Sunday, December 26, 2010

Weekly Space Driftin' Update 12/26/10

What a busy week it was for me. I will have to get more organized in the future if I expect to be able to blog about my weekly creative activities with any accuracy. This week was art week but because I am addicted to reading it was actually a 50/50 reading/art week.

You all probably have much better things to do than read about my week full of watching strange B-movies that hold some kind of "holiday" meaning to me. I did spend plenty of time practicing my illustration skills, and I identified even more areas of weakness. I have known for a long time that I can't draw hands for shit, so I need to keep working on that. I think the biggest progress I have made when it comes to drawing is figuring out my own style. If there is one thing I know for sure it's that if you compare yourself to others when it comes to doing things like drawing, playing music, or doing just about anything creative, you will come out disappointed in yourself. I used to waste a lot of time comparing myself to others and it did nothing but frustrate me into quitting.

I use the model put forth by other people's work as inspiration that will be able to challenge me to work harder and become more skilled in my preferred disciplines, but if I let those models become overwhelming to me then I will get discouraged in my efforts. I guess it's all of the time I am spending doodling and drawing and practicing different techniques that has allowed me to recognize my own illustrative style. I could just copy the styles of other artists, but like I just mentioned, I usually get discouraged by going down that path because I can't do what someone else does as good as them. I am staring to get the feel for what I am going to be good at, so I am spending more time focusing on sharpening my drawings in that direction.

Due to my laptop getting a new hard drive this week I haven't got my hardware synced up so I can post some scans of my drawings yet but I will have that up and running ASAP. I enjoyed the weather of Flagstaff this week very much as I walked and biked around town. I had plenty of snow to play in, but there were also a few days of mid-50's warmth and sunshine. The trails around town are starting to stay sloppy however, so that's no good and it means I have to stay on the paved pathways until I get a mountain bike. My cruiser is not a very good trail bike, but it is better than one would expect.

I'm not into the holidays very much myself. Holidays are just days to me, but the stores are closed on holidays, which sucks, and I have nowhere to go and people watch as a result. I don't directly socialize with other people. I don't actually talk to people very much, and I don't have any what you would call friends in Flagstaff. However, I do go out and participate with the townspeople in day to day life. I just don't get close to anyone because I don't find being close to people very appealing most of the time. Not to sound like a dick, but I just don't like what I see and hear most of the time. I already feel like I have enough friends and I have a good family so I am not shopping for new people. Unfortunately I live nowhere near any of my friends and family so I spend nearly all of my time alone. I think this bums them out more than me, but I can't be near them because it would interfere with me getting anything done. All of the things that I feel passionately drawn to in life are solitary endeavors; writing, drawing, reading, either listening to music or trying to play it. I'm sure some asshole will disagree with me but for me those are solitary endeavors.

As much as I don't care about the holidays I do like New Years because it carries with it a sense of progress. 2010 was a hard year for me. Lots of action and lots of change. I liked most of it but it was tiresome. Hopefully 2011 will have just as much action and I will be better prepared to handle it this time because I had a lot of fun in 2010.

Keith.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Weekly Space Driftin' Update 12/19/10

I know that last week I bragged about how awesome I am due to the fact that I paid off the rest of my student loans and I am now %100 debt free. Well here are some more reasons that I am better than you. A) I read 5 books this week. How many did you read? Reading may seem like a dull and passive activity to some of you, but that is only because you are shitty readers and you aren't doing it right. B) My head hair and my beard continue to grow out and I look glorious. C) I am going to see Willie Nelson & Family live next month; ticket is purchased, slightly left of center stage, half-way back in the orchestra pit. (Translation for morons who don't go to theaters very much: BADASS SEAT.) Let me give you a second to collect yourself and possibly put a towel down where you were just sitting.

I AM GOING TO SEE THE MOTHER-FUCKIN' RED HEADED STRANGER LIVE IN CONCERT!!!

Jealous much? And that is not all; the night after the Willie "Fuck the IRS" Nelson Show I will be going to the Orpheum Theater to see Railroad Earth. This will be the second time I have "Heard" Railroad Earth, but it will be the first time I "See" them live. Back in October I was exposed to Railroad Earth at the Harvest Music Festival, but I elected to listen to them from the comfiness of my sleeping bag inside a tent(click on the sentence to be taken to the Internet Archives for live Railroad Earth recordings and the one I am talking about is labeled Live at Yonder Mountain String Bands Harvest Music Festival Main Stage 2010-10-14). I have a live recording someone made of that set that I downloaded from the Internet Archive, and I have been wearing those MP3's out, son. It's a great live recording because it picked up so much of the crowd. Near the end of one of the tracks, right before they played an encore, you hear a male fan run by the microphone and he screams out, "WHOOOOOO, LAMINATED SCHEDULES!!!!!" I guess you had to be there, but I will explain: there were very nicely laminated schedules handed out that included a map of the area so it was very easy to find out who was playing on what stage and where that stage was in the area.

Clearly this fan was excited and appreciative of the schedules, and hearing that on the recording added a neat personal touch to it because I also have one of those schedules because I was there. Sometimes I will listen to that recording while holding my program and stroking it's finely laminated exterior and it takes me back to that sunny weekend in Arkansas. I remember the Jerry Roll, all of the drugs, the asshole security guard and the pointless fence/gate system that everyone took a huge shit on every five minutes, and bright day-glo yellow sheets of paper that had the word "sexual" written on them in magic marker.

Huh?

Allow me to explain: RV's all have names. They have names like Nomad, Prowler, Weekend Warrior, Cougar, Schooner, and yes, Invader. Someone, and their friends, whom were probably very high on drugs struck upon a glorious idea. Write the word "Sexual" in big, bold, black letters on a sheet of bright yellow paper and then tape this sheet of paper on the sides of RVs next to their respective titles. This creates a sophomoric joke of brilliant proportions when you see it unexpectedly. Sexual Nomad(exciting). Sexual Prowler(creepy). Sexual Weekend Warrior(your parents). Sexual Cougar(Judge Judy). Sexual Schooner(like Sinbad the sailor man?). and last but not least, Sexual Invader(felonious and quite possibly Catholic).

It's good for chuckles, admit it.

Oh shit, back to me and what I do. I did a lot of reading this week as I already mentioned, and I also did a lot of writing. I wasn't working on my journal or any short stories or even any pieces for The Secret 'Stache. I was working on something far more important; I was working to find my flow and I know that I am closer now than I was a week ago. I was having problems writing in the recent past because it was like pulling teeth. I don't mean it was simply uncomfortable; writing should always have the ability to be uncomfortable because its challenging. Not always but often. Sometimes, when you have the flow, words just erupt onto the page in musical patterns with what seems to be minimal effort. It's a great fucking feeling and I am very close to it now. I am furthering my mastery of the harmonica. I can reliably produce a single tone now, and I am able to play the major C scale fairly well. I can also play most of Mary Had A Little Lamb from memory. Don't you laugh at me; I am a very tough man! Just you wait and I'll learn to play some Judas Priest songs on the harp, uuuggghh, no wait, I mean I'll learn to play "We Are the Champions" and "Bohemian Rhapsody" by that one band. Oh shit...........QUEEN!!!

Nevermind. Perhaps I should focus on playing some Dylan tunes instead.

Thanks for reading, have a great week.

Keith

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Weekly Space Driftin' Update 12/12/10

This week was supposed to be a "writing week" but I was consumed by self pity and my computer is still out of commission. I am fairly disappointed with myself for doing almost nothing of note this week. I squeezed in some harmonica practice here and there but not very much. I did a little writing but not enough. I did listen to a lot of stand up comedy and I did a lot of reading. Those are two things that I have not been getting enough of lately so it was nice to just relax, (recover from the horrible illness that took my ass out for two and a half days), and do nothing but read and watch movies and laugh at jokes.

Being sick made me sleep a lot and my hours got all twisted back to being nocturnal. This aggravated me because I don't want to be asleep all day and then up all night because this guarantees that I will be alone all of the time. It also guarantees that I will not get much done in life because you need to be up during business hours if you wish to do business with the world. Also, I get zero exercise and eat like crap when I am nocturnal and this only makes me physically weaker which then makes it harder to turn things around and get back on track with some semblance of a productive daily routine.

Well it took me most of the week but I think I have done it and I learned what not to do to allow it to happen again. I am just going to have to be super strict with my bed times on a consistent basis for several months before I can hope to be well acclimated back to day light hours. No more playing fast and loose and thinking that I can say "fuck it" for one night and then be back to normal the next. It isn't happening so I am not going to let myself get sloppy anymore.

I decided to pay of the final bit of my student loans so now I am proud to say that I am a 100% debt free man. That feels good. Now all I have to do is develop a small personal income from my own independent work efforts and I will be living the life I have always wanted.

Last night was another Comedy Connection show at the Green Room in Flagstaff. These shows are produced by Jamie Anderson with Jester Comedy and they happen the second Saturday of every month. The audience was much more responsive this time so the comics were able to perform with less distractions I felt. It was a great show and I really can't wait to start doing open mics. Unfortunately, the place where we had a comedy open mic here in Flagstaff has closed down so there is nothing to do right now. Eventually there will be something put together soon and I will be able to try this stand up comedy out finally.

All right people, have a great week and come back next Sunday to hear me ramble about what I did in terms of creating. I am going to live with a notebook in my hands until I get my laptop back from repair, and I think I am going to live with a notebook in my hands all of the time anyway. I'll keep practicing the harp and maybe one day I will be able to post a video of my playing! Also, pretty soon I will start putting some scans up of some of my drawings to show to you all, and I may talk about the ideas behind those drawings as well.

Keith.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Weekly Space Driftin' Update 12/5/10

****NOTE****Sorry this is getting to you way too late but I dropped my laptop a few moments ago and it has gone into a computer coma that was caused by severe hard drive trauma.


This was "Music" week for me and that meant that I focused primarily on practicing my harmonica. I have to admit that I am disappointed with how little time I actually practiced, but there is no going back in time now and I can't cry about it either. I will just do better next time. I did however make some progress. It takes practice to produce a single note on the harmonica because the holes are so small, but I got much, much better at using the tongue block technique to make single notes. I learned to play the Major C Scale and also the children's song, Mary Had a Little Lamb. Overall I am pleased with what I learned this week with the harmonica. There is much work to do but mastering the techniques necessary to produce single notes on the harmonica is very important.

I also checked on guitar lessons at the local music shops because I also want to learn to play the six string acoustic. I have big plans for learning to play the electric bass and the banjo as well, but that will wait for now. Obviously I am a little overwhelmed at this point with just the harmonica.

Other than writing, creative activities like actually playing music and drawing or painting are new to me and still intimidating in some way. I have almost no hesitation in most instances when it comes time to delve into some writing; although I do get a little balky with creative writing at times. The things that intimidate and cause me to get blocked are the same with anything however. It's just that I have more practice with writing and I know how to get myself moving quicker. Like many people I get preoccupied with worrying about how my creations will turn out and that self consciousness about my abilities is crippling. Even if I slow down and tell myself that I don't have to produce masterpieces now or ever it is still hard to get started with some creative projects.

This all comes about because there is a "gap" between what I can mentally conceptualize and what my actual abilities and/or efforts can produce. Actually, to be honest, sometimes there is no gap but I sit and worry that there is a gap and I let that worrying stop me from working. I'm sure other creatives will recognize what I am talking about here. I sit there at my laptop staring at a blank screen or my desk with a blank stack of sketch paper in front of me and I worry about letting myself down and getting frustrated with my skills. More often than not when I eventually get going and I finish something I am pleased, (and sometimes shocked), at the results.

I have to constantly remind myself that a strong creative mind is flexible and dynamic. I have to not take myself or anything too seriously and remember that perfection is a myth and that everything can be learned from, especially "mistakes," if you want to recognize such things. Even if I was recognized as being "Great" at something and I felt the same way, (I hope this never happens because I think its the kiss of death), I would still have to practice and let myself be wild and boundless while completely pushing out expectations for the sake of stretching my creative abilities.

I spent a little time working on some concept drawings I started last week, and I am working towards putting some of these down in a more polished form as paintings. Two days ago it was the First Friday Art Walk here in Flagstaff and I spent the evening going from gallery to gallery looking at the wares. I was able to enjoy it for a little while before the crowds started to get to me and I started to get anxious thinking about how I am going to break into the commercial art world and possibly make a living at it. I hate to be taken out of the moment like that by thoughts of money and making a living but that is our world and I can't change it. I left down town a little bummed out and I let it drag on through the weekend and now I am really sick from eating something rotten. I guess I am feeling pretty low, but I know that this will pass and I've learned much this week.

Keith.