15 January, 2005

I never do any good trying to write a journal entry on a Saturday night. They always wind-up sounding terrible, and I try really hard to replace them as soon as possible. Well, this isn't going to stop me from trying to write an entry tonight. It has been—what?—two weeks since the last entry, and I've really been feeling the need to put something down. I was really on a role in December. I got a whole gaggle of entries written. Don't know how that happened but it did. So here we are in January and I haven't done crap. I've just been staring at that blank 2005 journal page, and I've just been dying to fill in an entry for January. It's just this need I have of wanting to keep the website updated. For some strange reason keeping the comic going and updated never seems to be enough of a continuing thing. Don't know why. Oh, well, I shouldn't fuss.

The most disturbing thing that happened today was I went to the local library and saw that the vast majority of their science fiction and fantasy books were in the young adult section. I haven't been to the library in years. In fact, I haven't had a library card since I was a teenager, and I don't think I ever actually used it. Well, I had been meaning recently to get one so that I could maybe check books out to read instead of having to buy them, and Samantha teased me quite a bit when she discovered that I did not have a card. So not that long ago when I went to meet her after she was done volunteering at the main library downtown, I got a library card.

This afternoon was the first real chance I had to go to the local library and see what I could see. Finding Le Guin, Clarke, Asimov and even that dumb David Eddings guy in the young adult section of the library really almost made me sick. I'm not even sure if I can explain it. It's not as if I don't want young people to read these books. In fact, I think it is a really good idea; although, some of those books do have naughty bits, and it is only a matter of time before some stupid idiot decides that the poor defenseless children need to be protected from those bits.

I could just imagine somebody finding a copy of The Faire Folk of Gideon in the young adult section after it finally makes its way into a real paper and ink edition. Oh, yeah, that'll be quite the sight to see. "Hey," the dumb as dog poo shmuck will say, "this book has got blood, swearing and violence in it! It's even got bestiality! What's this book doing in the young adult's section? It's got grown men humping slinky female cat women up the ass in it!"

And that is not even my problem with finding The Dispossessed in the young adult's section. What bothers me is the thought that these books must be for young adults. They must be for kids. They've obviously got no business being in the adult's section of the library. Why no self-respecting adult would be caught dead reading one of those young adult science fiction books. Science fiction and fantasy and using your imagination while reading are things that kids should be doing. Grown up type people have got no business with fantasy and imagination or any of that rot. It isn't for us. Let those kids enjoy it while they can because when they grow up there'll be no place in their lives for that fantasy and crap. They'll have to grow up, learn some responsibility, and leave all that using their imagination stuff in the dust.

All of which is pretty much what I was thinking as I was wandering around that library. Not that I could explain any of this to Samantha. She just looked at me like I was crazy and repeated the whole argument I had already told myself above that there is nothing wrong with these books being in the young adult's section. Somebody should be reading them, and it might as well be the young adults.

Oh, well. As irrational as it all may seem to any and all random people who just might through some strange little twisted bit of fate actually be reading these particular insane ramblings of mine, it still bothers me that the books were only in the young adult section. Copies should be in the adult section, too, damnit.

But enough with the idiotic ramblings. If Samantha were reading this over my shoulder, I'm quite sure that she would just roll her eyes, and I am equally confident that any and all random people who just might be reading this are doing exactly the same thing so just ignore me.

I haven't done much, but I have in fact started work on the next episode of String Finger Theatre. Yeah, it is going. I've got about five comics done, and I would say that I am just about equal parts excited and scared of what is going on. Hard to explain. Really don't know if I can describe.

This new episode isn't like the third dimension episodes. It is a lot more like episode two than episodes one or four. It isn't even that much like episode three; even though, there is a bit of a resemblance there. It doesn't fly like those other episodes. It's cute. They're standing around. Basically nothing is happening. The good news is that I know how this turkey is going to end. In fact, I got pretty excited when I was describing the ending to Samantha because it is really stupid and insane. It is along the lines of going to the pet store to get a hedgehog idiotic. Samantha just looked at me and said that the ending didn't make any sense to which I answered that this is what made it so funny. To me. What makes it funny to me. And the important thing to remember here is that the point of String Finger Theatre is to entertain me. This is being done quite deliberately for an audience of one. Me. It is quite egomaniacally for me and all about me. In fact, what are you doing reading String Finger Theatre? Fuck off already!

So, this isn't engraved in stone or anything like that but episode five is going to be called Rumplestiltskin in Love. Yeah, I know. It is really kind of an out-of-left-field title. It only sort-of vaguely has anything to do with the plot, but I don't care. It's a pretty good title, I just so happen to think thank you very much. Oh, and as long as I'm throwing random titles around, the episode after that is probably going to be called Industrial Strength Art, but we'll see how that goes.

The only thing I've managed to do in the music arena in the last couple of weeks is to get really fucking mad at my piano and at my pencil and at my music paper. No, seriously, I just wanted to take the stack of music books—mostly Shubert and Bartok—I had next to my piano and just throw them all the fuck around the apartment. Yeah, just really raving psycho mad. It's a good thing that Samantha was at work that night. I probably would have just scarred the piss out of her. I remember once a month or two ago I just started hammering on the piano keyboard, which I actually tend to do quite a bit when I'm composing music, and she thought something was wrong. I couldn't get her to understand that raving at the piano was pretty much my standard operating procedure while writing music, and she just kept telling me to stop. She thought I was going to break the piano, and I couldn't convince her that I knew from long years of experience that the piano could take quite a bit more than I was dishing out.

It is an interesting thing to note that music is the only oddity that can get my really worked up like that.

Anyway, this particular time I was getting really good and frustrated because I was stuck on one stupid experimental piece of shit remember how to do this fuck piece. I shouldn't get so caught up in one particular exercise or other. I know I shouldn't. They are just remembrance exercises. They aren't supposed to mean anything, and I was torn between the feeling that I should simply let it go and move on and the feeling that I shouldn't let it best me. As dumb as it was and as pointless as the exercise was, I knew I shouldn't hide from it. I knew that I needed to work through it or be forever turning away from moments in music that were the equivalent of bashing my thick skull against a wall of three inch spikes.

So, I haven't decided what I'm going to do about this. I know I should just let it go and come back to it another time. There is nothing to be gained by sitting on this one thing. I also know that I cannot let this particular thing beat me. It just won't do. Now, that I've had a week or two to cool off I'm leaning more toward ignore this one particular piece of shit nothing piece and trying something different. I don't want to get trapped by any one piece of shit remembrance exercise.

In fact, I'm thinking about taking a completely different track altogether. I'm thinking that maybe instead of trying to write a bunch of short meaningless pieces of music I should do a whole bunch of stand-alone phrases. I should try this knowing that it is not even supposed to be the beginning of a piece but only a moment in time lost to anything other than what it is. I should do four bars or eight bars or whatever. I should do this kind harmony or that kind. I should use a fragment of melody. I shouldn't worry about anything that might come before or after. The whole point is just to write a phrase.

After I've done a few of those, I should work up to two phrases or maybe even half of a really short piece. The thing to remember here is what I am trying to do. I am trying to get music back into my skin. I'm trying to get it under my fingers and toes. This stuff has lain long dormant. It has been really much longer than I had ever intended for it to go unspoken, and I need to remember. I need to resurrect the memory of sound so that I do not need to think about it.

I don't actually know if I'm on the right track. I'm sure there are lots of people who could tell me every single solitary little thing that I'm doing absolutely wrong here. You know what I say to that? Fuck it. Fuck you. Fuck off. This should come as very little of a surprise to anybody but back to the point.

This isn't about the right way. This isn't about the wrong way. This isn't about anybody's advice or suggestions. This is about me doing it without advice or suggestions or support or help because if I turn to other people for instruction about how to get back into this then I'll always be turning to them. I'll never be able to do this on my own. I'll always be turning. I'll always be looking. I'll always need somebody to kick me in the butt before I can croak out a note of music, and that is exactly what I do not want to happen.

So, we shall see how it goes. And any random people who take joy out of the absurdities and stupidities of others may look upon this journal and any that may follow on the subject and they may chortle in their own superiority. Go ahead. Chortle. I don't care. This isn't about you.

28 January, 2005

I suppose there has been stuff to write about in this here journal. I just haven't been in much of a mood to do it. Don't know why. Been working in strange fits of productivity and just being lazy or something. I wouldn't necessarily say lazy since stuff still happens even when there really isn't much to show for it. This is truly one of the most frustrating things about creative endeavors. It is really hard to describe just sitting around and thinking as actually doing anything useful. Nobody knows if you're thinking or just being lazy.

I'm really bad about it. I've got this pathological fixation on the result. If I don't have something tangible to show, I'm convinced I haven't done squat. This gets really bad with music as I think I've mentioned before. It's not enough to simply be working on music and maybe scribbling the random phrase or two. I've got to have finished product, and I've got to have it now. If I don't, then I'm obviously just screwing the breeze. Wasting my time. Nothing but a slacker.

Oh, well, I try not to worry about it. Still drives me nuts though. You would think I would learn.

Anyway, there has been progress. Not great big mountains of progress but progress. The next episode of String Finger Theatre is scrapping along. I think I'm suffering from a bit of unrealistic expectations there. Well, the writing of Revenge of the Third Dimension just flew along. It wasn't too uncommon of me to get a good half-dozen comics done in one night. Yeah, that sucker is long, isn't it? It was really starting to scare me. I was so excited when they finally banished Cube to the third dimension. I thought I was done. Now, look. Cube is banished as of last Wednesday and there are still something like ten comics to go before the conclusion.

I think this is part of the reason for the lack of a transition piece before the next episode kicks in. There was enough winding down and wandering around right there at the end of the revenge story.

Heh, it's kind of weird. I finished the writing of Revenge of the Third Dimension quite a few weeks ago, and we've still got weeks to go before the final comic is posted on the site. To me, the whole thing is past tense, and I talk about it like that; but, for any random person reading the comic, these things haven't happened yet.

So, here I am. Something like fifteen comics into the new storyline, and the old storyline still has ten to go. Strange.

Anyway, I think I'm scared to death of working on the next storyline, and I don't know why. It's got nothing to do with the story itself. I just—I don't know what it is—don't want to work on it or something. I approach it with great fear. Well, mostly with the fear that I haven't a fucking clue where this motherfucker is going and I'm going to find myself in great twists and convulsions just like the McGuffin story before I get to the end. Which is just damn silly because I've got a really good idea where this fucker is going. That isn't the problem. So I've got no idea why it's been so hard to sit down with it. In fact, I just sat down with my notebook the other night and wailed out like four whole comics. That was impressive. Up to this point I've barely been managing one at a session. Four? Cool. Now, I've just got to sit down and work.

This is also affecting the music side of things. On the one hand, we've got breakthrough and really what I've been meaning to crow about here for weeks. Don't know why I haven't managed to sit and write about it but I haven't. Doesn't make sense. Then—I don't know—it's almost like I'm afraid to sit at the piano. Really don't understand that one bit. But as I said, the same thing is happening with String Finger Theatre so I really have no clue what could be the source.

But, yeah, I broke whatever barrier I had with the music side of things. I gave up on my stupid uhm-pah-pah experiments. Never liked those anyway. It was just that an eight to sixteen bar dance is short and simple. Doesn't help that it was annoying the hell out of me. So like I said I was going to do, I decided to work on two to four measure little snippets. I also gave up on the Shubert/Chopin dance fixation and went with two measures that were a little more Clementi/Mozart sonatina.

Well, that was the trick. I had loads of fun scribbling my pathetic little four measure pieces of non-sense. The fragment was just a lot more cheerful and upbeat and maybe that was just what my diseased little brain needed. Enough of the pathetic farting dance things. Give me a spritely little race. I mean, sure, the fragment just really sucks. It is pathetic. It is awful, but it sure was fun. Did I saw that already? Well, I don't care. I enjoyed the scribbling.

So, I've done three or four of those sessions. They were all pointless little monkeys that will never be touched by a pianist's fingertips, but there they are. Pointless little monkeys. And, the best part. It's got me thinking music. It's got me wanting to do more of gibbering little farts. I'm hearing snippets of pathetically simplistic music echoing in my head. Hey, this is cool.

Of course, I still don't understand why I'm scared to shitless dread of simply sitting down at the piano. Makes no goddamn sense. I practically had to force myself to sit at the piano the other night. Must have been going on 11 PM. I didn't want to do it. I simply did not want to sit there, but the thing of it was as soon as I was sitting there and started twiddling with the pencil. Touched a piano key or two. Soon as I did that I was loving it. I think I managed four measures of spritely bullcrap. The melody just sucked. I wrote it without consulting the piano, fitting it into the harmony, and realized that it was static. I thought about just letting it go since this really was only a pathetic little exercise, but I couldn't. I had to work it out, and I finally scribbled in a melody that wasn't quite so pointless and useless as what I had first committed to the paper.

So, yeah, it was cool. It was fun. Don't understand why it was so hard to just sit at the fucking thing. But, I guess I don't need to understand. These things happen in waves and passes. Sometimes everything is flowing like it is made of air. Like you're on fire. Other times? You might as well go read girlie magazines or something because nothing is going to work. Not a note. Not a word. Not a sound. Not a piece of smelly garbage.

But, the strangest part is that I'm still thinking this stuff. Well, not really the comic because I try not to think about that too much when I'm not working on it. The bastard runs on blind spontaneity and the knowledge that I know exactly where this turkey is going to land. So, yeah, not too much thought is going on in-between comic notebook sessions, but the music is sliding around behind my ears.

So, thoughts are being thought. Things are being considered. Music is percolating. Comics are drifting. Stories are—well, I'm really trying not to think about The Faire Folk of Gideon right now—keeping quite. I don't want to get distracted by another novel right now. It would be so easy to just set the music aside yet again, and I want to do something here.

Of course, then it will just drive me nuts that I don't have anything tangible to show for my actions but fuck it. What are you going to do? Relax or something.

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