Thursday, November 3, 2011

Can you listen to music and write at the same time?

Hell yes.

In fact, I think I need it. I don't do well without multiple sources of stimulus, for lack of a better term. (OK, I am quite sure I am capable of coming up with a better one, but... well? I don't wanna. I'm nasty that way.) Right now, I am listening to a song about singing, and writing a post about writing. It is somewhat inspiring, I must say.

After all, "Life is no cabaret. We don't care what you say. We're inviting you anyway. You motherfuckers, you sing something!"

How can you not be inspired by that? I like being yelled at to do things, I guess. It's the sub in me. Sue me.

I have things on shuffle right now, and it can get interesting, since I like everything; from Joni Mitchell, to Apocalyptica, to Beethoven. And everything is in there. It just jumped from The Dresden Dolls, to Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds. Not really that much of a stretch if you think about it, but... well? Sort of. The Dolls can range from really beautiful, to really, really ugly. But... ugly with Charm. Like a sad, sick little monkey who just killed her hurdy gurdy man; blood trickling down the side of her cheek, but still... you feel sympathetic, and want to help her, because, after all, she is just a sick little monkey. And she has climbed onto the piano and is playing it so beautifully... and she has that spark in her eye that draws you in and makes you want to follow her around.

Yeah, I kind of have a thing for Amanda Palmer; a special place in my heart, if you will.

I was raised to enjoy a wide range of music. I was exposed to a lot of... things growing up... in many senses, and I always learned to adapt and take what I wanted from various places, so long as they worked for me. These days, it makes me kind of sad when people won't give the unknown, (even from just a musical listening standpoint,) a chance.

"There is this thing keeping everyone's lungs and lips locked. It is called fear, and it's seeing a great renaissance. After the show, you can not sing whenever you want. But for now, let's just pretend we're all gonna get bombed." -- The Dolls.

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Yeah. Switching gears to the subject of fear, I have to wonder what people are really afraid of in life. A while back, a friend said something to me about fear, and about how she felt it was important to face your biggest fear, and try to learn from it. But... what if your biggest fear is actually quite reasonable, and is there for a reason?

There are so many things we don't do, because we are afraid of getting hurt; literally, or figuratively. Some of this fear is there for very good reason. Personally, my biggest fear is asphyxiating due to smoke inhalation, or burning to death, if the smoke didn't take care of me first. I think that is a reasonable fear to have, and one stemming from a 20 year fight with asthma, where I got to experience near-asphyxiation many, many, times. That was pretty stressful, and traumatizing. I hope I never experience that again.

Maybe I have faced this big fear in a different way, though, considering that one of my favourite things is fire. I am not afraid of fire, at all. I am quite good at building fires. I am great at keeping them under control, and putting them out if need be. I have built more fires than I could ever count, and have never once had an issue. Ever. It's all about respecting the element, and treating it the way it should be treated. Safety and common sense go a very long way.

As far as being hurt figuratively; the kind of hurt that sticks that knife in your heart, and makes you wish you had never tried... I've been there, too. But you know what? I always bounce back. And I can say that I did try, rather than saying I lived a life of never trying anything with anyone, and missed out on so many, possibly wonderful, experiences. Some things are bound to be regrets, but how else do we learn?

"What are regrets? They're just lessons we haven't learned yet." -- Beth Orton

I don't want to be that person.

Facing fear is just a natural part of life. We all have to do it. Some of us have built strategies for doing this; some of us haven't. I try to keep my smaller fears in perspective, relative to my largest fear. Nothing really compares to burning to death, and as long as I remember that I am not about to go before a funeral pyre, I can get through just about anything. I do my best to figure out what is to be expected first, and that lessens the fear a lot. Knowledge is power; not just because it means you can go far with what you know, but also because it means you can extrapolate to a certain extent, and worry less about having a poor outcome, which is a pretty common fear. Before jumping into something new and unexplored, be sure to take the time to learn about what you are getting into. Things are far less scary if you take the time to understand them.

I am amazed at how many people don't do this.

Music has certainly taught me how to face some of my fears; not just in the messages that songwriters have come up with, but also in my own experience as a musician and performer. It has probably been the most consistently empowering force in my life, to this day. So why would I exclude it from my writing, or not have it playing while writing? It's downright necessary, as far as I'm concerned!


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