Ah... well, we've gone from the wierd climate change snow storms and wind storms and hurricanes to the usual sodding grey days of rain. Feels like home :)

Got a few projects going on:

Arie Boom - tweaking the lyrics & vocals for a cool pop-electronica song about climate change;

Lee Kweller - working on writing the melody for a folk song & doing a simple demo;

Ron Ropatt - working on writing the lyrics for a pop song & recording the vocals;

Dean Taylor - working on tweaking/remixing a pop-electronica James Bond sort of song;

Joe Wrabek - working on a couple of tracks for a country song

Plus I'm working on a couple of my own. Have to get my books done for income tax, and have to get organized to go spend a few days with my Dad over Easter.

Gotta go out in the rain now....

creatin' blood, sweat & tears everyday

Here I am fresh from the struggles, fights, exhaustion and elation of "February Album Writing Month" - where you challenge yourself to write "an album" of 14 songs in 28 days. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, because I managed to write, and record, 15 pieces of music - 4 instrumentals and 11 complete songs. All folk-based, all inspired by the fantasy world of JRR Tolkien.

"I can't wait for the album!" said my good friend. "Oh," said I. That will be a work in itself, taking each first draft (cause that's really all they are) and reworking/writing until they are ready to be produced. I already had 4 pieces on this theme I'd written sporatically over the past year, so that means I have 18 pieces. Perhaps two albums :)

Now I am working to catch up on some collaborations with lyricists, musicians & producers that have been waiting in the wings while I get myself organized.

In addition to that, I'm working on writing instrumentals of varying lengths for the film/tv market.

And I have 3 or 4 lyrics I was working on in January for pop, rock or country, that I need to fine-tune and then create the music so they can sing.

I also need to gather & sort & add up my receipts for last year so I can do my books and get my income tax filed. Not my favourite thing to do but I've set aside a little time two or three times a week to do a little more. Should be done by the end of March.

I've written over 33,120 words in my novel, and I want to get back at it, but I think it will have to wait til April.

Which brings me to creating blood, sweat & tears everyday. In the month of February, I had a revelation. I have revelations from time to time, usually after I've become aware of some issue in my life, and wrestle with it, feel guilty over it, or try to ignore it... but can't.

Lots of folks who read my blog & know my story tell me how inspiring I am and that's great, but I live with me, and I know there are many times when I'm not inspired or inspiring. In this revelation, I saw clearly how I stop myself from being inspired. How I stop myself from achieving more.

I saw how I put things off, procrastinate, for various reasons... it's almost like I get disconnected from them - they are "over there" and I know it, and it bugs me that they are there and not dealt with... but the same time, with the disconnect, I'm able to push them aside... and time passes... and suddenly I realize, it's been ages, and I haven't completed that thing. And then the voice in my head starts - 'see, you're such a loser, you haven't finished that project; you're a waste of space; who are you kidding; you're so lazy; you don't accomplish anything; you're a piece of s**t'. And then I become very scattered, because I've got several of those overdue things on my plate, and I don't know where to start, and it doesn't feel like much fun, and I'm so frustrated & angry with myself for not getting them done in a reasonable time frame and leaving them to the last minute, etc etc etc. Laundry, grocery-shopping, music projects, design projects, writing projects, answering emails, etc.

So, in the midst of writing 15 songs in 28 days, I had an epiphany. I decided I needed a system to deal with the backlog, and to deal with new projects. I decided I had to take the skills I already have in scheduling students, rehearsals, and gigs, and apply that to my other projects. I could feel myself rebelling as I began to schedule specific times to work on collaborations and to work on organizing different parts of my life.

"That's not very creative" said the voice in my head, as I assigned an entire week's free time to one collaboration, contacting the co-writer & suggesting we talk on the Sunday about what we have planned.

"That's restrictive" said the voice in my head, as I assigned another week to another co-writer who has been waiting patiently for me to get my ass in gear.

"How can you schedule inspiration" said the voice in my head as I contacted new collaborators and scheduled time for their projects.

But I'm here to tell you, it works. It's amazing. Instead of having all these responsibilities weighing me down and stopping the flow... everything is done, or has its time/place. So I can work today on an instrumental, because I've put aside tomorrow morning for this week's collaboration. The bills are paid and the grocery shopping is done. I have two students today and I can spend the rest of the time writing or producing music, knowing the other collaborations on my project list all have been scheduled and their time is coming up.

I feel lighter, more energized... and tons more inspired. I still struggle with finding the right words or the right notes to say what I want to say (blood), I still struggle to find the right instruments & textures to paint a sonic picture of my inspiration (sweat), and I still am moved by how it feels to be part of, and in, the music on a daily basis (tears). I am just so grateful for the conscious awareness in my life that allows me to grow, learn & create every day.

I did it!!!

In February I...

-- completed the graphic design of a 291-page student manual;

-- submitted a 25-page excerpt of my novel to the 2007 Summer Literary Seminars Fiction and Poetry Contests, in Affiliation with The Walrus magazine, Fiction Judge: Douglas Coupland

--wrote 15 pieces of music for the "February Album Writing Month" - you challenge yourself to write 14 songs in 28 days. I wrote 3 or 4 instrumentals and the rest complete songs, and recorded worktapes of each;

-- taught, scheduled, prodded & pushed 28 students;

-- looked after my personal health by eating tons of steamed vegetables, taking my vitamins & flax oil, and getting no sleep.