Saturday, September 24, 2011

Once more, with feeling

I'm studying voice, and I've reached the hard part: my teacher wants me to sing with feeling.

You see, I'm a living, breathing, walking contradiction. I'm a very emotional person who presents a very even-keeled view of myself to the world; I've spent the past 50-plus years making my shell stronger, smoother, and harder. I don't share my feelings; I'm calm. I'm rational. I handle things.

I do my feeling in private.

How can this be the next step? It's not fair. I love the technical aspects of singing: it's fun to find the perfect pitch, to feel my voice resonating with the guitar or the piano, to make the sound waves match up; I like my breathing exercises; I like learning where my lips, tongue, epiglottis and breath need to go to make a good sound; I revel in warm-up exercises and am startled when I lay claim to a new, even higher, note. I'd be perfectly comfortable staying in this analytical phase forever.

But no.

Apparently, music is about feelings. About sharing feelings. About communicating feelings. I'm having trouble with that; I'm not sure I remember how to do that; I know I'm not comfortable doing that.

But I'm going to try.

Step one is this post; you're not only getting my confession; you're getting a piece of my abstract art. I loved painting abstracts; I loved shutting off my brain and letting my emotions fill the canvas. It was the one thing I let myself do that was completely irrational. But even that became too difficult for me; I set down my paints over 20 years ago.

Today I thought I'd try an abstract in Photoshop. It may not taste like paint, but the feeling is still there.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Remembering why I do this

Here's a shot of my bead mat, as it is this very moment. As you can see, I'm building some components; I don't know yet if they will turn into a bracelet or a necklace, I'm just playing with shiny things today.

I've been at loose ends this summer; I haven't been my usual, driven self. You may have noticed that I haven't written many new tutorials lately; I just can't seem to get myself settled down to draw diagrams, or write directions. I have several projects waiting to be written up, but i've found a million excuses to do something - anything - else. When my resistance to something is this high, I've always found that it's best not to force it; time and tides have a way of coming around again, and I'm sure that one of these days I will wake up and begin writing and drawing diagrams like a madwoman.

But not today. Today I am playing with shiny things.

It's been a rough year; mortality has reared its ugly head, and I've had to face the fact that things change and I won't live forever. Not that I really ever thought I would, but it's just not as abstract a concept as it used to be. No matter how I slice it, I'm in the second half, or maybe even the last quarter. This year, I committed myself to eating properly and exercising; I know it won't make me immortal, but I'm hoping that being in better shape physically will keep me from facing some of the physical problems and limitations I've seen recently in the people I love.

I want to keep playing for a long time yet.

That's why I make jewelry; I like to play. I like to experiment; I like to build things. I like to put beads together, one at a time, and I love shiny, sparkly things. Today I'm playing with gold-plated Delicas, rivolis, an exorbitant number of bitty little Swarovski crystals, and faceted ruby rondelles. You know: all the good things that I haven't used because they were expensive and precious.

I'm using them today.

Because life is short, and everything can all change in an instant, I'm going to start using up all the expensive, too-good-to-use beads.

This is my time.