So Much

Scary Jesus...He's coming right at us!

Scary Jesus…He’s coming right at us!

Its the busiest time of my year. In my work, both of my jobs reach their peak during these two weeks in April.

For the schools, I have District Music Festival. Each choir travels across the river, dressed in their fines, to sing prepared pieces for three judges for feedback and a rating.

Then, we travel the down the hall, the length of the school, up the stairs to do some sight singing for a judge in the choir room. Then, they get on a bus back to our school and I continue the job with more groups.

It is stressful.

I am not great at it.

I have gotten way better at it, but I am not great.

I want to be great, but I am not.

This fact has been agreed upon with administration: I work hard. I am getting better, but I am not great.

Know your limitations.

I went to school for opera singing and acting and directing. I am really good at these things. Great, actually.

(He said humbly.)

Long story short, I will be teaching at a junior high next year, without the pressures of touring and district and just plain feeling frustrated that I am not where I won’t to be, career-wise and talent-wise.

I am relieved and excited for a number of reasons.

On the church front, it doesn’t get busier than Holy Week. The hardest part, for me, is the amount of time we spend killing Jesus. It’s a lot. It’s seven masses(8. I also┬ápicked up a funeral) before we get to the two Easter services. By the time we get to those last two, I am a bit of a lost cause. It gets a little dark in here.

I lost a guy, too. I grew up with him from cub scouts to football. I couldn’t even make it to his funeral. That’s okay, I guess. If we’re not careful, it can all feel like funerals.

Also, during these days, my brother got married and two of my best friends got married to each other. That’s awesome. And, yes, I know those warrant their own blog posts, but I think we can all agree that processing all of this might take a bit.

I am on 229 days in a row of meditating. I can tell it helped me get perspective in all of these things. Yes, the meditation is working.

Happy Easter.

Bring on the Spring.

Hey Ho, Rock ‘N Roll!

Right up front with the Old 97's!

Right up front with the Old 97’s!

3/24/17

I saw one of my favorite rock bands this week. It took some sacrifice to do it, too. I am here to say, though: Totally worth it.

Worth the drive there after school.

Worth the just okay opening act.

Worth the drive back in dark, animal infested Montana roads.

Worth the severe lack of sleep the next school day (also concert day).

Worth the money.

Worth the hassle.

Worth it.

Got to see some friends and watch them discover a great band from the front row.

Got to feel some bass and kick drum on and in my chest.

Got to watch a crowd sing along to something not played on mainstream radio.

Got to watch a motherscratching rock show!

Got to feel alive, ’cause it can take a kick start.

Got to know that art is Worth It.

So, back to the drawing board.

‘Cause I am going to add some rock, too.

Adrift

IMG_2364

3/20/17

I guess it’s time to come clean. I have been having a rough go for a bit. I have been trying to feel more grounded while many things in my life seem unsure.

I lost Stu.

I wasn’t sure where I was going to be working.

My folks got into a fender bender.

Lent, as always, is killing me.

I know. I know…

These are minor league gripes. First world problems. Well, they’re what I’ve got.

My students seem uninterested at best. Putting out my best self and energy to be met with this seeming non-interest or worst is soul sucking.

The worst? I am going through a period of not liking any of my work. These things that I have poured years into are eliciting a shrug of the shoulders from within me. That’s never a good feeling.

This happens in artistic living. That’s what I am telling myself.

It’s happened before.

It’ll happen again.

I will anchor again soon.

I will move forward.

For now, I drift.

Discerning

3/13/2017

This is probably the longest I have gone without the blog. I am sure that this is indicative of something, but I am not sure what.

Is it intense busyness?

Or a sinking, crushing depression?

Am I just having too much fun to comment?

I don’t think so.

But I don’t really have an answer.

I can say what I’ve been up to.

I played a couple gigs.

I recorded some podcasts.

I have been preparing classes for a concert and district music festival.

I pitched a couple ideas to some filmmakers.

I finished a first draft.

I bought some recording equipment.

I hung out with the bride and the boy.

I tried to figure out why some pics on this website go sideways on handheld devices.

I don’t know. I did a lot.

And, for a while, I thought, maybe, that I didn’t really want to talk about it.

So, here I am talking about it now.

Is going quiet a bad thing? I hope not. Because, if I am being completely honest, it’ll definitely happen again.

Spiritual Guide

Night driving back from Missoula.

Night driving back from Missoula.

IMG_2371

2/26/2017

The last couple weeks have been a blur of buses. We had two different trips for choir- one to Missoula and one to Seattle. I had one full day, Valentine’s Day, to check in with my family, wash clothes, and get ready to head out again. I have been back almost a week and finally feel near normal again. As normal as I get.

Performance at a high school along the way.

Performance at a high school along the way.

IMG_2335

I received word that my confirmation sponsor, Dale Stewart, or Stu as I knew him, had died. Whenever I saw him, he would insult me and I would threaten to haul him across the bar. I did it once for real, but it’s funnier as a threat. He’d tell me to get more singing lessons. The last time I saw him he told me I could part The Red Sea by jumping in it. This act has been going on almost thirty years, when I was a junior in high school and needed someone to stand up and say I was worthy of being part of the Catholic Church.

He was my spiritual guide, residing on a bar stool on the Wine Mill side of the East Side Howard’s Pizza, where I would vist from the restaurant side to deliver pizzas and trade insults and abuse.

It was great.

Stu was great.

I will miss him because there aren’t a lot of people that can bust me down with truth and caring. It’s a tough mix. I knew he was there for me, even all these years later. I hope he knew the same of me.

Rest in peace, Stu. Save me a place at the bar.

Update:

3/18

Stu's chariot.

Stu’s chariot.

Some beautiful cars...

Some beautiful cars…

More beautiful cars...wait a minute...

More beautiful cars…wait a minute…

The pictures above are from the parking lot outside of Stu’s funeral. There was a car show that Stu started years ago called Stu’s Cruise and many of those folks showed up. I made sure to park my filthy Element among these beautiful cars. I also revved my engine a bit- all for Stu.

He gave away his beautiful car. He donated tens of thousands to charity. He filled the church with mourners. What a guy.

All Systems are Goofy

It’s going all right. The getting up early and taking care of myself a bit is good. I had a sickness that knocked me off course for a couple days, but I am right back. So, it’s going well.

The list is long. I have a lot in the pipeline and it’s ckoking up on the back end- the editing. There have been some interesting snafus and personnel changes, but there is one constant- me showing up to the work. I feel that I am only getting better at that.

So, the website store is opening soon.

The Questioning Catholic podcast has two shows in the can. We are looking at starting another website (don’t worry, the hub will always be here) and a delivery system for that.

Better Than That has a new editor.

TV show has 2 editors.

Follow up movie is half written.

Play is 3/4 written.

New songs are happening.

I am playing live this Friday.

Let’s call that it for now. It isn’t all, but the rest has to materialize more.

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