Posts tagged ‘musician’


To make money, bad sole reason for creativity.

Someone recently asked me what I do.  And after thinking for a few seconds I replied “I’m a writer, and newly minted webcomic artist, but really I want to be a kind of multi-discipline artist.” After I explained what I meant by that, and that it wasn’t a reference to my predilection for leather whips, and steel chains, they asked my least favorite question ever.


This was followed seconds later by another one I don’t like.

“How’ll you make a living at that?”

Okay quick explanation is probably in order. I love writing, I write this blog mostly just for fun, and as a way to improve my writing by sheer practice. But writing isn’t enough for me. I want to draw, I want to make films, I want to play music, I want to write music, sculpt, design things, make things. But I want to do all of those things well. Not just half-ass them. I want to take time to master them all, one by one.

Why do I want to do all of those things?

Because I love to create. More than that, did you notice anything about all of those art-forms? Like maybe the fact that they can all be used to tell stories? That’s what I love most, I love to tell a story. I love to sweep someone up, show them somewhere else, and then put them back down with a smile on their faces. I wrote my first novel for my own pleasure, but it let me discover the sheer joy of seeing other people enjoying something I created.

I didn’t do it to make money. Though Goddesses willing someday it might just let me afford a really, really good cup of coffee.

That’s the thing. I honestly believe that doing anything just to make money is a bad idea. You work in a shitty, entry-level job with no promotion prospects to make money. But you should never do something you love purely to make money. Making money from something you love is always the dream, but more often than not you’ll do something you hate, for the funds to be able to do that thing you love. So making money from my art would be a bonus. The second layer of icing on a cake that’s already delicious, and moist, with a thick layer of icing already in place.

“How’ll you make a living at that?”

I don’t know. I honestly don’t. I have a few inklings of ideas. But nothing that can become reality unless people actually like what I do, get joy from what I do, have thoughts, and ideas of their own triggered by my creations.

So whether I “make it” or not. (Gods I hate that phrase) I’ll keep storytelling because it’s what I love to do. And who knows someday those stories might pay the bills. But if they don’t, I’ll still have the happiness that comes with doing something I love.


A Creative Soul Needs a Little Help.

Last weekend it was brought to my attention that a certain musician was in need of assistance. That musician being the genre defying Dr. Carmilla. I will however let her explain what it’s all about herself.

Funding Campaign

In over a year of writing for this blog I have never posted with regard to anything like this. But I truly believe that this artist is that talented, and deserving of any help my readers can lend her.

(Please reblog this everyone, let’s help this brilliant musician achieve her dream.)


Do you know what it feels like to get something so right?

I am learning to play the ukulele. I’m sure you’ve gathered that by this previous post, and this one, oh and this one too. But what I’ve yet to speak about in my blog, is the fact, that while I am learning to play the ukulele I have virtually no musical background to speak of. I won’t say none, I did learn the tinwhistle for a year in primary school. But at the time I could never even vaguely comprehand standard musical notation, and so learned to play, to a reasonable standard, a very simple, even very limited instrument purely by ear.

Tuesday of this week past was an odd day. I spent much of it trying to script out a burlesque act, or at least what I think would make a fun one. While I did that I chatted with someone special online. But after everything else was finished I pulled out my ukulele, loaded up the .PDF’s of my sheet music, and started to practice.

I’ve developed a love for playing a certain style of renaissance music. It has very few strums, but instead uses a lot of multi-string plucks, and intricate finger style play. It gives the sound of the ukulele a wonderful harp-like quality. And I simply adore playing in that style. Though admittedly, I do usually play any style of music rather badly.

I’m not a natural musician. I do have fairly a decent sense of rhythm, and timing. But I still find reading standard notation extremely difficult. If you struck two notes I couldn’t tell you what either of them were. Often I’d even be hard pressed to tell you which one was higher or lower. But I’ve worked hard over the last few months, and while I still can’t read standard sheet music proficiently, I can understand enough to know how long a note should be held for. How intensely it should be played, and what tempo is required for a given segment. This added to the tabulation method of writing music, at the very least allows me some small chance of occasionally hitting the right notes, in the right order and in the right way.

So Tuesday I practiced for an hour or so. Worked my way through my scales, as well as the various pieces of music I play during each practice session to stretch out my left hand, and improve my accuracy. Then that done I then went on to the internet to see if I could find something new to try my hand at. After all, there’s only so many times you can play “Moon River”, “Scotland the Brave” or “Hall of the Mountain King” before your brains start to melt.

Well, after a little while I found a random piece of 17th century guitar music. Lot’s of double, and triple plucks, only a couple of strums, those nice and relatively simple. In short, ideal. Now before that day on finding a new piece of music, I’d almost always headed straight to YouTube to find out how it was supposed to sound. But Tuesday I decided to see if I could read through the mixture of notations a few times, and then play it cold. So that’s just what I did.

I picked up my ukulele, and for about two minutes Amanda simply vanished as a conscious being.

There’s a thing that happens when you type a lot. You reach a stage where you no longer think at all about where each of the keys are. You just think and type automatically. It took me years to reach that stage as a typist. But these days I can, and often do type like that. To me that feels like the words flow from my fingertips like a stream of water.

Playing that piece of music on Tuesday. Cold, having never heard it before, felt similar. I read the music, I plucked each note in turn, performed the strums with surprising ease. The fingers of my fret hand seemed to know how to position themselves just right. The fingers of my plucking hand felt like they were dancing over the strings. It all felt right. But I never once thought about what I was playing. I read written music on the screen, and audible music came from my hands. No thought, no consciousness involved.

When I’d finished the piece, and after I’d gotten over a really odd feeling of shock at it being finished, I went to YouTube.

It wasn’t a complex piece, and I imagine for any accomplished musician it would have been laughably easy to play, but to my utter delight I not only played it well, but very nearly perfectly. I held a couple of notes too long, things like that. But it was the first time since I picked up a ukulele that I felt I was actually moving to a realm where I can someday describe myself as a musician. Not just a player of an instrument, but an aspirant musician.

But the best part was how it felt. Touch typing like that feels like water flowing. But that feeling can’t compare to this. When you type, and screw up you hit the backspace, nothing is lost, it’s a natural thing to quickly repair the fault, and move on. When you pluck a musical note, that’s it. There’s no way to ever force that genie back into its bottle. So playing that well for once, using the full limits of my present musical skills, didn’t feel like anything that flows.

No, it felt like flying, and I want to feel it again.

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