Making Songwriting Tools and Opportunities Accessible

I’ve been hitting “publish” nearly daily for a little over six months. I’ve been happy to see each like that comes my way, and grateful to see readers occasionally moved to comment.   

It’s seems there have been a couple of arcs to what I’ve posted. In the summer, I was focused a lot on what self-care meant to me, and how to create space for discernment without self-judgment.  

Over the fall, I’ve gotten more interested in how focus my time and energy. On how and what to prioritize.  

And, dear reader, I imagine you can smell from this recap, some kind of announcement coming on, which is this: for next little bit, I’m abandoning the established five day a week schedule for the blog and focusing in on my project explaining the principles of music with BEAD Guides Chord Flow.  

I’ve come come to the conclusion it’s time to really focus on what I’ve wanted to be a priority for a long time, making songwriting tools and opportunities accessible for songwriters, (especially songwriter guitarists).   

The weekly prompts and musical ideas I’ve been posting each Friday will continue. I’m sure over time other things will begin to turn up here as well. It just won’t be on a regular schedule for a while.  

Be well, 


Cleverness Complicates

I’m in the fourth week since I’ve begun planning my week out in advance. Last week I noticed, I spent much time erasing and rearranging my time each day. I began to suspect it would be worthwhile using two sheets instead of one. One to track my plans, the other to track my actions. It sounded clever and efficient. 

Over time with the two sheets I could hone my habits and make my plans better suit my temperament. I could compare and contrast, etc. Then my follow though collapsed.

From a good, impartial distance I’d identify a few reasons for this.  

There’s the election, and I’m a bit of a political news junky. I’ve been distracted.  

There’s the simple fact my planning this habit is about three weeks in.  

Its “shiny new thing” motivation has waned.   

AND, I’m really suspicious that two sheets is too many.  

One sheet is simpler. Sure one sheet requires daily erasure, but it’s still less work than juggling and tracking two. Cleverness complicates. I’ll aim for simple.  

The Conference Lobby

 A while ago, friends of mine went to a music conference for the first time. The goal of conferences is generally to meet people, and let them know what you do. You know, networking. A person is given a name tag and set loose on awkward cocktail party of people all looking to make the right connections.   

My friends approached it a little differently. They found there wasn’t a lot going on in the main lobby was empty most of the time. People milled around, rested on the couches, or merely passed through.   They grabbed their instruments and started playing. For lots of musicians the opportunity to join in a a jam is better than milling through an awkward meet and great. Those musicians would join in. Concert promoters would pass and sometimes stop to listen. By the end of a weekend of doing that, lots of people knew who they were and what they did. 

A few years later they’ve gone from leaders of the song circle in the lobby to leaders of the community and the conference itself. Merely starting a song circle in the lobby didn’t make they leaders, but it’s an example of how they consistently looked for spaces where something could happen, something that would be fun and help others and simply started doing. When others got interested, or wanted to take part, they invited them to join. What the empty space you see?

Fixed Gears

About ten years ago, I bought a used bike. The bike I owned was stolen out of my apartment’s foyer when my landlord left the door open. I didn’t want to invest in another new bike, so I bought one used bike.   

Because the old one had been stolen out of our foyer, I locked the new one in the closest convenient place. Outside. On a “No Parking” sign. Summer turned to fall. Fall turned to winter. At some point the bike was left out on the pole in the snow. 

In time, it’s gears locked up and they could be switched in only one direction. After a while of course, the bike ran out of options in that direction.  

I took it in to the bike shop to be looked at. The bike mechanic’s prognosis was he couldn’t fix the gears but he could turn into a fixed gear bike if I liked. I wasn’t super happy about it, but I was still feeling crunched for cash. I could have no bike or a bike with one working gear. I went for the fixed gear. That’s when I discovered that there’s a kind of ease with having one fixed option.   

I thought of all this today as I listened to Tim Ferriss talk to Debbie Millman about her experience working with habitual patterns in her life. That after thirty years of therapy, she said she would have thought perhaps she’d be done with some of the issues that come up for her. She also, how she wouldn’t really be who she is without those issues.   

She’s basically what she was saying was in certain aspects of her life her options are basically fixed. That’s when I found myself thinking about my old bike again and how there was a kind of freedom in knowing what I had and never having to shift gears.  

This is a simplistic metaphor, and our lives are complicated—still there’s something there that I think could be worth exploring further.     

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Meh, revisited

It’s interesting to see in my illustrations, perhaps some subconscious messages poking their little head into the sunlight. The kitty saying “Meh,” a perfectly reasonable and appropriate thing for a cat to say in popular culture’s telling of cats. But I could have said anything. Or nothing at all. Good ‘ol Beanie could have just napped on his couch:

Or a couple of days ago when this seal balanced the veritable world atop his nose–something like Altas performing at Sea World. I’ll say here for the record, “I like the work;” but I wonder is my sub-conscious getting grumpy? Perhaps my muse is sending up smoke signals?

A few days ago I scrawled down these words; “Every time I try to lower the stakes for myself, I want to raise them somewhere else.” When I consider doing fewer drawings each week a voice in my head says; “Great, then you can post everyday!” Or, “Great! That means you could do more detailed work!”

One of the voices in my head is a workaholic Tigger. The balanced, rational part of my mind knows I can’t do everything. The balanced, rational part of my mind defends my right to decide what is enough. Workaholic Tigger will always bounce back with an offer of more work.

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