Author: Joel Corda (page 1 of 5)

Meet the Editor

The boss at work.

The boss at work.

I freely admit I have faults.

Many, many faults.

I can expect a lot of others, and let myself off the hook. Or vice versa. Neither is good.

I am too big and too slow. And in too much pain too often. My doing. No blame to share. I work on it.

I am quick to judge, but get really upset when I feel a shade, a sliver of judgment upon me.

I am not the friend or family member I can be. It’s hard. There is guilt. I work on it.

What I can’t abide, is the copious amount of mistakes in my last post.

My wife cannot abide either.

She says, “No more!”

Meet her, she of the read through. She of the red pen.

Meet the editor.

Bow before her.

Bossy

I have.

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Victim of This Harvest

The view from my new used windshield.

The view from my new used windshield.

7/28/2007

This last week, after about a month off, I had two music gigs. One was at The Celtic Cowboy, where I started this version of my playing life. It was good to flex the muscles again. It’s four hours of riding the wave, attempting to be whatever it is folks need while keeping in mind that it isn’t a Joel Corda Concert. Volume low. This is background music. Connect where you can. It’s a skill. Sometimes, you knock it out of the park and sometimes you strike out miserably. Wednesday, I was somewhere safely in the middle.

Friday’s gig was a ride to Fort Benton to a beautiful coffee shop. The proprietors wanted two hours of original music. New place. New to me. All original tunes. I was anxious and excited. I don’t get to play all originals ’round these parts. I slip ’em in here and there, but most of my gigs, people want something they recognize and remember. They want something familiar.

The worst that can happen at a gig? No one listens. No one cares.

On Friday, I played my songs to, generously, fifteen to twenty people coming in and out to pick up coffee and food. Lily and Kristen, the ladies behind the counter, were great throughout. Some high schooled-aged young women  were very encouraging during the last half hour (Thank you, ladies!).

When I was packing up, I heard very complimentary things about my work from the few folks that were around. That always makes me feel good. I asked what Friday nights were normally like. I was told that it was hit and miss. This week, sadly, was definitely a miss.

The explanation? One word:

Harvest.

“People live and die with it around here.”

Amen.

Lonely ride, but that and this view make for good, sad country songs.

Lonely ride, but that and this view make for good, sad country songs.

I drove home thinking about the meaning of it all and the why of it all.

I play music, of course, because I want people to hear it. I want them to be moved by it, one way or another. But, really, I  would write and play music if no one was listening. I live and die with it around here.

This summer has been a series of closed doors.

I wanted to record another album. My producer is booked until September. I, I wait on that front. It gives me time to write new songs, to work the album art, to make a video concept, etc.

I have been absent from these writings. It’s not that I have nothing to say, far from it, but the absence of a target, a goal, tells me it’s time to chill out. So, I am, in my way, chilling out. My web guy, John Oswald, has been working toward making my music available on this site for some time. It an be frustrating, but I trust John is finding the best way to accomplish this goal, which is not necessarily the easiest way. So, I wait on content a bit. Why market with nothing to sell? It comes.

In its time.

The podcast, The Questioning Catholic, is also at a pause. Between weddings, anniversaries, vacations, trips to Ireland,etc, it has been trickier than one would think to make it all happen. This is good to know. I always think summer is going to be one thing, go a certain way, and I am consistently wrong. We will have to have enough episodes in the can going into next summer to take the season off. It is good to know these things.

Editing continues. It’s slow going. I am not doing it myself because, stubbornly, not only do I not want to, but I’d like another set of eyes on the work. For a collaborative art form, I don’t want to keep the lion’s share of work for myself. I figure writing, acting, producing, directing (sometimes) and writing the music is already a bit too much of me. Strange, I know. I have a strong editor, so I am excited about this work, too. I am just an impatient animal.

This all sound like complaining.

Hmmm….

It’s not meant to be, but it sure sounds like it.

More later.

PS Head out to Fort Benton. Get some coffee or ice cream or whatever looks good to you from Wake Cup Coffee or The Grand Union. Take a walk across that bridge. It’s really pretty and there are good folks out that way.

 

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Day One: The 80 Day War

6/10/17

School’s out.

So much to look to forward to.

So much I want to accomplish.

And be.

And experience.

So, I am working on doing nothing.

Yeah, that’s right.

Suck on that, anxiety.

Too many times have I blown up the importance of this precious time in my head, guaranteeing that it will take me 2-3 weeks to calm down and actually either A. Accomplish something or B. Just relax.

I am writing this to you, now, without some plan or goal.

Or, what have you.

Felt like it.

Did it.

I haven’t given up on plans or goals, but I ain’t hearing that shiz right now.

That’s how this rolls this time.

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The Shit Show Starring Us

Car5/27/2017

Okay.

Uncle.

We get it, I think.

Maybe.

But, it’s definitely been given to us.

Our “suck it” or “eat shit” button has been pressed.

Repeatedly.

So, whoever, or whatever is pushing it- stop. Please.

Here’s the partial list:

Unexpected $1300 car upkeep.

Unexpected drain back up and pipe cleaning.

Partially expected second round of braces for the boy.

On call jury duty for my wife. On call federal jury duty for me now.

Wife’s chipped tooth.

My cavity.

The car that had $1300 upkeep? Totalled last week (post to come when the dust clears and insurance pays).

This morning, someone picked through the items available in our garage and chose my son’s sweet Schwinn and my gig speakers.

Smaller filing cabinet is where my speakers used to live.

Smaller filing cabinet is where my speakers used to live.

They also left a cigarette butt.

Yes, the police are running a DNA test on this. I did not think that they would.

Yes, the police are running a DNA test on this. I did not think that they would.

So, really, we are grateful for our ability to deal with all of this and we know it could be so much worse.  We know.

But, God or the universe, or mischievous Loki or whoever is testing their funny bone on our willpower….we’ve had enough.

PS Stop picking off former Great Falls High offensive lineman circa 1990- those are/were smart, sweet dudes with families.

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Comfort

4/29/2017

When I look at my daily operating system, I attempt to look at myself as clearly as possible. I try to think of my interaction and what effect I have caused good or bad. I tend to focus on the things that have gone to the negative much more than the postive because I want to affect change on the negative and keep the positive untouched. A life unexamined and all that.

Sadly, I often process information orally.  This means I tend to process out loud. This must come at a cost to my wife, friends, and coworkers. So, when I am left behind or ghosted or just not invited…I get it. It hurts, but I get it.

I can exhaust me, too.

But, really, it’s probably time to focus in the positive stuff.

The easy.

The free.

The fun.

I don’t like a lot of things that other people seem to enjoy. A short list:

Fundraising parties.

Board games.

Post-Police Sting.

Any public gatherings “downtown”.

Hiking.

Watching small children opening presents (one noteable exception).

However, I do like doing things others don’t seem to enjoy:

Writing.

Singing.

Directing.

Acting.

Filming.

Speeches.

I am comfortable where most are uncomfortable. And vice versa.

This is the work.

If I only stay in my comfort zone of artistic risk and work and focused storytelling, I am undeveloped elsewhere. When my friendships are attached to the work, it becomes apparent that maybe I don’t know how to be a run of the mill friend. Also, my weight, my right knee, my broken toe, and lower back are a testament to how I have not pushed my comfort level.

See? Just thinking out loud again.

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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 picked 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.

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