When Denise stops making lists, that’s a Bad Sign.

1. I haven’t made any quality PRACTICING lists for a long while. I have been holed up in my studio, desperately squinting into my monitor like a cave fish. This is both stupid and unhealthy. I think this is because I have a lot of fear. I think this is because I have been going through many transitions that I am unsure about and possibly afraid of.
2. I have been through this before. I just forgot what it felt like. I’ve grown too used to this year. This has been the year of contests. And it’s really lasted more than a year. I think I need to sit back, regroup, see what I’ve learned, and before I go launching into the next contest – the purpose of which I have figured out now. I need to be really secure in what the purpose of this type of exercise, this type of advertising, is.
3. I have a high number of tunes that I’ve made, and a large number of ideas that have been produced by these deadlines. But now there is backlog. And I recognize this hollow, slack-jawed, half-ashamed feeling.

I am feeling stressed out about things which *I’m NOT getting PAID for.*

This is Not Good. This shows that my priorities are out of whack. More than a year ago, this is not where I was at. And I have done so much of what I think of now as “free work” that I can afford to be REALLY picky now with what I do. I can do whatever the hell I want. Be REALLY selfish. Ask for what *I* want. Do things ONLY for me. Unless people are going to throw money for me. Which, if they want me to do things for them, they’d better be willing to do.

So I’m going to finish up my things that I’ve signed on for with people. But then I have to make the hard decision to go back to work. Where work either consists of me doing things in my OWN interest, practicing and recording like a maniac, or doing things because I am being paid. I need to start producing stuff that I treat with more reverence.

There’s a wonderful thing that well meaning parents used to tell their kids when we were dating. And I think it TOTALLY holds true for SO many other things. And it’s “why buy the cow, when you can get the milk for free?”

I think that this is the source of the hollow-ness I feel.

If you want to break a cycle, you have to start with some self-evaluation, some valuing of the self, some time taken for the self, and then some bravery.

4. I do not regret these contests. But what I do know is that I AM a professional. So I am even looking at my best material; thinking “people SHOULD be paying for this.” And I do want to give them that oppurtunity. Because I would like to leave something behind. Here’s ANOTHER tiny list.

-I think that the piano part of ‘Duality Cupcake’ is stellar. As usual though, if I could POSSIBLY play it on an ACTUAL piano, that would be ideal. In absence of that, I would love to do a NAUSEATING amount of research for EXACTLY what I want. Also, I’d like to do something ELSE with the vocals. And there are some fills that need fleshing out in the vibey parts.
-I need to tone down the vibe-ish parts on several other songs. ‘Stranded’ for example, is a really good song. The vocal could be tight and really tell a great story.
-I think I could rewrite a couple of my Nur Ein tunes.
-Something really amazing could come of this joe’n’den idea. I have a huge list which pertains to that. That is actually not something which I include in the list of stuff NOT to do with other people – possibly because Joe is always so supportive to me. So I’m hoping that this can be an open and running collaboration, and that he does not think I am crazy because we have actually not completed any of our current recordings because we are too picky. Also because I may have figured out to fix the lamentable trainwreck that was ‘Keys and Lies.’

5. I also need to pack. SERIOUSLY I need to pack, because in September I am moving into another house. Mike and I are moving into a place with Randall. It will be a LOT larger than where we are now, with spaces for all of us to work out of and have stuff happen. I’ll be able to film things out of there and I have great plans for some little things that I’ve always wanted to do. I am REALLY looking forward to having a fresh start, because we’ve been in this current place for a long time.

6. I’ve started branching out into other types of technology, other sorts of sounds. I’m becoming pickier and more experimental. I *care* more about my work, and the process. I’m starting to feel downright protective of it, in fact. This has caused me to grow very reflective.

7. I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing to keep one’s sensitivity about the way they envision their work. And I am that way. I feel this way about a LOT of things. I care about presentation, packaging … all these things I used to care about. Being in the contests has cured me of excessive perfectionism. I’ve gotten the point. But now it’s time to peel back and exit the world of compromise in favor of tailoring.

8. I wonder if it is possible to set MYSELF a deadline. I’ve met people who can work on just one thing. I wonder if I could do that.

9. There are lots of positive things and positive changes coming up. I just have to get through … once again … the transition phase. I may take a little time for myself coming up here in a bit, to do some writing and recording. I’m hoping that things will quiet down.

10. I do have a lot of stuff in the works. And I always seem to get impatient for the summer to just FINISH already. I really dislike August.

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