when a person/peoples believe in you, it can be pretty powerful.

Validation goes a long way. Especially in these days of instant social gratification (“look at me! I have posted a photo of Gandalf saying something droll! And someone from the cast of Full House ‘liked’ it!!” (this never happened to me)).. you can grow rather lonely waiting for a project or idea to percolate without an “atta boy/girl/naked squirrel” applied at the right place/time.

This can cause havoc with your discipline. But you get to a point where it’s just not PROFESSIONAL anymore to need constant love and coddling from the folks who surround you in order to work. It is this that has finally made me realize The Thing. The Answer to The Big Question.

When is one a professional?

I used to think “when one gets paid.” After a while, this didn’t make a lot of sense to me. It didn’t make sense to me because people are constantly getting paid to do sub-par work. I have done some of my most ridiculous, unrecognized and informal sit-ins with names that would look nice on my résumé, and I didn’t stick around to pursue further work and schmooze time on further opportunities in some of those directions. I seriously don’t talk about the time I played once at a little show with such-and-such because they’d be all “who the hell is she?” And usually at the time I was being professional in other capacities that look spotty and ridiculous now; mostly getting poorly paid at gigs which don’t matter. But I learned a lot at every gig that didn’t matter – sometimes picking up really important skills that translated well. Usually learning something like “don’t do ThIs or That, it doesn’t work.”

I haven’t been consistently paid in a long time. When those days do come, I bet the source/s of income will look very different than I ever imagined they might. I’m going to have to get creative to succeed at being me, and make up being profitable at it; simply because I don’t think that way. I haven’t even gotten the foot out the door of “make really bad ass content available.” Moving out of Thinking time into Doing is scary, particularly when you shut the door because it’s time for your Validating Individuals who Love and Care to do Their Own Things and Not Your Drama. Then it is All You and Oh My God I need cake right now.

And so, what do I think, of Work?

I think I am producing content. I think that I’m busy. Perhaps I am working, even. But I don’t know if I’m getting the job done. I may have to write another job description, and fire my ass. Perhaps I will hire another Me.

I certainly feel like I work all the time. At the moment, most of the things that I do I think of as practice, to justify the unpaid nature of it all. But I have withdrawn a bit because I have things on the back burner that are not items for practice. I “haven’t had time” to do them. I’ve been distracted.

I think it might have something to do with validation, with belief. When I started doing these contests, for instance, they were a mixed blessing. They came with communities. And the communities both held you up and back. When you’re in a group of people, you start feeling like you should do things to fit the mold, even if it hasn’t been communicated that you should. That’s just crowd ethic, perhaps. It’s not law though.

Joining communities that do things recreationally that I’m trying to break into professionally, even if the lines are really blurry, is going to continue to confuse me. It’s silly not to keep it up since I think I’ve made some lifelong relationships; but it’s also dumb to let my whole life continue to be swallowed up by it all.

I played some songs I wrote in the early 2000s. Some even earlier. I was already doing well. I was writing with confidence. I had a style I owned. Lately, I write songs as though I listened to song reviews, tried to insert several other people’s concepts of how to write hooks, and then lost how I put stories down into words to sing against verses. And I need to take what I have been given and remember how I used to flow with it.

I love my work and lately, I haven’t as much. But I think it’s slowly starting to change back.

I keep Almost finding an audience, a niche. Then I pull back, last second, and settle into the warm womb of relationships. Collaboration. I don’t trust my own gut. I don’t sit in my own silence. I’ve always trusted what I had to say before. This fear is a new thing, brought on by too many surrounding voices. Too much need for approval and too much stimuli.

It’s been both good and bad. Mostly good.

I think it’s about balance. And the things that stick, you keep. Hopefully, the rest shakes off okay.


“…I was in the right place”

I’m tired, I have a persistent headache, and I’ve seen absolutely nothing on the Internet today that has made me feel happy or personally supported after being at my aunt’s memorial (i only looked at Top Stories. Powers that be may not have thought you worthy. Also, I’m generalizing. And sadly, apologizing 😦 ). I loved my aunt dearly, so I’m honestly tempted to just do what I did while we were all saying a rosary in my cousin’s living room (no, I will not apologize for being brought up Catholic today; or explain my current religious leanings, or lack thereof). I’m tempted to turn off the interwebz like I did my phone. Then I’m tempted to not turn it back on.

I have kind of closed in on myself out of necessity, and for good reason. I am sick, and I am sad, and I need more from people – several people – quite honestly.

Today I feel exposed and raw; like quitting. Like moving very far away and starting all over.

But I won’t do it. I will figure out what to do next.

I’ve gotten some webhosting, you see. This may not seem like a big deal to some people; but to me it represents a decision. A decision to get serious. A decision that I feel I am of too good a quality to continue being ignored. That it shames me and my upbringing when I don’t heavily promote myself. That I shortchange myself when I am not with people who see me as I am. And a person is never really done practicing…but I am done with this prep work and done reworking and retreading my mistakes and letting them unravel any good that came out of the mistakes I made.

A couple huge, key mistakes got made. So be it. Get over them and work. All birds fly away. I have done this before and this is how I learned to record myself and listen to myself.

It’s not even a good idea to put things in negative terms. Life will dish out disappointment. Instances where I do not win, get enough, get my way. I have to live for the love of the game. I’m so pleased to be learning hard lessons this time while Olympics are on. I can be cerebral watching attractive people in close fitting garments do physically demanding things.

This year I’m going to do that and NOT consume bags of Pepperidge Farm products.

So I am excited about the future. I don’t know where we are going but I have some new stuff I’m doing, both writing and music-wise, that is pretty neat. I’m scared, because I don’t have any idea what I’m doing; but I’m sure if I turn off the Internet, from time to time – for reasonable, non-anger inspired reasons (although getting mad is SOOOO valid!)…

well, I think I can do it!

also, in closing, sometimes something you saw that really hurt your feelings during a vulnerable time can give you a great, creative idea. Something you can build on and run with 🙂

“…I was in the right place”

Unrelated Thoughts in a @BlogathonATX Blog Post

1. #Griffpig broke:

I don’t know if you KNOW griffpig. It’s sunglasses. With attitude. It’s a griffin. It’s a pig. It’s griffpig.

2. I have been Over-Tweeting at BlogathonATX. Like SERIOUSLY over-tweeting. You are probably a bit steamed-yet-dedicated and i am SO impressed that you have sat through all this malarkey on the Twitter feed (if you have) and are still here reading this fun blog. a COOKIE for you!

3. I’m actually trying to keep my spirits up a little bit. I’ve gotten a few kilowatts of bad news in the last hour-ish. I can handle it. I have actually been doing pretty well lately. Not PERFECTLY, but pretty good. And that may not be all my loved ones can ask for – because invariably people expect more from me; but it’s the best I can do and I will always strive to be better. Perfect even.

4. By the way, don’t forget Denise New Year. Not like you would forget your hat, anyway, but like you would remember your keys or your phone or something. Take it with you. You can change it to your own name, if you want.

5. I am really enjoying the blogathon.

I was having a problem on my blog where I thought I had more traffic than I did and it turns out that I really didn’t. I was blue. But if I do not have any REAL traffic on this blog, it is not anyone’s fault but my own. I think that’s the REAL problem. I want instant success with no effort. I feel that I am entitled to it because I am talented and I am cool. But this is not the Way it Goes. I have to connect, and I have to Care (which I do! I really Actually Do…sorta 😉 ..) It’s the same way in music in Austin, with my writing, with a lot of things. I sent off a querry letter today, and have been networking like a mad-woman.

[post publish admission: no I haven’t. I’ve been tweeting like a madwoman… ack.]

6. The next topic will be business vs. personal blogging. Needed here TO BE SURE. You know, or not. Who knows these things? I wonder if people like all my crap.

6. I am going to go now because I feel a little sick and shy all of a sudden. I can’t even ask my tech questions. I feel really dumb today.

I’m going to be even better here next year. I did tweet that I was going to take over the world so we ARE still sticking to THAT. 🙂 Too damn bad if I feel stupid!!!

Unrelated Thoughts in a @BlogathonATX Blog Post

lobster olympics

Here is a list I started a while ago, but it’s relevant today, so I changed some stuff and out it goes.

1. Duality is on for two more days over at Geeky Pleasures. I’ve triple-quadruple sexdaduple blogged about it, so there we go. There’s links all up and down this particular blog thang’s main page. I think there’s even one for Geeky Pleasures.
2. If you are a artifictioner, there’s some other lists there.
3. I’m going through a transition phase. I’ve written two sets of song lyrics about it. One was really good. But I think the second one REALLY shines. Too bad my computer is a mess, and I have only put out the song about the insane asylum which fit neatly into a song contest Prompt (more on that later)
3-and-a-half. This is not That Blog about That.
4. I think I just reached a break-through in organization.
5. I’m disappointed though. I wanted to upload an old track that I didn’t realize was finished, even though it’s not finished. Except that it is finished. Or not. Lots of “Ack” on this one.
6. I learned over the past couple of days that just because I am a Xondorian; this does not mean that I am not a person. I’m complicated and require effort. I guess I’m “weird,” which has been discussed before. I’m okay with this. But it’s tough to sustain the attention span for that.
7. I have been thinking much about outlook this week. How I should feel and how I should be. I don’t like the word “should.” I like the word “me.” I know there is a word “is;” that it “is what it is.” Nobody really knows what’s going on. I think too much about these things. But what if I decided to be okay? I think when I expect the best, it shouldn’t really that laughable. I know that I said reality doesn’t respect desire … but reality is a thing to be pushed through and moved off to the side and shoved and said excuse me to – like passengers on a train, or water, or wheat. It’s malleable. It’s not a wall you can’t climb or a box you can’t get out of. If your reality is a bucket and your people are lobsters pulling you down… well I’m not sure what the exit strategy is for that. I did it once and it was messed up! What I DO remember about that though is that you can’t FORCE other lobsters to come with you if you are determined to “level up.” you can extend your hand, or remain linked with your team, or just whatever it is you do. But you can’t FORCE people on board with you. It’s just not possible.

Water CAN actually move uphill, but it takes effort and is expensive. Ultimately, you have to decide if a Thing is Worth the Trouble; or if it’s Trouble at all or a Pleasure. Is the water going to look very pretty moving uphill, like at a beautiful fountain at a restaurant? something really nice?

You have to decide if you love it.

I want to evolve.

8. All my projects are about the same thing right now. I’m at that comfortable place where I’d do these things if I wasn’t getting paid, which is good because I’m not. I am a lucky little thing to have these luxuries. I know that there’s a trade off too, and that I am extremely UNlucky with the lottery ticket I got for so many other things. It could so easily be that I could have no resources and MUCH trouble. And the trouble I would have with no resources would be mighty. Sometimes, I do give myself credit and think that perhaps alone I COULD find my way out of a paper bag, as I did once long ago. Sorta.

It’s also BAD because I’m not getting paid though – because I SHOULD be, because I’m good at what I do. I would rather not do aspects of what I do TO get paid that make me too sick to my stomach to have leftovers for what I love. I have to look at everything with a critical eye. Is the money worth it, are the people worth it, will I level up (this is actually important and a real concern – and it’s not realistic not to look at things this way because access to inner rooms is Useful and Important)? Is it a pain in the ass?

Do I love it?

9. Sometimes if you love something it must take a back seat to these other practical things. Your duty calls. Of course, at some point there is health to consider. Are you killing your own soul? If you have given up practicing the piano because you are too busy managing your social networking because there’s too much crap on your desktop; does this make your soul hurt? Can you do some juggling? (the answer is yes, I learned at an Extremely Useful blogging convention which made me stop thinking of the Internet as an Evil Time-sucking waste… but as a reality we can mold ourselves and put limits and boundaries to; because it is a Real World). I invested about two days of my time into really UTILIZING the lists of twitter, and into creating Facebook filters. Now I’ve cut my time in half and can zero in what I’m spending time on and why.

After all, life is tick-ticking away… and each minute I do something unpleasant is another win for some “The Man” in the sky or in The Pantry of Time or the weirdos sitting on the Lobster Jury back at the Pooliard School of Crustacean Music. #thatwasbad #ihashtaggedablog

10. I am still not good at this yet. The clearing of my mind will make this better. I will get smarter and more organized about where things should go. Already, clutter is falling off. I’m deleting things like mad and it feels really good. There are still uncertainties, but I have a Trustable Gut.

11. I wonder if any of the lobsters ever loved their way out of the bucket. Because any time I do anything with Heart, that’s when I get somewhere. It may not be where I was aiming, but it’s to another level of some kind.

12. There has been synchronicity all around. People have been reminding me that there are patterns and signs and that my feelings are valid and true and real. And that it’s okay. And that I’ll be okay. I am not a problem.

lobster olympics

so lucky

I feel lucky today, or blessed, or whatever.

I’m not going to pretend that I don’t have any problems. I’m not going to pretend that I don’t have a very confusing life. Sometimes I feel really lost sometimes.

Mike and I don’t celebrate valentines day. We’re probably just going to make pasta and watch TV. We used to throw parties and do things with and/or for our single friends. We tried to celebrate once or twice. We are not a traditionally “romantic” couple. We had a couple of years of that sort of thing. You change over the years, if you are in a very long term relationship with someone. I am not sure what we will be like eight years from now, which will be the twentieth year of marriage. It’s a strange thought. I hope I’ll have more substantial, real world asset to bring to the table. I feel like maybe I will.

I feel thankful today.

We keep a lot of secrets, him and I. Other people’s and our own. He’s got his own things that he does and I don’t pry. We have mutual respect for one another. He supports my pursuit of success in this “thing” I’m trying to do – whatever it turns out to be. I am slowly piecing it together. It looks and evolves differently every day.

The word evolve has love in it. It’s hard NOT to notice this when you are typing that.

I have not been focusing on my own solo things much lately. I need to make some changes in that vein. But this does not bother me that much. And there are many reasons for this.

1. I have been Not Well, and am only now starting to emerge from it.
2. I have to continue to take things slowly
3. I am going to have to build back up to where I was on a lot of my material, especially the piano
4. I’m going to have to reconstruct contacts and a lot of my fanbase, especially the real people fanbase.
5. Honestly, I’ve been trying to make Duality stick, because I need it to work.

Why do I need this to work? Is this a question that I am supposed to answer? Is it anyone’s business? Is it even MY business? What is the difference between the work that we’re doing and what my own stuff looks like? What’s the difference between one of his tracks, one of my tracks and a Duality track? What’s the difference between the two of us? What are we making? Is it worth saving? Is it worth growing?

The tracks we seem to like the most, that resonate the most; are the ones that other people have the least amount of feeling for. Or that have been criticized the most in the contests. Things that have been debated around a bit. Maybe this has been time constraints. Production. This sounds familiar to me because of how my first Spintunes contest went. The one where I fizzed out in the third round.

I think maybe this is not just a Duality thing, but this is something that affected Joe because of me. This routinely happens to me a lot, because I often like tracks that are not understood by others. I was talking to a friend in our artificion community tonight and told her that I had 4 strong songs, no make that five with Joe. I really think it might be more like seven if you count Duality in there. But those aren’t necessarily my favorite.

I really like the instrumentals that I do and that is what I wanted to do when I was young. I wanted to compose. Conduct. Control orchestras. Make them do what I wanted. I see extras on movie box sets, the soundtrack portions; and I get jealous. I think that should be me up there, doing that… if these series of stupid things hadn’t happened… it so WOULD have been…

Anyway …
‘Triangle.’ Would that have been a Denise Hudson track with a sampled guitar (ft. Joe ‘Covenant’ Lamb)? No. I wouldn’t have put it out that way. We have other stuff coming up that might be things we do ourselves that we’d use each other on. I used Joe on my taco track (he didn’t like it) … but he didn’t even HEAR ‘Triangle’ until the listening party – I arranged the entire thing. Methodology-wise, very much a Denise-Hudson track. But it went to Duality, because of the way that he put together his guitar track, completely experimental, not done “correctly” recorded from far-away, with a new amplifier … just a jam, with a pick..

I am not sure what makes something a Duality track except that I feel that we have a mission. It’s a place to do things we can’t do alone. We are talking about freedom, and love, and fear, and sadness … we want to hit things that one would normally avoid, perhaps. We go on a bit too long. We are a bit too epic or soaring or lengthy. Saying things that are a little uncomfortable. The lyrics are a bit too abstract. Or they cut right through. I dunno. There is no chorus. Other comments about some of the silly things that we’ve done… but everything smooshes together somehow – sometimes by accident – in purpose. It’s weird.

I don’t know that I’ll ever write a story of a song about any of our tunes. I might about ‘Triangle’ just because it is so interesting and I was so sad and it helped so, so much. I know I will probably revamp ‘St. Andrews.’ I may work really hard one day to pull out a perfect performance of ‘End of the World.’ I am already doing these types of things for ‘Invisible Girl’ and I’m trying to learn a live version of ‘Duality Cupcake.’

That is all I have to say.

so lucky

Static Cling

I’m gearing up for something so I thought I’d just get organized and write something now. Maybe I’ll stick this on the internet and maybe I won’t. I’m getting pretty sick of myself, that’s for sure. Something has changed inside me, that’s for sure.

I am a person who likes to hide and likes things quietly to be loud. I like to hide in the chaos of things. It helps me to decide on courses of action so slowly that they don’t really feel like firm decisions at all. But I don’t really DO a thing until I have made a committment. Not until a proclamation has been made. I wasn’t married until I GOT married. I don’t go on a trip until I get in the car and back out of the driveway, or wheels lift into the plane, or the boat pulls away from the dock. I’m not out of the audience and performing and seperate from one world into the next until the chords have ushered me into the song and I’ve started to sing. And even then, during all of these seemingly permanent things, I am negotiating escape strategies. Maybe except for the last scenario. I am pretty impervious to sabotage-y thought in performance. Maybe because I don’t get traditional performance anxiety.

I think I’ve been dragging my feet on some of my projects that need doing because I am scared of the next phase of things. This has happened before in my artistic development. I think I am scared of striking out and I am afraid of change. I think that my next bit of change is going to involve being more improvisatory and it’s going to involve being more of an individual. I think that I am scared to really OWN it.

I think that I am in that “waiting for something” phase of rest and that is never a healthy place for me. There is too much time to think. Too much time to think is NEVER a good thing for me. This is why lists (and I don’t mean my bloggity type), are so very important to me.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. I don’t like little sayings like these. But there is a reason that things become rote. It’s because there is a certain truth to them. I am an easy believer of things that feel good, and I want things to turn out for the best. I will run from a challenge and an oppurtunity for growth because I don’t want to hurt. But at some point, I will suck it up, and go back to the climbing wall. I’ll see a sitch for what it is. I’ll slap myself across the face. And I’ll climb up and over and onto the next thing.

Because I’ve been sitting inside my house for too long and staring out the window thinking destiny is coming for me. It’s not. I have to go out and make destiny. And I have to stay on my toes. Because eventually, every single thing I do gets old and loses its effectiveness. Every video, every photo, every song, every lyric, every blog, every poem, every piece of me. This is the nature of things, if you choose the internet.

This is why if you don’t take time for yourself, you become that reactionary soulless blob that lately, I’ve started to recognize in the mirror. And there’s nothing less sexy than the desperate.

Maybe it’s just over-stimulation. Both in real-time and imaginary. Something to think about as I sit here staring at my gnomes and my monkey. Yeah. I have a monkey. He’s chubby and grey and lives on my table.

Maybe if I finish compiling NaNoWriMo I’ll get another gnome.

Static Cling

I like my eggs runny..

1. I had several moments of Clarity today and they felt Real Nice.
2. I think that taking a different course of action at a pivotal moment is a smart thing to do. And I am ready for improvement. I look for patterns and learn from them.
3. I feel change in the air.
4. I have decided to honor myself a little bit more, because I haven’t been doing that and it sucks.
5. On that, many Austin musicians have this thing where they will work for free. This is because they have to do it. Well, I have this philosophy and it bleeds over onto so many things. I have started Not Valuing My Time or my Effort.
6. I think that if I make effort on something or take time to make beautiful things or even just exist, I should go where the appreciation and the compensation are. I should head toward the things with oppurtunity. The things with benefit. I am not trying to sound mercenary. This is just part of the “honoring yourself” thing. It’s the better way.
7. I think I will stop taking shortcuts. Because I’m NOT just working for me, I’m working for people who are Appreciators of Me too. It’s a circle.
8. I think I will go with my gut and use my training and my instinct and trust myself.
9. I am valued, and worth the effort. I don’t like or understand this making it real easy for the customers and the fan base thing.

My fans aren’t stupid.

People who like my work like complexity and they like puzzles. They like to take extra time and they like to figure things out. They like the relationship of humans to other humans and they like their eggs a little runny.

Maybe metaphorically, but still …. 😉

I will try not to be a hermit. I will try to extend a little more. I will work a little harder to get out there. But it would be kinda nice to be pursued. Because living in this day and age makes me feel a little bit like we live in a Sadie Hawkins-culture as a backlash to the push for equality. I know that’s a horrible thing to say because i am not supposed to think about myself as a Demure thing that needs to be Pursued. I am supposed to put on Power Shoes and a Power Suit and go out and Publicize my wares in a clever way to my Fans. I would do this if I was a professional.

This is not really the Xondorian way. I am a subtle creature. Much of my mystique is lost. I know. I used that word. Ironic. Twisty. Silly, perhaps.

I want there to be some perfume in this thing. I know the only way I can do that is to get good at my sound, so this is why I will keep working my ass off learning what I’m doing.

I guess this is why I’m addicted to Songwriting Contests. And why I’m writing about being Addicted to Songwriting Contests. And addicted to making pianos. And addicted to blogging about these things.

And just generally being neruotic.

I like my eggs runny..