Technology and meaning

Hello, it’s Day 424 j/k…it’s just a day.  And I’m in shock right now because this 2nd album is getting so close to done, well WAS getting so close to done, when the computer I’ve been working on (not mine, Bryans) had some sort of malfunction…he’s asleep after a long day, and I don’t know what to do.  For about 3 days now, people have been encouraging me to push this 2nd album out and get it done, but my inner rhythms have said PAUSE.

I didn’t know WHY they said pause, so I listened to others…

3 days of it.  And finally the COMPUTER forced me to pause.

What is that? Am I ascribing meaning to something random and coincidental?  Or is there meaning in the universe, when we’re not listening to CLEAR intuition, things slow us down or halt us until we DO listen?

I don’t know.

I just know that I hadn’t thought about the possibility of malfunctioning technology when I agreed to release something every month.

Probably too much in shock to know if I lost anything (anything I hadn’t backed up yet…I think THANKFULLY I backed up a few days ago)…

But we don’t have another computer that can run ProTools right now…well we do but…

I’m feeling the weight of my limited funds, and way too big dreams…

He’s using an old computer (the one I record on) but just bought a new one, for his work with a recording studio…and I can’t hijack that one (he was going to let me use/borrow indefinitely this one that’s now not working)…

Sometimes life feels super silly…I’m not saving anyone, I’m not curing anything…I’m just a little peon making songs, and hosting house shows, and making people smile or cry with my way of being.  And it feels good to be needed in this little world, but maybe this 12 albums thing is overkill.  I don’t know…I KNOW without a doubt that it’s for me.  To prove that I can, to be transparent about my prolific ways, to get over saving my life like this is some dress rehearsal while YEARS tick by with nothing done…

So I dunno, I’m ready I’m willing, and I’m poor haha.  I mean, I guess there are worse problems.  By a million.

So in rethinking all this…maybe I’ll go back to an old idea…a sketchy album cover I made late one night, and a rough album with all the songs on it on their purest form…citing the hard drive crash and overwhelm while living in “friends month.”  Basically this album of 23 songs w/ friends in em, or about friends, has reminded me of all the love that surrounds me and I’m terribly overwhelmed because in thinking about these people, I also fanned the flames of connection with all of them, AND with other friends…and the whole thing reminded me why I only have a few close friends usually and am otherwise an introvert, hiding in the shadows.  Being out in the light draws people to you, and when people are drawn to you, you take on their joys AND their sorrows…and I think everyone must have a different threshold for how many joys and sorrows they can hold in their skin.  Me personally, I was loving this friend album so much, and working on it EVERY DAY and then I got sick with pink eye and strep and felt like the universe FORCED me to slow down…and coming back from that, had to curate a 12 band/musician house show, that more or less PULLED me back out from that…antibiotic brain barely being gone, mind barely coming to, heart getting unflooded, looking around, coming up for air, seeing this puzzle and puddle of friends and frenemies and comparison to everyone in the industry, seeing all the ways I do it wrong, am not like my “competition” and am seemingly not trying…who am I letting down, who thinks what I’m doing is crazy, or social/career sabotage, on and on…I think I so enjoy being in my skin, taking walks, having a silly weird crazy flighty bird-loving nature-loving brain, that I forget that how I appear is possibly not as enjoyable as the experience of being me.  I probably appear all over the place at times, happy then emotional, etc…I don’t know.  I think there’s a lesson in this very crazy May.

I wish I knew what it was.

Thank you all for reading, if this helps you, or ignoring this, if it makes you think less of me.

❤ Jessica

p.s. if you come to my house shows, all I do is smile and hug people – and in a way that feels closer to the ‘real me.’  this feels like complaining with the hope of catharsis, and then I go away from it feeling untransformed sometimes, like this time, and i think…well if only i could just smile at everyone and hug everyone and feel the warmth of connection when I’m feeling sad at a harddrive crash and sleeping boyfriend and possible project rerouting (i.e. no fun layers to this album, just the original files from 365?)…I don’t know.  help!

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Hugging Nellie McKay…

There are few things that will change you more than hugging one of your biggest heroes and getting to tell her she changed your life (or saved?), and having her be so so kind and tell you to keep going with your music.

This post doesn’t make much sense, maybe I’m leaving out too many details haha (like I was sobbing, and it was the wordless parts that changed me, didn’t know we’d get to meet her at the merch table or I’d have emotionally prepared myself lol), I’m still 2 hrs from home in a Burger King drive thru getting coffee, maybe I’ll write more when I get home, or maybe I should save this moment for myself, but yea I just sat 10 feet from yet another hero of mine this year (some I’ve seen, some I’ve opened for or performed on stage with), and in this case I saw how real and surreal she was, all at once.  Her joy and energy and kindness and genuine talent and insight (those lyrics!!!) is absolutely bigger than life. My boyfriend always tells me that famous people are just people, and that helps me so much too, to keep in mind, but ALSO they put their gifts in the world and in this case her gift TRULY changed me from the inside out.  When I first heard her, during the hours and hours of repeated listens, and now again tonight.

Thank you Nellie. Forever a fan! (And friend in my heart, thank you so much for the warmth and kindness and hugs! 🙂 ❤️⭐️💕😊

Jessica

Balance…

So in my dreaming of things, I often get off balance…and then something or things bring me back to reality.

I wonder if that last post sent me to a strange place…almost wrote again the next day.

Like why complain when I did this to myself? 🙂

So here I am with pink eye and strep and day two of being off work, waiting til I’m non-contagious, and hopefully having a little more energy…my mind is a foggy sea and none of my plans feel very real right now.  Moved back more deadlines, trying to accomodate life.

This blog is very much for me, and anyone who has issues with BLOCKS in their creative life may get something from it.  I’ve had 3 new JiTR albums slated for 3 years, and haven’t prioritized them due to some MASSIVE fears…this 12 albums in 12 months process is a way of getting me over that, and sneaking those ones in here too, I hope.

I don’t know what makes some people so dang confident without all this “processing”. They seem to move from point A to B in their wants and thoughts to their execution.  That has never been me.  Self-help books, therapy, friends who get me, developing safe relationships and safe spaces to become has been crucial in my process…and I don’t know if I’d have ever released a single album as an adult without all that.

In fact I know I wouldn’t.  Dreamerism is strong in me, and in my blood 🙂

No offense to that, of course, just that the real world is gritty and it’s so easy to get wounded when we put ourselves out there.  Not to mention real wounds from my past, not sure ever how much to share about that…but let’s just say that healing from trauma, reframing experiences, and helping others do the same feels like my life’s work and purpose.  Tho really, had I gotten to have a trauma-free life, then I think my purpose would have been sharing joy.  So the hybrid of the two feels the most true.

I think if I’m really honest with myself, this month’s challenge is the hardest one of my adult life, and I’m trying to act like it’s fun and no big deal.

I have armor all around me, boundaries maybe, as a way to protect myself from further trauma.

And I hide it through friendliness, so most people don’t see this truth about me until they get to know me, if I even let them in.

This month I’ve compiled all the collaborations, and am doing more of them, not too many (my dreams said to do a million, or 20+, make everyone I know and appreciate feel loved and included…but the practicality of that, and it’s accompanying stress, is probably how I got so run down and then sick…), anyway…even with the downsized collaborations, I feel like I’m taking in the energy of others – massive amounts of others – in a way I haven’t done in a decade.  Or more.

Ever since my first drummer bailed on me, maybe? (cancelled on the day of a show?)

I’ve never really accepted the fact that I hold grudges.  Maybe not with specific people (rarely), but with the universe, with things not working out that I tried so hard on or wanted so much but didn’t work out.  And whenever there have been lots of those, something in me will shut down on a topic and write it off as “not me.”

One such topic was playing-with-others.  It’s why I perform alone so much.  And why this whole last year since cloudlight, and recently with welcoming old friends and new ones into playing with me on JiTR sets…and now why I’m even gonna edit and list all these collabs together in one place on my bandcamp.  Like a statement to the universe that yes I value and love these people…

And it’s hard because people break my heart all the time, like I talk a lot (duh) and I feel like I’m “too much” for many people, not all of course 🙂 and I’m so thankful for my posse of people.  But I think I’m learning that I used to live in black and white – either a person accepted ALL of me, or I put up a boundary with them.  I dunno, trauma is so weird.  I mean,  don’t even accept all of me…why should others?

Blogging is strange.  Who am I talking to?

I guess I felt like this last year, doing those check-in videos.  Still I said I’d do it.  I knew I’d want a record of how bizarre this album-a-month process would feel.  I knew it’s be hard or almost impossible.  So far the hardest is the interweaving schedule of deadlines…like I’m already working on June, July, August, and even OCTOBER deadlines.  Because of different levels of polish on those albums and projects.  One will hopefully be in studio, with others, so that involves coordinating and practice now.

Okay well, I’m still super sick despite starting the antibiotic today…feel like my body is tryin to sweat something out.  Maybe this helped?  I never know with my strange sensitive system.

Xoxo to all the gentle people, the world is infinitely better for your care.
Xoxo to all the passionate people, the world is moving forward from your dreams.
Xoxo to all the confused people, I think this is most common and nothing to feel ashamed of.  I think life is a process of untangling all the lies we’re taught as truths, and trying to find who we are amidst a sea of misinformation.  Hope you all find whatever feels like ‘yourself’ today.

Jessica

12x the busyness, things that fall thru cracks.

*Note to readers: this blog is part of a challenge, to release an album a month for a year. It’s a way of documenting the insanity of the process :)*

 

SO there is a reason people pace themselves, avoid things, focus on one project, wake up in their minds a year or two after a brainstorm, having not accomplished said brainstorm, beat up on themselves, without analyzing the reality of TIME…

That whole “to everything there is a season” thing is bouncing around in my brain right now.

It’s like I’m trying to have 12 seasons at once, without anything in my life suffering…

It feels like a trajectory, or like 12 trajectories, started simultaneously, without the boost of 12x the life force…I find myself getting sick, run down, tired.  Not sleeping well.  Not able to go for walks.  Etc.

Today is Monday, the day after my big yearly piano recital.  It was a WONDERFUL event, my students played super well, and I’m grateful yet again to have such a meaningful way to support myself.

But historically these would take a week of focused prep…well, 7 weeks of prep with the students, but even I would go to a headspace meant for recitals (or, music parties? they are unconventional, everyone plays only their favorite songs from the year, of any genre, and performance in them is optional…)

This year, I’ve done so much other work in the week leading up – practice with a drummer, recordings and field recordings, album artwork, tshirt design collaborations, reorders and orders of tons of merch, things that have fallen through the cracks in the past but something in me is trying to work 12x faster, 12x smarter, and be 12x better of a human.

It’s partly working, as this much effort is bound to succeed in some ways.

But it’s also exhausting, and I feel like something in my body is trying to get me to rest (about to go to the doctor for what may be a case of PINK EYE?!? I’ve never had pink eye…)

Deep breaths.  Intentions set.  I made a LIST.

Not my usual list.

Not a list of wishes and dreams all written all over, in a tree or thought bubble, with floaty dreamy Equal Importance.  But a LIST, like a bada*s list.  Where I assumed much would have to fall away.

“Choose your top 3 things” something in my mind said.  Like “I know you have 20 things between now and June/July that you want to accomplish, but CHOOSE your favorites – the ones you’d be the most sad to see fail.”

Priorities.

As an A-student crammer my whole life, all the way to scholarships and free trips to London, I CAN’T BELIEVE I never learned how to prioiritize.

But I haven’t.

I genuinely just push push push and leave til the last minute and do each thing right before it’s deadline, and get EVERYTHING done.

But I’m seeing that only works if your list is small enough that EVERYTHING is possible.

My list has grown so much that now, truly, everything I want to do IS NOT POSSIBLE.

With each new idea, the seed of another idea is born.

I’m getting better at delegating.

I’m getting WAY better at contacting people for rehearsals and collaborations with enough advance notice that they can actually get involved and/or (whoa!) be working on something while I’m finishing up another thing.

It’s like weaving, and I feel like my time use used to be a simple braid and now it’s becoming a complex friendship bracelet and even I don’t really understand or remember or know how to explain the pattern, but I can do it by feel.

Sooooo I like it.

But I don’t like that I’m sick.

Either my body is revolting (but excited).

Or it’s trying to get me to PAUSE.

At least long enough to see that I’m missing a point of course correction (last night I made 3 new lists, and altered my unrealistic deadlines 3x).

So I’m kind of into that.

The idea that my body knows what’s possible, better than my brain does.

So yea…if anywhere I said that I’d release things on the 9th, 12th and 20th of May, just FYI I’m shifting it later as new things came up, some of which are more important (by a lot!) than meeting these arbitrary deadlines.

So I know the new deadlines, still a release in May, but I’m wondering if announcing deadlines is an absurd extra pressure I don’t need.

Like yes, I want to honor friends’ bdays on the month of my friend ship album…but it’s ultimately also pretty cool that I’m even trying to release something less than a month after another thing.

Sometimes my objectives get so powerful and intense and foreboding that I forget to congratulate myself on even thinking of having that objective, and/or meeting it halfway or most the way.

Okay, off to get dressed and have my eyes looked at.

Wishing everyone peace and motivation and the balance between the two…

xo Jessica