shadesofmauve: (Garden)
The last two weeks have been the GOOD kind of crazy, which is much nicer than the bad kind. There's so much to talk about I hardly no where to start.

First, I found out the job I was hoping to apply for was reviewing candidates a week earlier than I expected. I'd given myself an assignment to boost my portfolio cred for this job (which deserves it's own separate post) and suddenly I had to finish it fast, on a day when I'd already committed to be somewhere else. 'Somewhere Else' was my friend's ranch, where I spent the afternoon playing pretty ponies. I took two mares from mudballs to shiny, and in the process I got to lead them around on strings, which is basically all eight year old me wanted in life. 

The next day I went for a bikeride. It was 28 miles, which used to be only middling for me and is now quite long. My legs and lungs were fine, but my back was horrible for the next two days. Apparently I lost all my core strength over my illness. "Do boring core exercises" has become a more urgent task on my list.

The back made driving up to and enjoying Fiddle Tunes more difficult, but I did it anyway. First time I've gone up in three years, and wow, I don't think I'd realized how much I missed it. It was made even better by the fact that friends of mine are now living three minutes from the fort, so I had a bed to sleep. It's also more time than I've spent with those friends since they stayed at my place for a week a few years back, so it was great to catch up. I played music with lots of people, chatted with even more, basked in the sun, sketched, and generally had a marvelous time. I could only stay up for two nights, but when I came back down I had the best 're-entry' into 'normal' society I could hope for -- I called my dad round-about Shelton and found out he and some of our musicker crowd who weren't at camp were just about to sit down to dinner downtown, so they saved me a seat and i joined them. The crack was so good, and I was so hyped to play more, that I invited everyone back to my place after dinner, so we had songs and tunes around the fire pit in the back yard (in between fireworks and the neighbor repeatedly mowing the same patch of lawn, because it was national explode things day).

Later that week I had overnight guests from France by way of Quebec, whom I'd never met (kids of friends of friends sorta thing, possibly with more layers than that). I had to get the guest room cleaned out for them, which is GREAT, because next week Erik's mom is coming to visit.  He's lived here over 14 years and this is the first time she's come out. It's also her first travel without his dad, and just a big deal all round.

This weekend I had a ton of energy and unexpectedly had my folks' extra vehicle while they were at the Oregon Country Fair, and I ended up getting a ton of stuff done on my house. Lots of little things that I've been meaning to do for ages but hadn't gotten around to:
  • Replaced 30" hall closet door that blocked almost the whole hallway with two french-opening doors from a bifold door kit with all the hardware removed. I had to chisel two new hinge mortises into the door frame, which was new for me.
  • Replaced the hall light, because as long as I was working on the hallway I might as well, and because the replacement was a fixture I took out of the laundry room and had stored for three years and I was tired of moving it from place to place.
  • Replaced the non-functional, noisy-when-functional, and incredibly ugly living room ceiling fan with a nicer looking, quieter, more powerful fan. Turns out the old fan was just wired waaaay too loosely -- one neutral was floating free in the box, and the wire nut pulled right off the hot leads. \o/ I'd never taken a look at 'fixing' it before because it was so dang noisy and had so little airflow that it wasn't worth it, but now all these problems are solved with the power of consumerism.
  • Since I spent all this time up near the ceiling, I also destroyed huge amounts of cobwebs. \o/

Just in case all that isn't ENOUGH, my friend Tom started work on my retaining wall out front, Anthony & Kiyoko joined us for dinner somewhere in there, and I got a phone interview for the job I applied for way back at the beginning of all this! The phone interview was this morning, and I think it went really well.

The world may be going to hell, but with some health-related exceptions, my small corner of it seems to be doing pretty dang well.

shadesofmauve: (Garden)
I had a job interview Tuesday, and took the rest of the week off. Wednesday I woke up to an 'assignment' in my inbox -- a presentation rebranding the department I'm applying to by 4 p.m. the next day.  So that changed up vacation a little bit. My current boss and coworkers know i'm applying elsewhere and are all really supportive, which is great -- and means that I know know they started contacting my references yesterday. Good sign, yeah? 

I'd hoped to devote the week to gardening and painting, but there was that application assignment... and errands... and the house was a mess and we had company for dinner Saturday... and, well, I ended up gardening and painting all Monday, so at least I got SOME time in! (I did a little painting before, but it was just the sketch for a new piece, and it doesn't feel like painting).

(Btw,  I worked out roughly how much yard I can clear of ivy and blackberries in a serious work session, and how big my lot is minus the house, and it looks like I could manage the whole thing if I just had fifty six days off. If I get this full-time job I applied for I'm hiring help).

Oh, and there was music too, because of course there was. A tune class Wednesday night and a really productive practice with E on Sunday. We moved one of my songs up a whole fourth, from A dorian to D dorian, which means I'm singing it entirely with my head voice. It feels super weird, but Erik says it's pretty and I recorded myself in both keys on my phone and I think he's right. (Besides, it'll let us medley the song with the tune we want, without having to transpose the tune). 

Now I'm back at the day job, crossing my fingers about the job I applied for, making progress on current project (more van art), and futzing with connecting my new(ish) portfolio site's blog to other services (Installed JetPack, connected things, really just need to write a new post to test it).

shadesofmauve: (Default)
Tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day, that wonderful time of year in which we celebrate players of traditional Irish music by giving them gainful employment while everyone else gets shitfaced.

Tomorrow is also the day I will be attempting the near impossible. Watch and be awed, ladies and gents, as yours truly attempts six, yes, I said SIX, hours of fiddling for your listening and viewing enjoyment!

We'll kick off with Tom Dulcimer, dad, and I at O'Blarney's in Lacey from 11 (ish) to 1 (ish), un-amped and quite possibly inaudible. Then for the main event and grand finale, Pinniped will play at the Little Creek Casino's Starlight Lounge from 6 to 10!

Having been some days in preparation a splendid time is guaranteed for all! (Henry the horse sadly not appearing).

In preparation for this stupendous feat, yesterday we played a house party (unamped) and managed a solid three and a half hours with energy to spare. The crowd was a known and friendly one -- we've played there the last two years -- and it was an excellent dry run. More than excellent, in fact -- yesterday was the first time when someone said "Where are your CDs?!" that I thought we really deserved it. A musician in the audience said "Last year you were fun, but this year you were tight."

So sit back and prepare to be astounded!

And if you don't hear from me by Tuesday evening, my arms have probably fallen off.
shadesofmauve: (baby)
It really worked out my sight-reading chops, which was particularly challenging since the dots tend to dance around on the page after about 8 p.m. And I ended up being the helper a few times, too, which I enjoy. I went over near the piano to read the music there, and the host's cute eight-year-old was doing one fingered chords. The guy who'd been helping her had gotten distracted by something else, and she gave me this look -- this 'they've abandoned me, I'm drowning and I'm to shy to ask for help' look -- and so I helped her find where she needed to be in the music... and then realized it was waaaay too much for her to try and actually follow, so I read the chords aloud for her while trying to sight read it and play it myself.

...I usually have trouble just talking and playing at the same time, so I'm rather proud of that despite doing a pretty crappy job.

When I went back to sit with E I got the Look a few more times -- after all, at that point I was the Adult who had come to the Rescue -- so I went over and, rather than attempt that mess again, just made my finger the bouncing ball.

On the other end of the age range, a friend of mine who's two weeks from retirement was really impressed by the third position stuff, so I marked up fingering on her sheet music and gave her an exercise to work on.

Yay! \o/
shadesofmauve: (Default)
Pinniped is going to play at the Little Creek Casino (in the lounge bit, not the giant real stage with lighting bit) on St. Patrick's day, for more money than we've ever played for before! Because booking agents are pretty cool! Now, the agent gets 15%, and we're probably going to pay someone to do sound, and we just pre-spent $250 on another nice monitor, so we'll each take home a pretty standard amount -- but we'll do it having invested in the band and (hopefully) had a much easier show. :D

Spurred by that, we had a really long, productive practice on Sunday. We're working on a bunch of new songs, and helping dad work up to his lead vocal debut. I got my first on-stage lead singing thing out of the way last year, and it was frankly horrible, as was the next time, and the time after that -- but each one improved a tiny, and I feel like I'm almost comfortable now. So I'm glad to see dad starting that process, even though I suspect the first few times will be a disaster, just like they were for me. :P

Before practice dad and I worked in the studio. I started air-sealing -- inserted foam cord all around the windows -- but it was too cold to use the caulk, so couldn't finish the job. Knocked out an electrical box that was too small and replaced it, cleaned up, etc -- all sorts of little things while dad went around and finished dressing out outlets, which is something that's almost impossible for me to do if my fingers are cold (I can do it just fine if it's not cold; I did all the ones inside the house). I did wire one of the switches, and I got down and pretended to be an electron* with my finger so I could be sure I understood how the switched outlet was wired.

Saturday night I bussed down to traditions (in the snow!) to see Randal Bays play, and had a lovely evening with Jesse, who happened to be there as well. I had lots of offers of rides home -- including from Randal, who's a sweetheart -- but since I live up a mini-mountain I called Erik to rescue me. Ex-Connecticut boy is far more comfortable driving in snow than most of the people here. That meant I was stuck hanging out at Traditions for awhile after everyone else had left, so I bussed other people's tables and helped Dick coil mic cables and such. It was kind of nice. Really a lovely evening all told -- good people and warm soup and cheer inside, pretty snow outside. We sat by the window so we could watch it.

I also wrote a lot this weekend, but since I ended up cutting most of it, I'm not sure where to count it on the 'productivity' meter. I am The Un Writer. :P

*Yes,  I know it doesn't really work that way with AC, but it was close enough, darn it. Leave me to be an electron in peace.
shadesofmauve: (Default)
Pinniped is going to play at the Little Creek Casino (in the lounge bit, not the giant real stage with lighting bit) on St. Patrick's day, for more money than we've ever played for before! Because booking agents are pretty cool! Now, the agent gets 15%, and we're probably going to pay someone to do sound, and we just pre-spent $250 on another nice monitor, so we'll each take home a pretty standard amount -- but we'll do it having invested in the band and (hopefully) had a much easier show. :D

Spurred by that, we had a really long, productive practice on Sunday. We're working on a bunch of new songs, and helping dad work up to his lead vocal debut. I got my first on-stage lead singing thing out of the way last year, and it was frankly horrible, as was the next time, and the time after that -- but each one improved a tiny, and I feel like I'm almost comfortable now. So I'm glad to see dad starting that process, even though I suspect the first few times will be a disaster, just like they were for me. :P

Before practice dad and I worked in the studio. I starteda air-sealing -- inserted foam cord all around the windows -- but it was too cold to use the caulk, so couldn't finish the job. Knocked out an electrical box that was too small and replaced it, cleaned up, etc -- all sorts of little things while dad went around and finished dressing out outlets, which is something that's almost impossible for me to do if my fingers are cold (I can do it just fine if it's not cold; I did all the ones inside the house). I did wire one of the switches, and I got down and pretended to be an electron* with my finger so I could be sure I understood how the switched outlet was wired.

Saturday night I bussed down to traditions (in the snow!) to see Randal Bays play, and had a lovely evening with Jesse, who happened to be there as well. I had lots of offers of rides home -- including from Randal, who's a sweetheart -- but since I live up a mini-mountain I called Erik to rescue me. Ex-Connecticut boy is far more comfortable driving in snow than most of the people here. That meant I was stuck hanging out at Traditions for awhile after everyone else had left, so I bussed other people's tables and helped Dick coil mic cables and such. It was kind of nice. Really a lovely evening all told -- good people and warm soup and cheer inside, pretty snow outside. We sat by the window so we could watch it.

I also wrote a lot this weekend, but since I ended up cutting most of it, I'm not sure where to count it on the 'productivity' meter. I am The Un Writer. :P

*Yes,  I know it doesn't really work that way with AC current, but it was close enough, darn it. Leave me to be an electron in peace.

shadesofmauve: (baby)

Fiction words written: 16,855. Edited and posted two chapters, wrote a third, and started poking at a new original thing. Only four days with no new words.

Music played: I have no idea because that part of the chart isn't working properly. *headdesk* But I averaged 50 minutes a day, and there were only six days I didn't play something. Vocal confidence significantly improved, managed a movable chord on my tenor, and... can still play fiddle. Yup. Seem to still have that. :P

Art time arted: (Same problem with the chart). Averaged 40 minutes a day, did something arty 20 out of 31 days. (In this case something arty means painting, drawing, or inking -- not design stuff I do at work or 'craft' things like panel prep and priming). Goal for next month is to get more regular with this, since it seems to be the one I have the most trouble with, and where I'm most scattered (I counted molding tiny D&D figures out of greenstuff, for instance, when my aim had been only 2D art. Oops?)

It is good.

February will be better. 

image

I am the zebra.

Now the zebra has to go get dressed and wire her art studio.

shadesofmauve: (Default)

Fiction words written: 16,855. Edited and posted two chapters, wrote a third, and started poking at a new original thing. Only four days with no new words.

Music played: I have no idea because that part of the chart isn't working properly. *headdesk* But I averaged 50 minutes a day, and there were only six days I didn't play something. Vocal confidence significantly improved, managed a movable chord on my tenor, and... can still play fiddle. Yup. Seem to still have that. :P

Art time arted: (Same problem with the chart). Averaged 40 minutes a day, did something arty 20 out of 31 days. (In this case something arty means painting, drawing, or inking -- not design stuff I do at work or 'craft' things like panel prep and priming). Goal for next month is to get more regular with this, since it seems to be the one I have the most trouble with, and where I'm most scattered (I counted molding tiny D&D figures out of greenstuff, for instance, when my aim had been only 2D art. Oops?)

It is good.

February will be better. 

image

I am the zebra.

Now the zebra has to go get dressed and wire her art studio.

shadesofmauve: (baby)
For a long time I regarded microphones and sound equipment as an annoying complication that I just didn't want to be bothered with. I suspect it comes from my all acoustic upbringing -- between years in orchestra and in sessions, I had no experience with mics, and damn it, I just want the instrument to sound like the instrument sounds!

Now that I've performed amplified quite a bit, and done my part of set-up and sound check,* a lot of things that slipped right out of my brain in audio class are starting to make more sense -- but I only started to become interested in mic-as-instrument in the last few days, because I bought and-am-probably-returning a vocal mic.

I have a fiddle mic, but that choice came down to the fact that I don't like pick-ups (except for very high end pick-up & mic combos) and I do like to move a lot when I perform. There are a lot more options for vocal mics, even under $175, and while I feel a little self-important obsessing over ~~mah vocaaaals~~ as an unsure beginner, I really need all the help I can get at this stage. :P

Saturday I bought an SM58, because that's what our other vocal mics are and they're a workhorse stand by. It's what I used in the market gig. This morning my teacher said she uses a shure beta 57, and liked it for 'darker voices like ours' (i.e., the ever-popular I Am Not A Soprano club).

Anyway, I'm going to see if music 6k will exchange the SM58, and hopefully they can do a comparison set-up, too.

If they can, these are what I want to try (if they have 'em):
- shure beta 57 and beta 58 (I know the grill is the only difference, but it does make a difference))
- audix OM-2 (might be better for guys' voices, per reviews, though?)
- sennheiser e835

Part of the interesting thing here is that I don't know what my voice wants. I know my fiddle, and so I know to look for strings described as warm, rich, or dark, because the instrument itself is very bright and brash. I don't have that level of analysis of my own voice, yet -- I can barely stand hearing myself recorded at all.

*We've had a sound guy once. It was GREAT. Other than that, we balance everyone in pairs and hope it works as a trio, basically.
shadesofmauve: (music)
Tomorrow I'm playing for one of the first dances of this year's Northwest Folklife Festival, the gigantic cultural shindig in Seattle that a friend of mine once called "The high holy days of our sect."

This is the FIRST year I'm 'officially' performing, instead of just busking, so it's the first year I officially get all the official perks instead of borrowing a friends badge and unofficially getting all the official perks.

I'm playing with my friend Jesse (whom I've been jamming with for ages) and old-pro guitarist Jay, who has more years than both of us put together and provies rock solid rhythm*. We've had a BLAST at rehearsals (All three of them, not counting the spur-of-the-moment 'ah, why not?' 2 hour one where we recorded the demo); it's gonna be GREAT. And we're only playing four contras and a waltz (A WALTZ WHICH I WROTE HOT DAMN), so it's not the endurance event playing for a 'real' contra dance is.

Anyway.

Anyway.

Things to pack. Things to do. Mend the tie-dye dress. Mend the tie-dye thigh-highs. Reassure tumblr that I do not, in fact, plan on wearing two clashing tie-dye articles at the same time, and that the dress is really very tasteful. (The thigh-highs are another matter, but who could possibly resist rainbow tie-dye thigh-high socks? NO ONE REASONABLE, THAT'S WHO).


*He can tell metronome numbers by watching his hand move while strumming. Dude's serious.
shadesofmauve: (baby)
On Friday Pinniped played at Kitzel's Crazy Delicious Delicatessen to an awesome ArtsWalk crowd. We didn't get people really going until the last couple of tunes, but we had people up and stomping and clapping to two sets at the end, one of which we hadn't performed before, so that was awesome! I'm especially thankful to the group of ladies who'd been holding up the wall most of the show; for the last few tunes they came right up front, even though it meant sitting in tiny kindergarten-size chairs, and having people up front really helped get the energy going.

[livejournal.com profile] westrider and Kiyoko and a friend of hers made it down in time for the concert, and a whole bunch of our music friends dropped by.

The space is high and echoey, so we probably should have taken the time to set up a monitor, but once we'd played a few tunes and corrected the sound it was great! At the last minute E's coworker volunteered her husband to run sound for us, and it was just fantastic to have someone else focus on that part so we could focus on playing. We may have to find a way to bribe him to come to our next show, because he was great.

Also, I now know to start with the fiddle mic at ~60% compared to everything else for decent balance. The sound-guy was actually impressed that I figured that out -- probably because he's not used to people asking for less of themselves in the mix. :P

After the show one of the brave kindergarten-chair ladies approached Erik about this producer she knew in Seattle who we should really get in touch with. I heard the tail-end of the conversation, and, sure enough, the producer in question is Hearth Music, the brain-child of my music acquaintances Devon and Dejah Leger. I told her I knew them and occasionally played music with 'em, and it turns out Kindergarten-Chair Lady is Dejah's aunt. Small world!

Before the show I spent quite a bit of time coming up with new graphic ideas for the PinniPage and business cards, which I should be able to finalize fairly quickly, so things are moving right along.
shadesofmauve: (baby)
My sweetheart just gave me the most amazing birthday gift.

He has a friend who has been learning to be a luthier for a few years, now -- and he's having that friend make me a custom tenor guitar.

I was floored. I still kind of am.

A tenor guitar is smaller bodied than most guitars and has only four strings, which are tuned in fifths to CGDA, like a viola or tenor banjo. Being tuned in fifths means that I don't have to relearn fingerings to play it. And it will be custom made by someone who loves building instruments, just for me. *dances* *squees*

GLEEEEE!
shadesofmauve: (Default)
Does this embed work? This is Pinniped playing our Canadian-to-the-Carribean set -- a trad quebecois tune, a Virgin Islands melody popularized by Sonny Rollins, and a more recent quebecois tune inspired by calypso.



(Thanks for the tip, [livejournal.com profile] solarbird!).
shadesofmauve: (Default)
It's bare bones at the moment, but you can now find us at pinnipedmusic.bandcamp.com, and hear two tracks that were recorded live last summer in booming Duvall, Washington.

Unfortunately LJ doesn't love the embedded player -- go check out the two tracks at band camp, then come back. I'll wait.
shadesofmauve: (Default)
We finally cleaned up a few audio files from a gig -- not studio recording quality by any means, but at least Pinniped can have SOMETHING online -- and I want to know the favorite service for hosting such things. Obviously I can just throw the MP3s up on my own host, but there are a bunch of other options out there that probably have easier integration with other web services, and I don't know about 'em.

Anyone enlighten me?

And yes, in case you've been one of the people asking, this DOES mean you'll be able to hear a few snippets of us in the near future!
shadesofmauve: (baby)
I had my first vocal lesson on Saturday!

The teacher stopped midway through a warm up and said. "Oh, this is going to be fun," which is amazingly encouraging and an awesome sign in a teacher. :)

Being something of a dork who absolutely hates thinking she might egotistically over-value her own skills, I seem to have under-rated myself... quite a bit. A lot of that is that I have so little vocal skill I don't know what's good or bad, but I even downplayed my sense of pitch, on the grounds that when trying to sing in unison (or an octave up) from E I wander. Cue vocal teacher saying "Well, your sense of pitch is great, and it should be -- you've been playing violin for almost twenty years!"

(I'm not sure if I mentioned before, but the person I'm taking lessons from is a jazz singer and violinist whom I've seen perform before. I saw her perform with someone I know a bit, and after the show he introduced us and had me play something on her violin*, so she's totally familiar with my skill level there).

Anyway. At some point the voice lesson (d)evolved into therapy. "So, WHY do you think your voice is bad? Did someone tell you that?" Etc. Finally I said "Well, not really about singing, but people always say I talk too much and I'm sometimes too loud..."

"Yes! You project and you're confident. It's fantastic. Just don't do it at the movies."

The rest of the lesson went between teaching my body to do new things, which is always interesting (Do I have conscious control of this muscle? What the hell is my throat doing? etc.) and wrestling with my contradictory vocal personality issues. Half the time I'm terrified of sounding** like a total dork, and the other half I'm a fairly confident person who doesn't CARE if she looks like a dork and is used to making herself heard.

(I've managed theater set design in high school, performed un-mic-ed in crowded pubs, and have an obnoxious little brother. I can be LOUD.)

My daily required practice is to go LALALA over and over. Luckily my housemate uses headphones to game.

*Technically, her violin is a 7/8s (a slightly shorter scale-length than a full size). She didn't warn me of that when I played it, and I adjusted my fingering to be in tune within a few bars. No wonder she didn't believe me when I said my pitch was off... :P

**I think this may actually be more complex than that. I'm not worried I sound like a dork. I'm worried that people will hear me sounding like a dork and think I think that I'm not a dork. Or something.
shadesofmauve: (baby)
I just realized that I made my Monday Music post without embedding any of the Carolina Chocolate Drops! See, I wrote out the post, and then went searching for good videos, and I got distracted listening to soooo many good CCD vids that I forgot to choose one. To make up for my appalling oversight, here are three!



That. Voice. *sigh*

Carolina Chocolate Drops and Luminescent Orchestri:


And the documentary version of same, which is pretty cool (though the guy over-splaining gives me sympathetic embarrassment):


And a much more unpolished old-timey feel:
shadesofmauve: (baby)
Title not intended to promise that this will be a recurring feature, merely that we need some way to get through Monday. Post for and inspired by [livejournal.com profile] evilsherbear and [livejournal.com profile] opalgirl.

The Carolina Chocolate Drops

I'm not nearly as familiar with southern fiddle styles (Old Timey, Bluegrass, etc) as northern (Irish, Quebecois, etc), but I <3 the Carolina Chocolate Drops. They go from traditional to farther afield with the same energy, fun, and grace. Also, Rhiannon Giddens, or at least her beautiful voice, were part of one of the most eerie auditory experiences I've ever had (other key elements ere geography and weather).

Liz Carroll
Liz Carroll is one of my all-time favorite fiddlers and tune-smiths, mad Irish tunes by way of Chicago. When people spring the "Who's your favorite fiddler?" question I usually answer Liz.



The video is a great accoustic set at Fiddle Tunes (I'm pretty sure I was at that concert) with John Doyle. John is not only a phenomenal accompanist,* but jaw-dropping solo guitarist. He also sings and plays fiddle (left handed), though I'm not sure there are any videos of the latter -- I've only seen it in a session.



De Temps Antan
Can't forget Quebecois! I was actually looking for instrumental clips, but the audio wasn't meeting my standards. De Temps Antan is Andre Brunet, Eric Beaudry, and Pierre-Luc Dupuis.

shadesofmauve: (Lert)
I don't feel like filling a year end meme, but if you care to read my meandering introspection, jump to the bold subject that interests you most (or bores you least).

Mass Effect Fandom has been one of the defining points of 2011, which is odd since I haven't been a part of any fandom for over a decade. I dove in because I was inspired/upset by a disability issue that hit me much more strongly than I expected. I've met some really cool people (hi, [livejournal.com profile] masseffect!), jump-started my flagging creativity, and gotten more involved in broader social-justice-in-media discussions in numerous venues.

It's also been one of the most disappointing parts of the year, since my particular issue... isn't fairing so well. It's strange to not actually share the excitement about the upcoming conclusion to the trilogy I'm a fan of. I'm still interested in seeing parts of it (especially side character development; I've always preferred character-driven fiction over plot-driven, so the fact that I care more about characters than the end of the world should be no surprise) but I'm not enthused. The story I care about isn't happening there anymore; it's happening in my head.

...and I've been writing the story in my head. I've learned that I CAN write that much, that people seem to like it, and that I can turn fiction into a vehicle for things I think are important without turning into an author rant. It feels like options opening up. Now, when I have an idea worth writing, "can I do this?" won't be the thing stopping me. I know I can, and I know roughly how.

By the time it's done it will have taken at least a year of consistent work. That will make it my most time-intensive creative project yet, claiming the record Quartet has held since 2005 (the four paintings of Quartet took about nine months).

I also think my writing has improved, though strangers are the better judge of that.

I've realized I'm a sucker for instant gratification feed-back. It works for me as a motivator. If I hadn't been posting fic chapter by chapter I'd have abandoned the story months ago. I suppose it's a weakness I should try to get over, but meta-gaming my own weaknesses seems to make for better results, so until I discover a secret trove of willpower, I'll just find ways to get feedback at regular intervals.

Creatively, it's been a good year. I haven't done nearly the things I want to do, but I'm moving again. I've let some old over-worked ideas lie fallow to focus on new things. Experiments are happening, ideas are fermenting in the compost pile of my brain. It's a promising feeling.

I've been trying to abandon the perfectionism that says something isn't worth working on unless it's going to be great. Fandom helps, as does the Creativity Challenge and the discussions around that (thanks, [livejournal.com profile] stasia), and all of you who give me that feedback I so adore -- which encourages me to let go of perfectionism long enough to post absolute crap on LJ, so that I can get crit, so I can keep motivated.

I know it's a battle I'll have to keep coming back to, but at least I'm fighting on the right side at the moment. I'm still working on the problem of making time for art when I feel like art is play and should come last. I may try a stricter 30-day type challenge sometime in 2012 to try to break that.

I played a lot of music this year, though it doesn't really feel like it. Pinniped continues to get better and try new things, at our own slow pace. I don't really feel any pressure for it to go faster, which is fine by me. As long as we're growing, I'm not worried about the kinds of gigs we are or aren't getting or how soon we can make a CD. I don't think I'm growing as a fiddler as fast as we're growing as a trio, but after almost twenty years of playing music, I'm okay with the fact that my enthusiasm for personal practice is cyclical.

I got more done on my yarden than I'd expected to (patio! Raised bed! Tree!), and less done on my studio. Most of the hold-up is due to indecision. I knew what I wanted for the yarden; I'm still perfection-paralyzed with making decisions about the studio. I've finished other, smaller house projects, though, and hopefully I'll make more progress on the big one now I've pinpointed the culprit.

On other fronts, year-end summaries don't seem productive. Work is work, family issues are family issues, my sweety is not really food for the blog (though I have to say, we've butted heads less this year than ever before, and he's been far more supportive of my random creative endeavors than I'd ever imagined -- I suppose since he's working on a full-fledged conlang for no particular reason, he's too geeky to throw stones). In 2012 I'll have a few more hours at work and therefore a bit more money, which is nice, but the only thing I really need to deal with on my end is that I've gotten absolutely awful about getting up early enough to get to work on time. THAT has to change to accommodate the new hours.

In short -- No life-changing events, but I'm not stagnating. I'm pretty sure I even leveled up in at least two areas (writing and wiring. Apparently I sort skills alphabetically), which is a pretty great feeling. There are things I need to be better about, as there always are, but I'm looking forward to the New Year.
shadesofmauve: (baby)
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This is interesting because it brings up the question of defining fame.

I play fiddle music, which means I'm part of a community that at once spans the globe and is also very small and close-knit. The people who are the pinnacle of fame in the trad community are often unknown outside it, and within it they're not usually distant.

EG: Remember the awesome fiddle section in the opening ceremonies for the Olympics in Vancouver? Six famous Canadian fiddlers, and I've met three of them, including at least one count of jamming together until three a.m. And that's not really weird or special in our circles. A total BLAST, but not weird or special. I've also played with and taken workshops from the great fiddler Liz Carroll, who performed for Obama at a St. Patrick's day thing at the White House.

Forget Kevin Bacon. The trad community can play this game with far fewer than six degrees. :)

The whole idea of distant idols and star power really changes when your idols are people who say "Oh, you! From Olympia, right? Still drawing? Want to play some tunes?" and greet you with a hug.

TL;DR: My community is full of love and music and pure awesome.

In other known names... lezzee... I've had dinner with author Elizabeth Anne Scarborough a few times. And of course I know [livejournal.com profile] westrider's mom!

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