Still, Nothing Seems Misplaced: You’ve Got A Face, and You Are Spacey

Sorry for the lack of posting over the last couple of days. I wish I could tell you it was because I developed a degenerative disease that was eating away at my fingertips, making blogging unpleasant and messy. But alas, it’s far less dramatic than that: I just didn’t know what to say. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’ve been depressed or anything like that. More… displaced.

It’s been taking me weeks to figure out exactly what I want to do next, creatively speaking, and it’s also been a week of forgetting a lot of stuff I thought I was on top of. I think I’m just about to get back on track, but it’s hard to tell, really. I don’t feel much different, so for all I know, the aimlessness and lack of cohesion could continue for days more.

I feel like I’ve been kind of going through the motions of being this person I am ever since I figured out that I wasn’t ready to work on the new novel. I’m afraid it came as quite a surprise to realise that a project I had been planning and looking forward to for months just wasn’t prepared enough, and it needed more incubation time. Frustrating as hell, I don’t mind telling you.

So I’ve more or less retreated to another of my novels-in-progress, DEPARTURE. I have some smallish problems there, too, but I think I’m almost over the hump. I just have to find a block of time where I can hammer things out and get back on track with that novel. It won’t be ready for Christmas, I fear, which I thought would be a good present to my friends and myself. Time is getting away from me.

I think I’m also just about ready to get back to work on one of the two album projects I’ve got lined up for myself. I’ve just been trying to decide which one it will be: either ‘Steep Inclinations’, Etcetera’s big (possibly final) prog rock concept album, or ‘The Continuing Adventures of the Philosophical Clown’ the big bumper compendium solo song project I was planning to clear the decks of all my old material, good, great and kinda mediocre. I think they’re all actually pretty good to great, but I’m sure that’s just me, so I’m willing to admit others may not be as entranced as I sometimes get thinking about certain songs.

I recently spent a lovely evening chatting about music with my old music producer friend David Guild, and he kept hammering on the point that there should be no compromises. I can see that. It means that everything I think is done will have to be reevaluated, and anything that isn’t ready will have to go back in the sack for another day. What that almost certainly means, especially if I’m going to work with David to shape up the proper album, is that I’ll have to scale back my ambitions to ten or fifteen really good songs, and hope things come together in such a way that I will be able to make more than one album int he coming year(s?).

I don’t mind admitting, I don’t really like the idea of putting off the divestiture any longer than I have to. I feel as if I’ve been incubating these numbers for too long as it is. Contemplating having to wait for a few more years to get it all out of my system is a little personal hell for me. Young Me might have welcomed the opportunity to put as many songs as possible back in the nest for more incubating, but Old Me is terribly aware of his mortality and just wants to clear the decks and make room for any new ideas that might be trying to get through.

I just want this chapter of my life to be over, but David is more philosophical about material; he says it isn’t really ‘real’ until it’s been released. Until then, it’s just ideas racing around in the void or stuck on paper. Old material; new material; it’s all the same until it’s over. And since I really want more guidance and a good set of ears on whichever project I go through with first, I have to be prepared to play by someone else’s rules.

Maybe what I really need to consider is that my instinct to divide up the two projects is also faulty. I haven’t quite reached that point yet, but I do sometimes suspect my attempts to compartmentalize the Etcetera and Thesis stuff–or as I now think of the latter, the Limbo stuff–is really my attempt to fairly represent my old band mates (including Dave and Dori), as if there is a real band to consider. It’s not like I really need their material, though in the case of the Etcetera jams, I would have to do a lot of work to make those jam pieces feel like they were truly mine and mine alone. Even On My Mind, which was almost entirely my idea and all my work, was born from three lovely little snippets of instrumental jam improvised accidentally with Big Dave Bedard and Derrick Rose, and if anyone ever asks, I want to be able to say I gave credit where credit was due. Plus, really, some of this stuff really needs to be heard, and if I don’t rearranged and rerecord them, they never will be. This is an idea that fills me with sadness, because these songs and ideas have been a part of my life for over twenty years, in some cases.

So, I’m curiously loyal to the band, even though no such entity exists at the present time, and in a very real way, never truly did, at least when you consider that we never really successfully gigged or released any albums. We were a hobby band with pretensions of grandeur. So long as I continue to assign writing credits where applicable, it really shouldn’t matter whether I call a thing a ‘band’ or ‘solo’ album, because I can’t really depend on any of them to be there to make the album in question, even though, if I asked Derrick or Gary, they would most probably try to assure me that they want to be part of it. It’s just gotten hard to wait for them any longer. *sigh*

It won’t really be like I wrote it in Terminal Monday, I suppose. Time that I, like my protagonist, Richard, learned to move on.

So that’s been the headspace I’ve been struggling with over the last few weeks. A peek into the mind of a slightly mad person, I don’t doubt.

So here’s my most recent meditation on that mythical, dream cover I once fantasized about. This isn’t quite what I had in mind, but it’s closer:

Thank you for reading. Have a nice weekend.


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