So, um, yeah. June 29, I complete the finalization of the last musical, code named P/P.
And as I blogged about last time, I was worn out, used up, gutted, and unable to stand vertical. The project was that big. It took that much out of me.
And what do I need to do next? Rest. Take a Break. Recharge.
What do I actually do next?
Well…it’s been in the back of my mind, that I am perhaps a bit uncomfortable with not having more musicals planned, in my head, waiting to come out. When P/P got finished, we had 2, which is still quite an accomplishment, but…
So, what if we conduct an experiment? Take existing songs from the catalog (I have composed over 400. There’s plenty of material there to work with.)…and build a musical around it.
But this last one took the stuffing out of me. So, why not try for a one-act. Maybe 3 songs, and just 25 pages or so, and write TO whatever songs I chose – which are already composed?
I mention this to my writing parter, as an experiment, and which songs do we pick?
She came back with a novelty song, we had composed some time back.
And immediately inspiration kicks in. And I compose 2 new songs, to go with the 1 existing one.
My next segment of days off from the day job, and without prior planning or thinking it up, or anything at all—I write the damn musical. In its entirety. I went slow and would do a scene, then walk around and think and come back to it. And the thing just…was there.
I am AMAZED when that happens. The first new song, I could remember all week. And I’d go to the piano and just sing the living daylights out of it. It’s one of those that is super fun to sing and perform. Some songs are like that–they just soar out of your soul.
But, problem. I could not remember the music for the second new song.
When I compose at the piano, I have a procedure I have used for years. I write the lyrics on paper, and I sing and play into a cassette. Then you have to have some sort of cataloging system to be able to go back and find them. But this is a chronological thing.
If the time comes when I compose in a digital realm, and have to store these on a hard drive, I think I’d go mad. Yes, the work eventually ends up digitized. But my system works and I can’t deviate from it.
So, when I can’t remember the tune, that isn’t a problem, because I have an initial composing and notes in the cassette.
But it baffles me that I have these lyrics and I can’t remember the tune. So…finally I get to my days off again. I edit the manuscript. I need to record demos. I go to the cassette: which has NO MUSIC on it. I didn’t WRITE the music in the first place. Just the lyrics.
So, I compose music, which happened rather quickly and then that gels around in my head for a couple of days, and boom! I lay down demos. Boom, I finalize the manuscript. And…
BOOM! Another project is done.
17 days, start to finish.
This is #23.
23 plays in our catalog. Some I solo wrote. Some I co-wrote.
Why do I keep doing this?
Beacuse, of all the aspects of creativity in which I work: Playwrighting is the most open. There are so many opportunities to submit your work and places to be heard.
All the other aspects of creativity:
Screenwriting: damn hard to break into
Songwriting: the corporate controlled music business has taken the ‘soul’ of an artist out of the equation. They have killed anything “human” from the music, and it’s all about hook, groove, beats, vocal manipulation, etc
Try as I might, I can find no wedge to break in. Not to mention the fact that my music has soul. My music touches people. That is the opposite of what is happening in the current music environment.
Poetry: Yes, there are opportunities, but, really, if you are a poet, how much of a future can you build out of your art? I love poetry and love being a poet. But it isn’t a life that can sustain itself.
Filmmaking: This one is tough. Yes, there are tons of opportunities. If you make films, there are so many places to send them, share them, etc. But, at the present time of my life, I can’t seem to pull that off. I can’t seem to have a day job and make a film at the same time. When I make a film, it needs to be the ONLY thing I have going. And for now, that isn’t an option. But, there was a time, when I could not write a book and have a day job. If I was writing a book for however many months, I could not have split focus. Well, I built up the…whatever, and now I can have a day job. I can write on my days off. I can write on a day when I actually work day job, but on off duty hours. So, I agonize that I am not making films, enough. We do one, maybe two small projects a year. I just try not to drive myself crazy with the ‘waiting for the time to come’ when I can make more.
Acting: Acting is a passive business. As an actor, you do your best to build and hone your craft. But, ultimately, you are the one waiting for the phone to ring. Someone else makes a decision about whether to hire you or not. As an actor, I get 1 or 2 gigs a year. I enjoy it.
Photography: Fun to do. Amazing to work with. And there is a future in it. But I haven’t taken the time to invest in turning it into a profit. You only have so many hours in a day. And photography seems to be a creative hobby, rather than a full-focus opportunity.
Fiction novelist: So yeah, this is where I’ve had the most success. And it’s a solo gig, which means I can write on my own time without having to adjust to the time management needs of others. So, writing is where I seem to be spending the most of my creative time as of late. And I’ve been lucky, that people have found my books and the ebbs and flows are still working. But it’s really easy for things to go the opposite way: to put all the effort into a project, and it just sits there. You can’t make a person read a book. They have to want to.
So, to recharge the recharge? Here we are again. 17 days later, and I have poured my soul into a project, and what is left, but an empty shell?
And as difficult as it is to “get thru” that gutted phase of a project…
What is even more difficult? Not having a front burner.
I had thought about moving a video project to front burner.
But it’s 100* out. I can’t work outdoors (not since the heat stroke a few years back). I cna’t take the heat. Even by 9 am, it’s too hot to be outdoors, and to try to film? Yeah, we could film indoors, but lighting sucks, and we don’t exactly have a studio set up as we need. And my garage and my parter’s shed, both of which we have used for filming in the past, are not air conditioned. And I would really hate to subject other actors to working conditions that I, myself, cannot tolerate.
I don’t know that I have enough “umph” or whatever you call it to go to the recording studio. It, too, takes “insides” and mine are kinda jumbled and depleted at the moment.
Oh well, the next project will leap to the forefront.
In a way, the not knowing is rather amazing (and scary), but you never know where this journey will take you.
I am but a vessel, floating along on the shifting currents of the universe’s ocean tide.