Writing or music, but apparently not both at once

I think rule number one of blogging is supposed to be that you don’t make excuses for not blogging, so I’m not supposed to try to explain about work, life, playing music, and all the other things that have been happening lately in the little bits of time that could possibly be going to writing this thing.

But not having time to blog isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes it means something good is happening, and being busy with music is definitely something good. The band I sing and play guitar in, The Diviners, is playing on May 2nd at a place called LanaLou’s. We’re opening for the Wonderful Diving Horses, and I’m pretty excited about that.

wonderful diving horses and diviners


And a few days ago Rod Matheson posted a video of my songwriting partner Don Delano and me (the “small version” of the Diviners) doing an REM cover on Valentine’s Day at Chapel Arts — part of his very cool and impressive Every Day Music project (http://www.everydaymusic.ca/). Ours is the 734th video in his series of 1000. Wow. You can see it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AVKP2XZN-Hs


everydaymusic diviners screenshot


Music and writing have always had a way of balancing each other out for me. When I’m writing I usually don’t have time for music, and when I’m playing music I don’t get much writing done (except for songwriting — but I put that in the music category). More than that, I find I experience writing and music in nearly opposite ways, and bring nearly opposite sides of my personality to doing the work. With my fiction writing, it’s all about solitude, long hours, obsession, struggling for perfection, endless revising and discarding drafts, never being satisfied — which no doubt explains why I hardly ever publish anything. With music it’s about experiencing the moment, collaboration, friendship, the fleeting joyful or awful or joyful/awful forty minutes of the live show, playing that’s good-enough, singing that’s expressive but flawed, immediacy and imperfection, the risk of public failure and the rush of cheers and applause, and not trying too hard — which is why I’ve never been particularly good.

I guess this all makes sense in a way, because I studied writing formally, and I learned to play music in front of people in a post-punk anti-formal-training kind of setting, where courage and camaraderie counted more than technical skills. So I’m not happy in the recording studio, because that requires accuracy and care, something that goes against my learning. And I’m not good at doing readings, maybe because my writer self just doesn’t know how let go of control and just put on a show.

But I’m not going to philosophize about all this any further right now. There’s a show coming up. Hope to see you there.