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.
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.
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.
Two months later I find myself struggling to promote the new album any further. The roadmap laid out up to the release served it’s purpose and I was able to execute it to the T with a punctuality never before seen from myself. But I was so focused on just getting it done, making the steps to the final destination, that I thought very little of what I’d do when I got there, other than a reminder FB post a few weeks or so later. This has always been the case with Dreamtime’s post-release promotion. But I feel, now more than before, that this project I’ve spent so much time on is worthy of the follow up support I’ve neglected to provide. Neglected for reasons as simple as focus shifts to painting, reading, making a paycheck, and generally living life.
It’s an ocean of media, entertainment, music and film out there and I’m trying to build a floating island of my own. A place in the clouds that people may stumble upon and maybe find something they like, that enhances their lives in the way that art does. Or if it’s not their cup of tea then maybe, at least, they recognize the DIY ethic and be inspired to follow their own visions and dreams as well.
So what is next? Promotion of course, starting with this very blog then leading into paid promotion on social media and local promotion via podcasts and correspondence with others, regardless of genre.
There is always something creatively cooking up in my head and sometimes it’s hard to make it out of my head with the idea(s) in tow but when it is achieved and the physicality begins to take shape I pour my heart into it. It can be exhausting but it’s always worth it. This bout of post-release promotion will be no different.
Shown above is the CDBaby store copy of the album with the art that will accompany all digital copies. The image is from an old drum head I painted years ago (seen in background) as it was hanging in the studio window, back-lit, making for nice textures while bringing out all the layers of color.
The variant packages were painted using the same method on 22×28 inch poster board that was then cut, folded and glued, by hand, to form one 10×10 inch gate-fold style case while the remaining “scrap” pieces made covers for a keep case and a jewel case. These packages are limited as follows:
• 4 variants of jewel-case categorized as “Tourist”
• 4 variants of keep-case categorized as “Explorer”
• 4 variants of gate-fold categorized “Cartographer”
Each of the 12 variant packages will only be available as merch through our Bandcamp on March 2nd.
After a series of DIY vehicle tune-ups, Halloween celebrations, multiple overtime weeks at work, an art exhibition, and just recently a cabin getaway with the love of my life, the energies now feel right to roll up my sleeves and finalize the album. I had envisioned a late September release but as mentioned above, life is a roller coaster and sometimes you have to relinquish control and throw your hands up to just ride the ride, embracing the twists and turns as they arrive.
With calmer happenings focus can be forged while being careful not to inspire poor posture or aggravate the carpel tunnel by clickity-clicking everything into place as the music is now 100% complete. But considering the clusterfuck holidays known as Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner I am now thinking of a New Years debut as highly probable. I am, however, still undecided on the Kickstarter project to back the album, if it seems I can squeeze the crafting of backer packages into the schedule then that’ll be great.
Alongside new ND material there is new Robot 7 material coalescing as collaborative talks and temporal sketches emerge. Coincidentally, DJ Mac’s Post-Alternative Visions compilation #4 is just around the corner with returning contributors and new. The ND track chosen for our submission is unique to our catalogue as an unreleased post-punk-rock inspired tune I hope will find a home among others. The compilation is due for a mid-December release.
Till next time here, into the shadows I crawl back again.
It thrills me to have the domain back with projects underway after a lengthy hiatus. Today is Neuron Dreamtime’s official 10 year anniversary with the release of IAMOM back in 2007. Since then the number of manifestations has reached 150+ tracks in the form of full releases, EP’s, and singles, equating to over 9 and a half hours of music and music like noises.
Since MirrorMirror I’ve spent most of this hiatus removed from any/all music in-progress but about once or twice a year I have a sit down between two coils of copper and listen to whatever new music we’ve shelved into digital incubation as well as any amount of the back catalog to make notes and daydream. This is occasionally accompanied by a feeble attempt to write a witty blog or FB post that resembles an update trying to communicate, to an extent, some amount of insight into the madness we call our musical process and the current state of our journey. This is obviously one of those attempts.
However, during the past couple months I’ve been rekindling the hibernating files and notes toward a final destination. The new album entitled The Map Is Not The Territory is scheduled for a fall debut with the high likelihood of a small Kickstarter campaign for CD duplication leading up to release. With or without crowdfunding, it will be coming to the Bandcamp catalogue as well.
On a closing note, I found it poetic that the last post was drought themed as there was a drought both environmentally and metaphorically when it was posted. As of today this has been one of the nicest, rainiest spring/summer seasons of recent memory and creative endeavors seem destined to fructify.
Head on over to Kickstarter and give these boys some love. They have always been very supportive of everything Dreamtime related. Support to them is support to me and you in the form of culture and art!