In the planner community—folks who like to collect and use planners and journals to organize their lives—there is a yearly challenge called One Book July. Planner enthusiasts often have more than one planner or journal—I, myself, use two— so this challenge provides us with the opportunity to streamline by limiting our planning activities to one book and one pen for one month. Here is a very brief video explaining my one book plan for this challenge and how I will deviate from the guidelines — which is perfectly okay according to the organizers of the challenge:
My drum circle started out slowly this afternoon, but then we had some visitors drop in:
It’s a good thing I have pop-up alerts from my local news channel, otherwise I would’ve thought this launch of a satellite was either an incoming missile, an invasion by space aliens, or the arrival of the apocalypse. I managed to capture a couple video clips. It was pretty awesome…
I have not posted about drumming in the last few months. This is because I have not been to my favorite drum circle in the last few months. When friends ask “How’s the drum circle? Still going?”, I’ve been telling them that I’ve been too busy, or had a commitment elsewhere, or the hot weather was not to my liking, and so on.
The truth is I stopped going mainly because I felt intimidated.
Some of the people who regularly attend the circle are professional musicians. Several of them specialize in Latin jazz or traditional African drum rhythms. I find these rhythms difficult to ease into. I just can’t nail those syncopated beats. I felt like I was messing up their drumming because I could not get this. I had convinced myself that I was not a good drummer.
During my hiatus from the drum circle, I continued to drum with some other musician friends who play and sing contemporary folk/pop/rock arrangements. I get enough affirmation from them to know that I’m not completely hopeless. Those arrangements are my style, it seems.
I returned to the drum circle today because I missed the people there. But I held back, finding the base beats and softly playing around them so as not to throw off the other drummers. Mostly I sat there and just enjoyed their playing.
The take away from this lesson is that I need to learn the nature of my own creative expression—what I enjoy, where my strengths reside— and be comfortable enough to not be intimidated by other Creatives who might be better in some respect. My creative genre is primarily writing. I need to know my style. I need to write in that style with no regard of what critics, both my inner and outer, think or say.
If someone doesn’t like my style of writing, so be it. I am going to keep on writing anyway. If my critics make a racket because they don’t like my writing, I’ll quietly persist nevertheless, hearing my voice in the din.
In yesterday’s post, I shared how I engage in a new creative project. In the process of working the plan I ran into a glitch. Or, to be more optimistic, you could say I expanded my knowledge base on a grand scale. At first, I almost jumped through the loophole I articulated yesterday of admitting the plan was not workable. Instead, I powered through and made the first of I hope many recordings of my own percussion music.
To make a long story short, I had no problem mixing a very short audio clip. The problem came with sharing it. Oh, is that not the bane of the creative’s existence: showing the rest of the world your work? In order to share the audio, I ended up having to make, with great difficulty, a video. Even though I felt like I had enrolled in a crash course in film editing, I was pleased to learn some new applications, and refresh myself in some old ones.
What I learned is this:
- Pushing the boundaries in my creative process requires hard work and a headache. The idea came easy. Mastering the tools and technology, well, not so much.
- It is not enough for me, at any rate, to create. I must also share it with an audience for it to be worth my while.
- Finally, I will never be happy with just one creative genre. I need to be trying new things on a regular basis. I may never be very good at music making, but I enjoyed the process. And that is just as important as the product.
Without further delay, here is my twenty-four second sound mixing experiment.
Note: To create and share my percussion work, I used my iPhone to access Garageband (only available for Apple products) and to shoot the video, a PC laptop in order to access Windows Movie Maker, my email application to mail the audio and video files from one device to the other and, of course, WordPress. Oh, and the instruments: A darbuka, an egg shaker, and a cowbell.
I have an art journal which I use in part to work on techniques and experiment with new media and also a personal journal in visual form. For example, I went to the Museum of Latin American Art last week and was inspired by Frida Kahlo. My intention was simply to render a portrait of her with watercolor crayons. What came out was a mixed media piece that looks more like an icon of some Byzantine saint. How interesting is that? Here is a quick one-minute video of that process.
I am taking part in the 2017 One Book July challenge. The challenge is to use one book and one pen for all planning and journaling for the month of July. The fact is I did the challenge last year and have continued using one book and one pen (for the most part) for the last year. The organizers of One Book July added another challenge for journallers like me– change the size of the journal. Here is a very brief video about it.