« The Muse »

It's been a few years since the muse and I had a thing goin'. That's not to say nothing has been done. It's just not happening all the time like it did for a few years when I had the time to record and dabble for hours on end, day after day.

A few things contributed to a decline in conjugal visits with the muse: getting wound up in school and some career shifts (such as my career ever was), a mess of family dynamics to sift through, some pieces of gear that disappointed, women, and post 9/11 awareness. There must be other things, but that is among the leading causes. I also stopped journalling after ten years of semiregular notes on things great and small (those ten years corresponded to the first ten out of high school). I don't know how much effect that has had on writing. I do suspect that journalling opens up a path for understanding certain things, and that can make song writing a little more fluid. The thing is, I am not a "song" writer. I do write some lyrics, and on my CD there is perfectly representative material in lyric form, but it's not really how I start tunes.

I used to seek the help of technology to write music. Now I am free of synthesizers, over gimmicky use of FX and other things that "help" a solo recording "artist." It's me and a guitar or bass mostly. The muse is most likely to visit when I am playing with others. All last year was the year of the loose trio jam, and this year I am trying to be more structured. I am in mk IV of my "band" and I am playing guitar—a whole other challenge after playing bass for about three years in the bands I was in, but I still love bass and on a good day, I channel my fave players of that instrument. One thing is for sure: whatever worked a few years ago aint working now, and it's taken some time to find a new model. It seems that me and the recorder isn't as good a combo as I thought, at least for jumpstarting an idea.

I have taken to doing some web and photgraphic work as a diversion, listen to all sorts of music and have done more reading lately. I'm not sure if it will make the muse come back, but sometimes you have to let that go and trust that it will. I have never been one to simply practice an instrument—that could take some time out of my day, even with 45 minutes given to the drums, bass, guitars, and keys! I know some people happen across great ideas while playing scales or other exercises. I might, but never do. I find my best playing comes when I am not even trying. If I recorded what happens on bass or guitar when I am watching TV or waiting for my hard drive to defrag, or other mindless day filler to resolve, I might have a few clever albums done by now. But alas, that usually isn't the case.

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