Studio Journal 10-1-09

mixing videoAssociated Videos:
Pickups V7: The First Working Set
Pickups V8: The Step Coil

It is hard to face the truth, but the end of the month has come and I really have made no significant progress on the recording project I “started” a month ago. I wonder why there this resistance, is it self-destructiveness in myself, or just circumstances with all the distractions I can’t avoid or resist, or that I can’t make what I need to do important enough to overide the needs of others when I am here? I have always had problems with not being able to give much priority to anything I had to do.. what is so important about anything I do, compared to a child’s birthday party or global destruction? What is really so important about the electric dulcimer? That the dulci is important is much easier to believe than that my songwriting is. Really, I don’t see my songs as important at all, except as a vehicle to show what I have done with the duclimer, without paying royalties I can’t afford. Many times I’ve realized that I’ve developed these amazing versions of traditionals and modern standards, but I could have done the same with something original instead. Its really the dulcimer, not the song I’m playing, that is so special. So I might as well play originals if I want a modern sound so I’m not held back by playing standards I can’t produce or release without extra costs and issues.

Here there are endless distractions, all important to a degree. I have to fix the breaks on the car, and I get it done. Or politics, as I try to write my representatives once a week if I can, when we are in critical times. I sent in a letter I wrote to Barak from my campfire north of the arctic circle when all I knew was he’d been nominated, and I expected him to win. I reinstall the video software so I can do video again, and finish the series on building pickups for the dulcimer. That is important, in the larger picture of what I am doing here, documenting what I’ve done. Just as important, I can erase the clips from the studio hard drive and have space for recording, one of the reasons for it when I got here in June. Or ma needs help with this or that, and I am here to help. Or it is my nephew’s birthday and I help with the party. Or it turns cold and I bring in all the houseplants that spend the summer outside. Or my cat, just lonely and wanting attention.

The last CD was recorded because I stayed in Joe’s cabin in Montana with nothing else to do, except ocasionally go out and ride one of the horses, till Joe got home in the vening, if he did, since he stayed in town sometimes. So I got it done.Now for years I have tried to get started on this recording but things always get in the way, like some cosmic conspiracy. And now I wonder if I face the same story again, and this time will slip away and I’ll have to head back to Florida with the CD still undone, still just trying to get this great wheel turning, with still no idea why there is so much resistance.

I can’t say it is a happy time either, too much on my mind, too much pain. My shoulder hurts all the time, enough that I worry if it will eventually stop me playing, is this the beginning of the end? Or the end of things like splitting wood, or gold mining, or raising anchors on the boat and generally the active life I have lived. A hard thing to have in the back of my mind. It didn’t bother me in St.Augustine, but somehow it seems to be getting worse rather than better, though perhaps it is that I am doing the wrong things here, re-injuring it. I try to do physical therapy on it every day. I have started taking a walk during the afternoon to get some excercise, because my hip started hurting me, as if my body is binding up from inactivity.

Or maybe I did pick up a tick-bourne disease at the Florida Folk fest and will have more problems. I paid a doctor $128 for 15 minutes for a $14 prescription of the specific antibiotic used for this bacteria (a southeastern relative of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever) just in case, since the results of a long-term chronic infection are bad, and preventing it with antibiotics was reasonable, even though they aren’t fun to take. But the Doctor wouldn’t give me the 30 days the CDC recommended, but only 10 days, then wanted me to come back, and pay another $100 every 10 days, ridiculous. And which I don’t have, so hopefully either it isn’t that or I can try to live with it. Wonderfully broken health care system we have. But it weighs on my mind and spirit as well. And I write congress, for what good it will do.

stone-cedar-womanAnd of course, though my emotions settle some, singing all the songs doesn’t help. To much saddness in my music. And for the new one, the events are still so close. Though I knew it would be a long time before I got over this. Though I have to keep telling people it really isn’t about her, personally, it never was after I figured out she wasn’t, or wouldn’t, or couldn’t be in love with me. I’m looking for a pretty specific woman, and the first thing, after feeling that incredible resonance, is that she feels the same way. Not so, so it goes, and I move on. She just triggered this problem I have, not her fault at all. But it ignites this always smoldering fire within me, a lifetime of loneliness and celibacy, all this frustrated emotional and physical energy, and once again I stare down into this great void in my life. One I have to accept can never be filled, no matter what happens now, really. It is part of me, and can’t be lived over, or undone, a life without love. I can wish I hadn’t met her, since it has been nothing but trouble for me at a time I didn’t need it. Still, it is good to know I can feel that still, and that a woman like that can come out of nowhere and rock my world, no matter how little I care or believe about finally finding someone at this late date. Yet all told, it is another distraction I didn’t need.

In fact, as of today, the last day of the month, I’ve made a significant step backwards. The 8″ treble bridge had broken a wire from its cable, and I’d tried to fix it once, already, but that was unsuccessful. I tried again, trying to deal with theses wires I can’t even see, and ended up breaking the ineer wire off short. Though I am able to heat it on the woodstove, melt the wax and remove it from the bobbin, I still break other inner wires in the process, and the outer wire breaks off as well. It is like dealing with fine hair. Perhaps I am just too tired, working till after midnight, without enough sleep as the cat goes in and out half the night. I doubt I ever sleep more than two hours uninterupted. Now I have to wind a whole new coil probably, which means fixing the pickup winder and setting it up, setting up the wax and potting, the whole process. Which I need to do, of course, it is important, Finishing the videos only emphasises that I need to make more, have to keep the process moving forward. As well as just to have spares. I still have the only working set in existance. But it is a distraction from recording as well, another delay, more resistance.

Always has been one of those strange things, to be here, doing something which is literally the breaking edge of reality, one and only in the world stuff. And well, nobody seems to care much, hard for me to care that much, really, and I wonder why I do it. Seems I could have done something more significant, or something that made me happier. Though I love playing, yet I’ve hardly played all summer. Am I just getting tired? Yet all the time what I really want to do is return to my old days of travelling with the seasons, living in the wild and being a street activist-mystic folksinger among people, and playing the dulcimer all the time and singing, when I wasn’t meditaing and walking about in the wild. Life is short, I’d rather be doing that than worrying about posterity. If it wasn’t for the dulcimer and the promises I’d made to so many, I would be gone, back to the healing peace of the wild, and the small but effective path of consciousness raising, one on one, one by one, among the people. Doing good, true public service, playing in the schools and the senior centers, for any one who asks, on the street or a fest, anywhere, when all the world is a stage, a simple selfless existance, asking for nothing, giving all I can. I am much more interested in dwelling in that psychic/mystic/spirit world I have known so well than anything about this hmmm normal life. Of course, the basic mandate when I am there is to go back to the normal world and try and stop my people from destroying the world, get them to sing harmony, instead of dissonance, turbulence, disturbance, disruption. Though this society grates upon my senses like jackhammers screaming on rending sheetsteel during a trainwreck on a battlefield.

Better sleep, always too easy to get dismal in the dark of night when things aren’t going right. I could go out to another songwriting jam this weekend, give them their videoclips on DVD at least, do them some service perhaps. Then there is a fundraiser for Filipino Relief efforts Sunday I am co-hosting. All good, but distracting. Well, I recorded a few guitar tracks today, try to get this wheel rolling at last. I can record guitar and vocal parts while I fix the dulcimer.

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