I had been dreaming of rain. Then the skies opened up and we got weeks of it. Or at least it felt like we did. People around me complained about summer’s late appearance but I secretly enjoyed its slumber. I love the rain.
Eight months or more ago I switched to part-time work and was filling my extra time with music. It was an intense and busy period but I was surprised by how limited having the additional time really was.
You will not use all of it. You will use all of it, unnecessarily.
I found myself running errands and disappearing to my cabin upstate whenever I could. Other times I was completely consumed with booking tours, shows and writing. I thought I’d have a system but instead I worked impulsively. It was effective but erratic. Totally not me, I thought. But it is apparently, once the guide rails have been removed. Effective. Erratic. Productive.
Then the company I was working for shut down. glorious. I was actually relieved. It was the first time since I was 15 that I didn’t have some type of job. I felt an enormous weight lift from my shoulders and a strange clarity seeped into my life. Maybe this was the moment I make that big change? financially I just couldn’t do it. I was owed months of back pay with no set payment future and was now the proud new owner of a house upstate.
I was offered a similar job a day later but had asked for some time to think about it. A few weeks after that I relented and was back full-time again, squeezing music in where I could. The break was nice while it lasted. My productivity never changed.
The only issue was that I had made a bunch of commitments/ booked shows etc. which I had to follow through on. If you know me you’ll know I take that sh*t seriously, if you don’t, well let me tell you, I take that sh*t very seriously! Besides, in music, you’re not the only one – bailing/cancelling/wimping out effects everyone. In art, all you are is your perceived value. And mine is, in part, reliability.
A few weeks ago was the perfect storm of time mis-management.
I’m up at 5.45am, at my desk by 7 (a little before, a little after – depends on the crazies shooting south on 21st ave) and I’m supposed to work until 3 or 3.30 but often stay ’til four or later. I can’t complain about the new job or people I work with, it’s all good and I’m happy there. Unfortunately, for hellish week, I had music commitments every night that week and all of the weekend. I had agreed to them when working part-time or not at all.
Rehearsals (sometimes double – back to back, different bands) began every night except for Thursday which was a late double show (7.30 to 8.30 playing solo and again on bass for another band I’m in from 9.30 to 10.30). Saturday morning I was in the studio recording from 10am until 4 (hungover-oops!), or so, and then had a three-hour show later that night after battling almost two hours of “out of the city under construction” traffic. I was back in the studio Sunday morning and by the time I got home Sunday night I collapsed on the couch and got close to drunk on two beers. It was a strange experience having every single moment of my week belong to someone else. I’m not complaining, I love what I do but it made me very aware of my age. I recently turned 40 and although I feel fine, the hellish week was a rude awakening that I cannot run round like I used to. I had also picked up a cold and was frustrated at how long it was taking me to shift it. You learn a lot in moments like these, and I learned that I need to slow down (and get more sleep – four hours is not enough.)
As I write this I’m deep in the woods at the cabin, the surviving summer light is turning the shadows amongst the trees into crowds of people. It feels like I’m never alone up here. Everything is green and the only thing I hear that’s unnatural is the occasional car on Route 17 a half mile or more away. The local bear has still not made an appearance but Deer and other dwellers hangout like they own the place. It’s a relief to have the hellish week behind me. As I move forward I’ve realized the importance of editing and slowing down. Now I have structure, I hear music again. New songs are emerging, what more could I ask for?
– June 2017
Video: Lying in my hammock in the woods during the rain