Monday, July 25, 2011

Journal Yearning

Pmo and I used to have a habit of recounting the entire weekend on Sunday night. Everything we did, everywhere we went, everything we saw. That task has fallen by the wayside, same as my journals.

On our first vacation together, I wrote up everything we had done at the end of the day on my computer. While it was fresh in my mind and I could still remember details. Because if you wait much longer than that, you lose so many memories. I eventually turned my writing and pictures into a scrapbook. It was a lot of work, but I'm glad I have it in the back bedroom to look at whenever I want. I have also put sets of pictures on a few DVDs (with songs, of course) and given them to Pmo as presents.

I enjoy putting stuff like that together. I just haven't done much of it in lately. I started looking at journals the other night at Barnes and Noble. Crisp, unwritten pages bound by leather or canvas. Sometimes with a tie wrapped around or buttoned by a flap. The travel journals really sparked my interest. I thought about getting one but wasn't sure I would actually use it. I hate waste.

This blog is a journal, obviously. But you see how often I come up with something to write about on here. And how often do I just write about writing? Sometimes, I don't want to go public with my thoughts. I have a few journals I keep from difficult times in my life that I don't necessarily want everyone to see. Then again, I have considered trying to make a book out of those entries, too.

As I've grown older, it's been much easier for me to write fact than fiction. That's why a blog works. And keeping something like a travel journal would make sense. I don't have to sit and wait for inspiration to hit me. I just tell what happened. Sitting here at the kitchen table helps, too. When I sit in the recliner with the TV on, my mind goes numb and I quit thinking for awhile. Which I like. Which I often need to do, especially after work. But with just music playing and creativity flowing into the air, I can actually form thoughts and come up with a plan. I don't like silence. Dead air, as we call it in the TV biz :)

I bought this computer in 2007 because I wanted to be like Carrie Bradshaw from Sex in the City. I've admitted this before and I have no shame. But another advantage to blogging or keeping a journal in a word document is that you don't have to see my handwriting. I love the look and feel of a journal in my hand, but if it's not legible, what's the point? Alright, my handwriting isn't that bad, but if I get in a hurry, I start making mistakes. Not a big fan of white out. And my hand starts hurting. Then I quit writing. And that's no fun.

Still, I may go back to B&N and buy that travel journal for our next trip. I could drag my scrapbooking supplies out and go shopping for new ones. I might print out some pictures and take a stab at another memory keepsake. I may go find one of those journals in the back that I know is blank and start filling it. I could read my old entries and form those thoughts into a rough draft. But for now, I'll probably go start reading the book I bought Friday night and go to sleep. And dream of brown leather and perfect cursive.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hot and Cold

I'd say my summer is going well. For summer. I'm not a big fan. The bugs, the sweat. It would almost be okay if those things went away when the sun went down. But they don't. I went to work the other night and it was 86 degrees. And pitch black. Unreal. Thank goodness for the A/C.

I did the pool thing when I was younger, but now it's just not my thing. I'd rather hang out at a lake or the beach. But I don't do that either. There is a lake at a park about ten miles from our house but we've only been bicycling there.

That's another thing. I hate when it's too hot to ride bicycles or motorcycles. Nothing worse that sitting on a motorcycle, a black one for that matter, with the hot pavement beneath you.

I know, I know. After the winter we had, I shouldn't be complaining. Plus, I'm not even awake during the hottest part of the day, unless it's a weekend, so what I do I know? But I'd rather be comfortable. Cozy. And able to breathe.

I'm forgetting one thing. It may be in the 90s outside but it's pretty chilly at work. So I have to bundle up when I go in, then shed the layers when I come out. It's ridiculous. I prefer fall. And a cabin in the mountains. With a glass of wine in a hot tub. Hmmm. Time to make vacation plans.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Me Against the Music

I often wonder why I didn't pursue a career in music. I attribute it to the fact that they don't teach you the good stuff in school. This fact is portrayed perfectly in "The Runaways" when Joan Jett goes for guitar lessons. He wants to teach her "On Top of 'Ol Smoky" on acoustic guitar. She wants to plug in an amp and crank out "Smoke on the Water".

I could have joined the school band but I really wasn't interested in playing the clarinet or the tuba. Classical music wasn't my thing, and that's all I had heard the band play, besides pep rally material. I do remember getting to sing a few "popular" songs in junior high. It was in Mrs. Scherzinger's class: "Yesterday" by the Beatles and "Spinning Wheel" by Blood, Sweat and Tears. I was told I was a soprano so I felt like all I got to do was sing the high notes like an opera singer or choir member. All I was really did, all I've ever done, is imitate what I heard. I never learned how to read music. It seemed boring at the time and I guess I just didn't get it.

Before I go any further, let me make it clear that even though I enjoy a good karaoke bar, I do NOT think I'm a good singer. Never have. In fact, I cursed the fact that I wasn't given such a talent. How could I be so passionate about something and then not be any good at it? The first time I sang in public was my best friend's wedding in 2005. My dad later told me the bride was dancing in the crowd and mouthing the words right back to me. I'll never forget that.

My ultimate dream was to be a singer/songwriter. Even if my voice sucked, I still could have learned how to play guitar or piano and write songs. Went on to college and perfected my craft. But even in college, you're expected to have a basic knowledge of your subject before you start that journey. I didn't understand the dynamics of music, just that I loved it. Plus, you're supposed to invest in a career that's profitable. Unless you're any good, the music industry can eat you alive.

I've always enjoyed a variety of music: rock/country/pop/hiphop, etc. I like to say, "A good song is a good song is a good song." No matter what genre. But I always come back to Stevie Nicks as one of my biggest influences. If you looked up the definition of singer/songwriter in the dictionary (or did a Google search these days) you'd see her picture. Next month, I'll get to see her live in concert for the first time. I really can't believe it took me this long. Stevie's like one of my oldest and dearest friends who I still have a connection with even though we lost touch over the years. I may not listen to her music every day or even have all of her albums, but she's still so important to me. Not just her voice, but her lyrics. It's like she knew exactly how I felt. And she made me want to put my emotions into song, too.

I guess if I had wanted it bad enough, I would have pursued music as a profession. I suppose it's not too late. I could still take singing lessons. I could write down lyrics. I used to write poetry all of the time. And what is a song if not poetry set to music? I could learn how to tickle the ivories or play my grandpa's guitar. I actually dabbled in guitar a bit in college. I had a friend (who reminds me of Joan Jett) who tried to teach me. But I lost interest. And it hurt my hands.

Maybe one day I'll get my act together, literally. Or maybe I'll just be a professional appreciator.

Either way, the music will always be with me.

" can sing the melody to me and I could write a couple lines..."

--Bon Jovi