
I’m looking forward to getting our apartment back under control in March, and hopefully sleeping more.
I hit my goal of 14 songs for FAWM on Monday. Fourteen songs in eighteen days – I’m pretty pleased with those numbers. There’s still about a week left in February, so we’ll see how many more I can get done before the month is out.
Things I’ve learned or relearned so far this month:
Showing up is the hardest (and most important) part. I learned this last year during FAWM, and while I haven’t put it as much into practice as I’d like, I’m getting there. I think creative folks can easily fall into the trap of waiting around for inspiration to hit and avoid doing creative work because it just doesn’t feel like the right time, but the thing is…if you want inspiration to show up, you need to show up first. The times I have been most prolific have been the ones where I set aside an hour specifically for writing, and then just wrote. Sometimes I hit dead ends, yes – but not as often as I expected to. More often I found that inspiration caught up with me and I was able to write some interesting and unexpected things.
FAWM is fun on its own, but it’s way more fun if you know people from outside the internet who are doing it. My partner has been participating this year, as well as some other friends, and it’s so great to have a little community of people I can run into in my day-to-day life and gush with about this bonkers thing we’re doing.
One of the best ways to get unstuck if I feel like I can’t write is to experiment. This month I have written in a total of three guitar tunings, used a slide for the first time, and written a song on the mandolin (or, well, on the ‘ukulele, but it’s currently tuned like a mandolin…). Switching to something that’s outside of my comfort zone is a great way to let a song go to unexpected places.
And now, here’s song number 14, which is one of my favorites from this month:
Sometimes, progress is obvious and happens quickly. Other times, it can feel like it’s not happening at all. This week has largely been one of those other times.
FAWM marches on, and I have been writing – I’m up to 12 songs and it’s the 14th of the month. This week it’s been harder, though. I’ve had trouble waking up early to write. Still, I’ve written some keepers, and that’s exciting. Here are a few of the songs I’m proudest of so far:
Work has been frustrating, not because of anything specific to my job, but because my brain has been extremely foggy this week. I haven’t gotten much done, because I can’t keep my train of thought on the rails long enough to see things through. I feel stuck, and it’s not a pleasant feeling.
I am looking forward to the weekend. A friend of ours is coming down from Minnesota to hang out for a couple of days. I’m looking forward to some low-key hangouts and pizza.
FAWM is in full swing, and I might be losing my mind.
I’ve written 8 songs so far. Yes, it is February 7. I don’t know if this pace is sustainable, but I’m riding the wave while it’s here.
It’s been fun so far. My partner is also participating this year, which is great, because it’s always nice to have someone who gets what’s going on. On the other hand, we live in a one-bedroom apartment and are both a little shy about writing near each other. So we’ve had to negotiate terms and territory – we’re both getting up early in the mornings, and then he goes in the living room and I stay holed up in the bedroom and we work in our respective bubbles until he needs to leave for work (which is earlier than I need to leave but signals that I should also start getting ready). It’s a solid system so far.
I’m not writing gems every time, but I have to say I am pretty happy with how things are turning out overall. It feels good to be writing, and it’s nice to feel good about what I’m writing, too.
Work is stressful right now – last Friday I had a particularly bad day which I’m still mentally recovering from. But I’m reminding myself that I am a capable human who’s good at my job, and things are going to work out.