Finally finding time to coalesce some photography, video, audio, words and ideas into their respective places. My poor back has suffered for a week due to my poor posture on the flight home from Florida. I just had to look out the window for nearly the entire trip. Watching the Earth below go from light reflecting waves of ocean and swamp into the rolling hills and hollows of home, as the clouds meandered and shrouded as they pleased. The evening job hasn’t helped much, but the coworkers have. I work with some wonderful people who can always make me laugh.
The new album has been growing into something really special. I’d say it’s somewhere near half complete. Most of the mixes are in a comfortable place and I’ll be coaxing out some vocals within the next couple months. Then it’s off to mastering, then out to the world.
As for art, there are some small things that have manifested, a couple paintings and drawings connected to the short horror story (Flayed In Exile) that I was lucky enough to have published last year in audio/podcast form for Hawk and Cleaver’s “The Other Stories”. While the short is only just a chapter in a larger story that lay dormant currently, the images reinforce the direction I’m going and hint at twists and turns I have plotted out, so I don’t know when or if they will be shared.
Other things that are bubbling to the surface as I begin to block out time for Spring weather activities and personal goals. Including a podcast of my own. Probably free-form format with smaller bits breaking up a fifteen to twenty minute conversation or monologue. Still bouncing ideas off friends and family. Still incubating.
There. I did it. First post this year updating visitors new and old about the connectivity sparking behind the scenes. It can be difficult sometimes to find a reason to update or blog, especially when I purposefully shy away from social media because I know how much of a brain-hacking time-suck it can be to me with little to no benefit. It’s hooked me before and can do it again. Instead I choose to give attention to that which I want to grow.
I try to limit my “scrolling” to no more than an hour a day, which distances me from the FOMO and other traps of an engineered algorithm tuned to keep the dopamine loops rolling for as long as possible. But sometimes with that distance comes a quelling of the urge to share things on here, my own little nook on the internet.
Till next time (which will probably be when the album is done), remember to give attention toward that which you want to grow. Cultivate discipline which will pollinate motivation and bloom as inspiration. If you fall out of it, rise again like the sun.
To do creative work one must not wait for inspiration or motivation, one must do the work. To do the work is to appease the Muses. They cater to the devotion of the attempt, to the ritual of respect. For example, sitting your butt in the chair with fingers at attention upon the keys and wading through whatever viscosity your imagination may be at the time, just getting it OUT of your head and INTO this world is the first step.
Sandstone walls and oily sludge ideas will move you forward or hinder you, stuff that cannot hold will crumble or burn away. From this crumbling, this immolation, this failure, persistence will reveal ores, gems and artifacts. But most of the time these precious ideas are raw or fragile. They need to be refined after being mined. That takes care and deliberate function. Trust the process.
Not so fast. Do not rush. For if you focus on the finish line you’ll miss the hurdle. Dare not hurry to the next thing. Take a moment to be in the moment and maybe even allow boredom to set in. Alone, with your thoughts and senses. In this realm of momentary moment-ism you may find it scary or unsettling, fear not for this is normal. Fear bubbles from uncertainty, uncertainty bubbles from the unknown. We are learning that reality is a direct result of consciousness and the nervous system is a conduit of consciousness, not an originator. You and I. Us and them. Underneath it all, we are One.
But not so fast. You are an infinitely unique aspect of an unfathomable greater whole. Capital “C” Consciousness. No matter what beliefs you may hold or mock, it is undeniable that life, as we live it, is strange, mysterious, loving and hostile but suspected to be cyclical in nature and eternal. Our origins may be so far out there that the only possible thing that could express it is a mythology. Or a poem. But no matter the past, because its gone from our grasp. Not so fast… where to go from here? Now?
With the soft-launch of the Patreon page, the Estate, out of the way and as I pour more focus into my trilogy of short stories with NaNoWriMo in progress, I feel that I am in new form. I’m trying to change habits and double down on what I love to do. Allocating time and forcing myself to put in the hours even if I don’t feel “inspired”. I’ve multiple outlets for my creativity so sometimes focus is fleeting.
Some site updates:
-The inner workings of the site have been cleaned up, there were a few unused pages that needed deleted.
-The main menu now includes the “Collaborations” page with links to each of the collaborative myself or Neuron Dreamtime have contributed to.
-Site is connected to Google Analytics, so I’m just now learning this, it’s a little overwhelming. It’s something I should have done a while ago.
In moving forward, I plan to start a mailing list as an author in the future once the book is closer to being finished. I should probably do the same for ND sometime soon. Just trying to grow the audience with inter-connective art and gain those “1000 true fans”.
All of this as I try to zero in on what works for a small multimedia art business and what doesn’t. For a few months now I’ve been regularly tuning into and exploring the backlog of the podcast “The Creative Penn with Joanna Penn”. Her show about being an indie author and the journeys of independent publishing and story writing and creativity is absolutely what I was looking for when I went searching for podcast with information rich content and a motivational push. She has suggested amazing non-fiction for motivation and talks proper establishment of brand and goes in depth into the marketing behind the movement as an independent. I cannot praise her enough in helping to light the fire under my ass that will light my way into the future, the fire I so desperately wish to ignite. Not to be famous, but to come into one’s own, so to speak.
My hope is that those reading this, and that follow what I do, are at least somewhat inspire to pursue the things that bring them joy and explore the possibilities. Everyone is a conduit of creativity.
“As the gates open to a roundabout encircling a great fountain, strange songs can be heard from an indiscernible location. The skeletal forms of the architecture appear bare but are interestingly not. The deeper you look into it you begin to recognize fractal forms engaged in a subtle tachykinesic movement. Every surface appears to be alive.”
It’s spent months in the making and incubation but now it’s at a mature enough state to be open to the public. The subscription is based on per creation, or “Exhibit” (i.e. a paid post). I went with that method instead of a monthly subscription because I doubt my ability to keep up with my own expectations. This way I can *attempt* to get a monthly schedule going to the point I feel confident enough to switch the method to recurring monthly subscription. Patreon is still relatively new to me and it will take some time to learn the ropes in building a community of supporters.
When creating art, even with an established plan, I lose myself in the possibilities and struggle with self doubt. When I look at a blank canvas I see the infinite. Miraculously, once an idea is set upon, infinity splinters into a new infinity. The painting, or the song, or the story can go in any direction. But as time is traveled and space is identified, what becomes is a cross section of many infinities, captured or frozen in time. That’s the fun part and what I revel in. And where I get lost. But I eventually find my way back. Decisions are made. Paint is brushed, notes are played and words are written.
Self-doubt craters the path to fulfillment. Puddles of uncertainty splash amidst the trudging trajectory of creative pursuit. With talent and potential set aside, the fuel to push it further requires tenacity and forgiveness.
I’ve made certain changes in my relationship with my day(night)-job. It was a decision made with many aspects in mind. In these strange and exciting times I find myself drawn to, more than ever, the art of story telling and the discipline of self sufficiency. My personal story is at a crossroads of doing what is beckoning within my mind and heart and working within the confines of what has been decided by society of generations past.
Some projects stir the urge to show and share, to those that find it worth seeing, the how’s and why’s of technique and experiment. Additionally, some end results and final pieces can be achieved and realized from a level of community driven development.
In negotiation for a more flexible schedule I had to take a cut in my hourly wage. Capitalistic resurgence of time wasting in my duties and the climate of global health have enticed the creative, freelance side of me into action. Alas, to maybe make a small amount of supplemental income, I have signed up with Patreon. And in parallel, I have begun writing, seriously, my first short story. It is here that I wonder and fear what is next. Should I attempt mainstream publishing? An independent approach in crowdfunding and distribution? What hurdles await me in the world of writing other than the actual act of writing and all the editing that comes with it? I feel like I should approach it just like an independent Neuron Dreamtime release and take the brunt of the work needed. The Patreon project will not consist of one genre or even one medium. It will be a plethora of things in the long run but at the start it will seem mediocre. You gotta aim for the stars to get to the moon.
Blueprints are being drafted for a new phase of construction. A step into the realm of crowdfunding and subscription based content. Walls will be erected to house these oddities of the Dreamtime and the various media they animate.
To live a life of artistic pursuit and humble living is the wish I cast with every breath. I constantly remind myself that life is too short, the pursuit of money will not make you happy in the long run, and to follow your creative and curious heart is liberty. We take for granted every minute of every hour of every day. I am taking ownership of my life and bringing with it something to share with the world. I offer myself, who I am, to those who aim to reach something similar in these circumstances, something better, if even for a moment. I’ve always seen what I do as hobby(s) when I’ve wanted them to be so much more. I am not looking for fame. I am looking at the act of creating as my purpose.
So the Habitue Hypothesis is this: if I find it within myself, to approach my hobbies as a job, and the content finds an audience, I should be able to kick myself into high-gear and make some amount of supplemental income via supporters and collaborators. All the while, hopefully, fostering a sense of community within my audience.
As I mentioned earlier I have become extremely interested in storytelling and writing. I feel like it’s a common thread in that with each ND album I loved building the thing as a whole. The art. The words. All of it. And even in painting, there is a story somewhere. Anyway, this story I am working on is one inspired by Romero films and books like The Road. The collapse of society as we know it, brought about by this hideous plague. But, of course, I’m trying to bring my own flavor and formula to the table. I’ve had the blessing of honest and true friends who have helped me through the process, who have helped me battle my own self-doubt. I am eager to share what’s in store. More on that to come.
I would love to make a living via excreting my soul into creative projects. But alas, I tell myself to remain “realistic”, to not hold high expectations, to take it one step at a time. The current state of world health and economic hardships that many people are facing right now make it hard for me to ask for any kind of help, especially financial.
The Patreon page is not active yet but will be in the coming weeks, maybe days, after ironing out some roughness and trimming some fat. In this process I hope to establish a cohesive vision that will appeal to others and be an enjoyable experience.
I feel there is nothing to lose in attempting this prospective endeavor. Starting small with just one tier available at launch (three more are already blueprinted) but it will definitely grow as I settle in to the new grind and get a feel for the land upon which we will build as a community. At the worst, if it fails, I’ll be where I am at. And that’s fine too, I guess. Doesn’t mean I won’t try again.
TL;DR – I have a Patreon page dropping soon. Send me money to support my dreams and I’ll do my best to inspire and collaborate. Also, I am writing a horror story. More to come, as always.
With a pandemic on our collective and hopefully frequently washed hands, a statewide stay at home order still in effect, and my place of employment basically shutdown since three weeks ago till about the end of April means I’m in the middle of a surprise vacation that’s been dropped in my lap. All this new found time to catch up, spring clean, raise chickens and reflect. A lot of artists are using social media to provide escape for themselves and others and it really makes me realize how underutilized this site has been. It’s honestly no surprise as even the social media spectrum is underutilized but here I have a unique domain name, a haven for my music and a blog for words to convey thoughts and yet very little engagement from myself outside of album release time.
So here I sit writing this new blog post. A post I must’ve written and rewritten over a dozen times, over the span of several months for periods of maybe an hour at a time. Each draft always a little different from the last. Unpublished because either it ended up not being good enough, or I never finished it because I hit a wall then took a break and then my whole mood and perspective had undergone change in comparison to what was written. Each version with it’s own incubation period between being conceived and being updated to a new paradigm only to be saved-as-draft until the next full moon. Rinse, repeat. This is actually very reflective of the creation of the music at times as well. Anyway, I feel the need to switch up that habit and be more punctual creatively, so here I am. Again.
Now, as we joke about the end of the world and this startling start to the new Roaring Twenties, we cope with the fragility of it all and the inequality that perpetuates breakdowns within that which stands as the doctrine of being human. This won’t end us all. Life will go on. But so will business. And so will politics. Remember then, those who were there for you and how you were treated when things looked dire. Remember received bailouts and who received no help. Remember which jobs were essential and which were not and remember that we all deserve to eat, to be healthy and to spend time with family and friends and ourselves. To live life to our fullest in liberty and pursuit of happiness. Normal is flux but we should always try to make it better.
Knuckle-deep now, let’s talk music. Haven’t touched a DAW with intent to create a new album or anything like that but I have revisited a few things that were shelved years ago. One of which I am happy to have polished up and finalized in conjunction with this blog post. This is another Nobou Uematsu Final Fantasy cover/remix/midi-hack that I started sometime after uploading the other 3 to Soundcloud (song located below or click HERE to listen to all four). The FF7 Remake just dropped so it’s the perfect time to get this out there. These are like exercises to me, a type of practice that includes countless hours of the artists mantra, “Is it finished or am I?”. Hope it is enjoyed as much as the others. Moving on.
Next, in art news. Lots of new sights to behold. Much of which has or is coming to social media and this site soon. In tandem, much of which has led to the study of Patreon and how it works and whether or not it’s something people (you reading this) would be interested in let alone if I could pull it of logistically. My outlets for creativity and content vary so much sometimes that I have a hard time choosing which project I should follow through with. I also run out of motivation due to creative blocks or bouts of indecision so I’ll start something new or work on a back-burner. Maybe I’m just overthinking and underestimating my own abilities at this point. It is something I tend to do. The mind trying to catch itself, to hold down a moment to make the best possible “next move”. And I think something like Patreon could help me become more consistent with time management and with the help of a community that wishes to be part of the journey I can see there being options to curb the indecisiveness while allowing outside input and perspective.
Indecisiveness for the sake of perfect hinders the flow and burdens the conscious. Contemplating the perfect piece or the perfect detail stops any of it from truly becoming what it could be. I used to think that I had to wait for the creative inspiration to come like a gust of wind to invigorate my senses. Which does indeed happen from time to time but that’s not enough nor is it the only way. There also exists a dance of warmup, jump in, get discouraged, jump in again, maybe get discouraged again and if so jump in again, find the flow, follow it, eventually you don’t want to stop but you gotta sleep. Save, quit, sleep. Repeat.
Also if you are taking the time to read this, thank you. I’ve always wanted to add writing to my creative outlets but its one I feel maybe I’m weakest at probably because of lack of practice. It’s got less to do with a lack of vocabulary or grammar or those kinds of literary tool-sets (It goes without saying I’m sure I’ve got a lot to learn in those ares too) and more to do with arrangement or composition best befitted for comprehension. With this blog I want to be honest but maybe cryptic at times, reflective and maybe with some humorous pseudo-intellectual philosophical poetic pretentiousness without being too hard to follow. Life is absurd, so am I. When it comes to stories I’m a science fiction and cosmic horror fan so that’s the kind of flavor I want to imbued my writing with. I like to make shit up, obviously. So once and when I get these queries and ideas off notepads and into form I’ll have another blog post outlining the Patreon Plan, what to expect and how you can help. Along with all the other dreams of course, time and attention is all it takes. Thank you for yours.
Sincerely, a creator with a lump of ideas in a temporary slump.
Thirteen Palm Trees Podcast Productions have released the schedule for the next few episodes of the Wasted Local Talent podcast including the Neuron Dreamtime episode and seeing that it has been the customary length of time between posts here on the mother site, I’m back again with another peek into the labyrinthine Dreamtime neural network.
So mark your calendars, or don’t, I’ll remind you, November 29th is the day you’ll hear wise cracks, pop culture references, and may even notice how awkward I am during interviews. What I mean is that I’ve always been on the introvert side of the spectrum and the shyness tends to increase once the red record button is pressed. This sometimes results in bouts of internal panic causing me to forget what I want to say, get all mixed up and repeat things, say something dumb or downplay something. I will often let others steer the conversation and on some occasions I’ll clam up almost completely into a spiral of self imposed embarrassment. Of course this is not always the case for every situation as it’s different with people I know well or see often. I’m always looking for ways to change this about myself like doing interviews, taking on a more person-to-person responsibility at the money-job, and working myself up to do open mic standup.
So to prepare for the interview I assumed there would be a list of questions based on what was available online about myself and ND, so I thought about what standard interview questions would be; the origin, the influences, the tools, the philosophy, etc. I went so far as writing notes about ND and coming up with answers to anticipated questions. Upon meeting the hosts, when I said I was nervous, I was reassured that “it’s just a conversation” and to my surprise it turned out to be just that. But of course I was keenly aware that we were recording and instantly forgotten all the preparations I made.
Thankfully, Daniel and Jed were friendly and funny. Taking the pressure off of me by giving each other a hard time and cracking jokes in a way only friends can. I eventually felt very welcome in their studio, like I was a friend bonding over a shared sense of humor. In spite of my own anxieties, it didn’t feel like I was expected to act a certain way to fit their mold. It was our first time meeting each other and while I honestly don’t think they really looked too deeply into what ND has done or listened to many songs, I feel their intentions were genuine and well placed. They truly do wish to use their platform to help shed light on the talent out here in WV, no matter how popular or unknown. But because it may be too much to expect to familiarize themselves with ND when there is so much out there and relatively unknown to the point of near invisibility I can’t hold that against them. Alas, I am disappointed in myself for not being able to delve more into Neuron Dreamtime, into the origin, influences, tools and the philosophy.
Now it may just be a trait of being an artist but I usually find myself picking apart a piece of work. My own worst critic as the cliche goes. It’s the same when painting. Perfect is unreachable, unattainable but it’s also strangely imaginable. And I’m usually looking back on how things went and how they could have been better. An interview is something I’m not used to anyway. When making music or painting there is time to step away and collect oneself, even this blog post has taken me almost two weeks to write, to edit and reword as to better express myself. With an interview its limited and for the most part a one shot go with little editing. So I think back to all the missed opportunities to say more, to elaborate upon what ND is to me. Meanwhile there is always this site with its various pages and links for anyone wishing to peruse and discover what Neuron Dreamtime is. If anything, the podcast will bring a little more local traffic to this site and people can let the content speak for itself.
So as always, I tend to laugh at myself and accept that it’s just part of the human condition to be awkward. Life is so damn absurd sometimes you simply can’t take it seriously. You’ve got to stop and laugh often. Laughing and making people laugh is something I love to do as much as painting and recording sounds that resonate and express. I love to do these things and share them but there is usually hesitance on my part due to how I humbly view what I create, it’s not the greatest but it’s something. Maybe with clever editing the podcast will be coherent to me and I won’t sound so amateurish. Or maybe this is all just a case of me over thinking. It happens. In any case its sure to be entertainingly silly while doling out laughs.
I normally feel I don’t deserve any kind of spotlight other than the one I shine myself into my little corner upon the things I make. I just go at my own pace, do my own “thing” and I am aware that one persons “thing” can’t be appealing to everyone. I know this because I can see my minuscule, but totally inspiring, fan-base by way of statistics from this website, Facebook, Bandcamp, Youtube, and Soundcloud. I can see how many people read this, listen to what and click links. Honestly it surprised me that they accepted my application to be on the show. I almost didn’t seize the opportunity to apply in the first place because of my modesty surrounding ND. In some lights I feel it’s not worthy. It’s a testament to their willingness to help local talent be seen by bringing me on to inevitably bomb but be funny while doing it.
Self deprecating thoughts aside, I do feel that true success is relative and not measured by an objective abacus of wealth and influence. You set your goals, you achieve them, no matter how large or small they seem to other people. Find what gives your heart a beat, then dance to that beat. Then try to drown out your inner heckler.
These guys at Thirteen Palm Trees are just like that. They love doing what they’re doing no matter how odd it may be to others and they want to share their light with others. Overall it was a good experience, a positive one, for overcoming my shyness and stage fright and showed me that the podcast format is something I could get into and hope to do so in the future. Although I failed to elaborate on what ND is (sometimes even I don’t know) there is always this website and the future opportunities. I hope to be this eloquent next time I have the pleasure of sitting down, chatting and laughing with the crew at Wasted Local Talent about music, pop culture, and joking about Male pattern baldness and life.
Will visit again.
PS: You can find Thirteen Palm Trees and all their episodes on all major Podcast streaming providers. Below is the aforementioned schedule and be sure to check out their other podcasts: “Video Game Mythos”, “D&D, Kinda”, and “Gurus of Gaming”
When I began writing this the feeling was that of defeat. No matter how much I plan or prepare something will get in the way to let me know that the universe is impersonal, hostile and ultimately doesn’t care about the goals of a speck of dust. There are 1000 things I want to do and 1001 things I need to do. Sometimes its like I’m spinning so fast I’m about to shatter into a thousand pieces.
It’s been a rough few months, needless to say, no matter how well I thought I was prepared or how detailed the map laid out before me. This is life, thus is flux. Plans falling apart or postponed until further notice. Mechanical things failing. Roads disappearing and canyons appearing instead. Car dealers dealing. Missing friends. Mandatory overtime for months on end at the job that pays the bills. This sort of onslaught wasn’t necessarily a walk in the park, nor was it anything new, but as it turns out I am very good at hiding the struggle and trudging through.
I have always had trouble asking for help but never-the-less I am always grateful for the help offered by family, friends and neighbors. I am grateful to my loving wife for making me feel like a rockstar. Grateful to my family, parents and in-laws for their calming words of wisdom and support. I am grateful for every acknowledgement, kind word, and laugh shared by strangers, coworkers and the like.
I know that things could always be worse and that compared to most things going on in the world I have it made in the shade with lemonade and I’m able to promenade. So then I get bummed that I feel bad about my situations while so many others have it far worse. Depression is a tough gremlin to shake sometimes once it has latched on and everything seems to be stacked against. Just gotta persevere onward and adjust to new variables. The map is not the territory and the territory is in a constant state of flux.
So now, as I finish writing this, months later, for my partially neglected website, the variables have indeed changed again. Bought a fresher ride, with some hiccups. The driveway is now traversable, but not perfect. Overtime is ending and I am highly recommended for a promotion at work, just gotta update and apply my resume. The once postponed Wasted Local Talent podcast interview happens in just a couple days but I’m still nervous. And there are a couple opportunities opening up for things I’ve never done but want to do. One is to bring Neuron Dreamtime live in a collaborative freeform manner and the other is for me to address my love for comedy during an open mic night.
Hope to have more positive stuff to write about in another month or two but until then, flux this and carry on.
Here’s an ambient improvisation from a couple weeks ago.
As is tradition, the beats of life rhythmically provide waves of disorder and wrench throwing. As much as one may try to stave off any unwanted obstacles, ultimately it seems it’s up to the infinite myriad of interconnected points of reality and the cosmos to kick sand into plans. In the occurrence of such an inevitable consequence of life the traveler of time must endure and adapt. Perseverance in the face of doubt fetches experience useful for simplifying the data into manageable chunks. Problems are all around us but so are the solutions.
As we calibrate centers to the ever changing tomorrow-now celebrate the steps of yester-now alongside artists entombed by their work. Reality bends to the will. Absurdity walks hand-in-hand with life.