improvised music is the new newness

lately. i’ve been into the band. new ideas. new modes. it’s nice. i thought i woulda been more bummed that the rories stopped. but by the end, it was feeling like too much. too much responsibility. too much being in charge. not enough being part of a group. don’t get me wrong. i loved it. it was fun. but i think it had run its course and now we’re on to the next thing. the rories had been moving in that direction anyways. freeform. open-ended. improvised. and that seems to be what this new group is. open ended. we’re working on it. figuring it out. figuring out how to play with each other. what to play with each other. what musics. what instruments.

which is fun for me. playing new things like drums. trying to figure out how they work. sleigh bells – a christmas present from h’s sister. the sleigh bells rule. a keyboard that’s been sitting in my closet for years. now i’m playing all these things. and anything i can get my hands on. like a melodica. i wish i still had my harmonica. i wonder where that got off to. and yes i’m still playing my guitar also. it’s a nice feeling to be trying new things, making new sounds (new for me) and learning to interact musically with new people.

it can be frustrating. some nights. when we’re off. not coherent. but that’s the nature of it. and it seems like we’re getting more comfortable with each other and the music and it’ll continue to improve.

we still don’t have a name yet. some terrible ideas have been thrown around. maybe i’ll write them down later. we’ll see.



I’m spending so much time playing guitar. Hours and hours just standing in front of my amp electric guitar hanging from my shoulder. Red and white. Sometimes I watch my hands move in the reflection of the tv screen. Sometimes in the mirror. I watch my hands move from fret to fret. Fingers picking out a melody. My brain gets confused watching myself play in the mirror – it’s all backwards I inevitably fuck it up while watching myself play. Like a taboo. Something not to do – watch yrself play an instrument.

It’s too much tho. I play all the time. I think cuz I’ve gotten to the point where it’s easier than it was before. To the point that it’s like a new vocabulary. And what’s a new vocabulary other than anew obsession. New words new means of expression. That detracts from my first obsession – writing. I should be spending hours and hours scribbling in notebooks reacquainting myself with words. With structure. W/sentences. w/my shorthand.

My shorthand. These scribbles that look kind of strange now. Unfamiliar. A novelty. I actually notice my handwriting. It’s been so long – it’s so foreign that I notice it.

It’s because music is easier right now. I don’t have to think with music. I just fuck around until something works. There’s less fucking with writing. At least for me. If I’m fucking around with writing – I feel like I’m wasting time, ink, paper, energy…

Wasting. Because writing random sentence fragments is not practice. I don’t have the same luxury as people who draw. Who can doodle and attempt to draw something. Just do it and have it be practical. Have it be practice. I suppose technically I could look at an object and waste a page describing it but it would just be waste. Because my joy in writing comes from structure and sequencing – the construction of the narrative. This requires output – meaningful output. Pieces that come together and make a whole. Output. Empty descriptions do not work for me.

I write all this totally overlooking the issue. Why is it easier to play guitar than it is to write. Why do I spend all my time playing guitar thinking about writing. My mind always on writing. My heart wants to be there…

It’s because of what I mentioned before about structure and construction. I feel safest when I have a plan for the overall story – the heart – the guts – the idea. A purpose a reason a goal. I don’t have this right now. Haven’t had it for a while. I’ve been too busy reordering my life telling myself I have nothing to say. Listening to sad music. I’m at the point where I just feel like if I don’t have a purpose a tangible goal a series of pieces a story to tell – then why bother.

When I made zines before – when I first started making zines – I would publish whatever random notes – scraps, bits, torn words, it didn’t matter – there wasn’t a story there. They were purely independent from each other. I was happy with that.

But that was ten years ago.
Now I need that crucial thematic link.

Those links used to come easy. I just wrote about my adolescence. Growing up. High school mostly. Easy. Who doesn’t have shit to say about their high school experience. Yay. I felt ostracized and alienated. Who didn’t. it served its purpose though. But I’ve kissed it goodbye – got it all out of my system. I have nothing left to say about high school. It was over ten years ago.

So I just have to wait for some experiences to accrue. No problem no sweat.