Monthly Archives: February 2013

About the drawing thing…I was going to post about it on dA instead of here, and with actual drawings, but ehh, there’s no reason to block myself from spitting it out while my mind is on it.

I realized not only that I need to be doing more stupid messy =free= drawing, but also that despite the fact that I’m linking my weekly drawing to OHC, the process of that weekly drawing, as well as what I get out of it, is really nothing much like what I get from OHC.  I’m not trying to just create as much as I can, nor am I using that sort of “just keep the flow going” mindset like I am with OHC.  So it’s really much different.  I think about it too much, and that stifles it.  And I realize, that’s the same as music…whenever I think too much about a song that I want to make, and lay out the structure before actually starting on it, it always becomes really difficult.  Because the “direction” that the song “speaks” is not necessarily the same as the structure that I laid out for it in my mind beforehand.  I can’t know that ahead of time.  That’s why I stopped doing that, and I know nowadays that I work best if I let the song write itself, instead of trying to force anything onto it.  I know that other artists work better in other ways, but I’ve found that this way is best for me.  Starting from the beginning and writing till the end, that’s how I do it.

The other thing I noticed, when I was thinking about it, is that there are some certain things about drawing that are actually really wonderful, that don’t come up in music.  Although music has that element of time, that I think is really wonderful, there are these things about drawing.

When I draw, I can make these “whatever” sketch lines and then just kind of rub over them and eventually the collection of stokes will settle onto something more coherent.  That’s really cool!  That’s something that I think doesn’t have an equivalent in my world of music.  I can’t just put some “scratch” notes without knowing what I’m doing, and click a bunch of random notes here and there and eventually have it settle onto something that sounds good.  Of course, I can doodle around on a piano or something, but the difference here is that in drawing, that initial mess can actually still be -there- at the end of it all, and won’t mess up with anything too much.

And then I also think it’s cool, how when you’re doing something like those random stroke base drawings, where you just start with some random squiggly thing, and then base off of that to make a drawing…that’s something that I don’t think really exists either, in my music world.  How you can just go and let your hand do something totally arbitrary, with so little objective in it, and then stem from there and get who-knows-what.  In music I can plop down a random sustained note with a pad or something, that’s probably the smallest “element” that I can do, but even that one note by itself already has so much implied meaning compared to the random squiggly line, I feel.

And it’s a shame if I don’t actually let these two things happen, when I draw, I think.  Especially the first one, because it means that I’m letting the drawing draw itself more…just like, I can’t tell what a song will be, until I’m in the middle of the process of writing it…perhaps it’s easier to “see” the drawing by -drawing- it, not by thinking about it.  And that’s the way that I do music.

Picking up a second art form is really quite interesting, to see these kinds of parallels, isn’t it?  You could say a lot of the same things about my writing, actually–most of the thoughts and dialogues that I have when I write aren’t ones that I planned beforehand, but stem out of connections to what I’m writing.  The writing is always from beginning to end, just following the thought of my mind as it winds through various things.  It has that sort of quality to it.  I like to have things flow like that.

Speaking of flow, I was talking about my dancing and everything, and I’ve been saying how some of my favorite variations are the ones where I don’t even touch the follow…because what could possibly be “softer” than not touching them altogether??

I love how my personality shows through in my dancing.  I really do, and I really believe that it speaks through in all of the choices that I make when I dance.

“Overwhelming” is the word I often use to describe it, like, “life is just so overwhelming”…I don’t really know if that’s the right word, though, because it’s not like it’s coming “at” me.  Maybe “daunting” is closer to what it feels like.  It’s not really that I’m scared or anything, just feel like there is so much everywhere, in all of life, and all I want to do is curl up and be held by someone I love.  Maybe this is part of growing up?

It’s still really easy for me to cry…heh.  I don’t know whether it’s pitiful or beautiful.  I guess both, in a way, but neither is something to be ashamed of.  I’m pretty proud of who I am, really.

Wow, it’s 10:45PM and i’m just….really really tired.  This week is crazy in a lot of ways.

Great, now I’ve started trying to inflate my xanga post count by using xanga instead of status updates in an attempt to not feel bad about not posting here more often.  Well, at least I’m conscious of it.

I saw a Yamaha piano at Viennese Ball, and was really tempted to just start playing something, to start doodling around like I used to in the old days.  I didn’t, and I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t have, but it would be nice to sit down again sometime, with a nice piano, and just play around with the notes.  I’m now firmly an electronic producer, and the songs that I make that way are more beautiful than anything else, but there is still something really cool about just having your fingers “speak” the music themselves.  You’re more connected to the music, in a way, I guess.

It’s a shame…I realized last night, I think, that the reason I post so much less here nowadays is not because I have less thoughts, but rather, because I have thoughts that I would rather not share.  What changed?  Maybe the subject of some of the thoughts is different…maybe it’s just that things are more personal now, so I can’t have the wrong people reading them.  And even if I have strong opinions on something, maybe it’s better to just leave that unsaid and unspoken.

I think I discovered that what I need to do in order to improve at drawing isn’t to do a weekly drawing each week, but just do a bunch of crappy doodles on 8.5×11″ paper.  Maybe if I can start using my sketchbook as an actual sketchbook, then that would be nice, but I don’t know if it “feels” right.

So yeah, I missed my weekly drawing this past week.  Not because of the above, but because this week was just terrible for me, ugh!  Viennese Ball was soooooo great, I really needed that.

Not sure if I should still keep going with the weekly drawing…I probably should, actually.  I guess that’s my one chance each week to do something that’s slightly more polished, or at least “supposed” to be slightly cleaner.  Though I don’t know if any of my sketchy pencil work has ever been “clean”, I think only my tablet stuff was ever any degree of neat.

Sometimes I feel like I like people better when they’re sad than happy.  Definitely not always, definitely not, but sometimes.  Not sure how to feel about that, exactly.  But sometimes people have too much energy when they’re happy…perhaps it feels like they’re more on my level of existence when they’re in a more somber mood.  I know that during junior and senior year, I grew very close to Kiki, but at the same time I also kind of always missed the way that she was before…more quiet, more available, perhaps, and it seemed less like she was just fighting off hordes of people and running from place to place.  It was because she was kind of depressed, she told me later.

But I really didn’t mind spending those quiet times together with people when they’re not feeling so good.  Maybe it just makes me feel valuable and worthwhile if I can provide for someone in that way.

It really makes me happy that Kiki, and my other friend, still value that in me.  Because I went/am going through this period of uncertainty and change and everything, and at times I was/am afraid that I had lost a bit of who I am.  To hear that reaffirmation that I’m able to be that quiet person who is just there to be there, as a warm presence, that made me really happy.  That’s something that is very dear to me as a person.

When I watch people dancing, I guess the first thing I notice is that no one has the same style as me.  Especially the leads!  Man, I would never lead like any of the leads I see out there.  Okay, I take that back, there are maybe one or two who are close, to be honest.  Also, how can you all be satisfied with only doing one role???  You’re only doing half the dance!  And you’re only dancing with half of the people there!!!  So limited!

But the other thing I notice is how many people are off beat, or not really in sync with the music, or just totally oblivious to the music.  I can’t really fathom that.  What is this “musicality” thing that all the dancers keep speaking of?  I don’t really think about “musicality” in my dancing, because it’s just a natural thing.  I’m a musician–no, a composer and producer.  Music is the most important thing there!  It’s probably more important that my variations, more important than my partner, more important than anything!  It’s the music!  It’s wonderful!  Without the music, you wouldn’t be dancing!

So I don’t get it when people are totally misaligned to the rhythm of the music.  That defeats the whole point!  I guess I’m being a little unfair, after all some people are just busy going “left, right…left right left….” to themselves, and in their minds it’s just like, screw the music, I’m just trying to figure out the step pattern, gosh, it’s overwhelming!  But I see pretty decent dancers being completely off too!  What the heck?  Isn’t the whole feeling of Cha-cha lost if you don’t…you know, do the “cha cha” step on the “cha cha”?  What the heck??  That’s also the whole reason that lindy is better than 6-count swing, simply because the dance phrases match the music phrases.  That’s it!

Yeah, I dunno.  I guess I’ll never understand because I’ve been a musician all my life.  It’s just natural to choose variations that end on musical phrase boundaries.  There’s super-simple dance tools that you can use to align your variation ends, like adding an extra free spin at the end of something, and it’s super-easy to do, and if it makes my variation end on a phrase boundary, then of -course- I’m going to do that.  How would I not?  Sometimes I even feel like dance is too limiting for me to match with the music.  I don’t know of many dance moves that can accent a good climax on the downbeat in a good way, besides maybe just leaping into redowa.

But man…it’s the music!  The music, people, the music!  Seriously…and there are all these song selections that I kind of disagree with too.  Man, when -I- DJ my own dance, things are going to be different…yes, yes, yes, they will be different, indeed…*rubs hands together*.

Near the beginning of FNW today I was just feeling so musically inclined.  There was a waltz, and then a tango, and both of them got me into a really musically-thinking mode where I was just thinking about waltz rhythms, or tango-y rhythms, and stuff like that.  That was just another instance where I was like, man…I just want to quit dancing and make music instead…

Also, follow position is the best position in waltz.  So many variations are possible from the follow position!  Omg!  It’s the best, best, best, it’s better than shadow, or skater’s, or cradle, or anything.  It’s the best!  Did you know that you can learn new variations as a lead by learning new variations in follow position, and then learning how to backlead them?  It’s just like how you can learn new variations in reverse waltz by learning new variations from follow position in natural-turn waltz.  Awesome, right?