Sunday, November 13, 2011

Out but not Down

Halvah taking advantage of a momentary break...

I am officially throwing in the towel for NaNoWriMo 2011, at least as far as hitting 50k is concerned.  If I had more free time, maybe I'd do some frenzied catching up, but I don't, and music is still taking priority. The fact that I feel great relief rather than guilt in letting go of this particular goal tells me it's the right thing to do.

I wrote a lot over the course of this year, pretty consistently, usually two or three pages a day.  I've proven to myself I can take a story and finish it without needing a contest as motivation, so I'm not too worried.  If this story is worth writing, it will be written.

Now getting ready for the type-in in a bit here!  Wouldn't miss that, even if I'm no longer a Typewriter Brigade member.

Also working on a set of polka tunes: Bill Sullivan's / Dennis Murphy's / Sean Ryan's.  Bill Sullivan is a decent chap, I'm in love with Sean Ryan, but Dennis Murphy is not my friend at the moment.  Maybe I'll record these (albeit in rather bland solo mandolin format) once I get them down.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Music 1, NaNoWriMo 0

Musical things I did this week: 
1. Went to two concerts: one jazz/swing, with Paul Anastasio, an excellent fiddler (he played with Asleep at the Wheel, and for Merle Haggard, among others), and also saw Randal Bays, who is a highly decent Irish fiddler and also a great guitarist, both fingerstyle and rhythm (he was the rhythm guitarist on Martin Hayes' first few albums, for those of you who know who Martin Hayes is...)  Both concerts were at a very small local venue, where you could really see what the musicians were doing.  Lots of fun!

2. Went to the local Irish session for the second time.  It's a somewhat humiliating experience in that I don't know the tunes yet, so everyone assumes I'm a rank beginner and treats me with the sort of condescending kindness reserved for beginning musicians in such situations.  They're all very nice--don't get me wrong--but it can be a blow to the ego.  Not that I'm advanced, but...I know I'm better than I seem to be.  I hate that feeling.  The other frustrating aspect is that the mandolin is *so* much quieter than a whole crowd of fiddles and whistles, so I can't hear myself at all.  Even on the tunes I do know, I have to more or less hope my fingers are going where they're supposed to, and I'm very reluctant to experiment with playing along on tunes I don't know well because I can't hear how wrong or right I am.

We shall see how this develops.  I'm determined to go regularly and really work on learning the music, no matter what, but I'm developing fiddle envy.  The concerts didn't help this.

3. Practiced "some whole bunch," as a younger sibling used to say, including visiting a friend so we could practice Emma's Waltz, which we're going to do as a duet at the open mic portion of a monthly jam we both attend.

And I'm working on chords (memorizing plus executing), a bit of theory (modes and scales, mostly), and trying to learn the Irish session tunes, one or two at a time.  It will be a long while before I've got even a fraction of them down well enough to play at full speed. :\  But you have to start somewhere.  I also foolishly picked up a pennywhistle this week, and have been goofing around with that.  Too fun!

NaNoWriMo stuff I did this week:
OK, so maybe it isn't quite a *zero* score.  I have about thirty letter-sized pages written as of this afternoon, which I'm hoping to transcribe over the next few days.  But even though the story is fun and the narrator interesting, I'm really struggling to stay focussed and motivated.  I had some time off this week due to the wisdom teeth yanking on Monday (which went fine, by the way), and hoped to get ahead of the game, but I figure I'm about a day behind instead (hopefully a bit less by later today).  Here's hoping the time change helps give me a boost over the next few days.  I've learned from past NaNoWriMos that morning writing time is the make-it-or-break-it element for me: I simply cannot just make up for it in the evening.  My mind doesn't work well at night.  At all.

Now, if you'll pardon me, I gotta go play "Cup of Tea" about eleventy billion more times.