See Saw Margery Daw.

The see-saw: playground fun, or converted medieval warfare apparatus?

Whenever I reach more than 50% completion on any phase of any project, it’s as if I just finished walking up one side of a seesaw. For that entire first half of the trip, you can actually convince yourself that this is a static system you are climbing. And somehow, like climbing a mountain, you’ll reach the top and have time to look around and enjoy the view.

The truth is much more terrifying in my experience. I reach that halfway point, and I realize that just like a seesaw, this is the most unstable moment in the life of the project. The whole board has to flip to the other end, hopefully without flipping me onto the playground gravel at the same time. And what the project needs and what you can give it are not always in agreement. Do I need to balance here for a short spell, or do I need to move as quickly as possible and run to the other end before I fall off? The project might need to pause, but I may not have the time to wait. I might need to hurry, but doing so could snap the project (and me) in half.

So that moment is always tricky for me, because before the half-way point, it’s still just an idea that might get finished someday. I rarely even consider that part work. Once I’ve crossed that line, though, I have to finish it. The weight of it all shifts in my head and I (mostly) careen downhill to the finish. Sometimes, it’s graceful. Okay, it’s very rarely graceful. But it’s always fun, even when it isn’t.

The terrifying thing right now? I have, let’s see . . . one, two, three, four, five . . . at least five projects that are all hovering right around this spot, and at least two of them are going to end up tipping over at about the same time. Oh well. I don’t really enjoy leisure, and there’s nothing on TV anyway.

See Saw Margery Daw,
Jacky shall have a new master;
Jacky shall earn but a penny a day,
Because he can’t work any faster.

I just don’t want to end up like Jacky. He sounds rather lazy and unproductive.


More And More Analog.

I simply CANNOT pull this off. It's one at a time for me.

It’s been pretty quiet around our house for the last twenty months. Relatively speaking, of course. I play music and sing almost every day, and I always keep a guitar in the front room, to pick up whenever the desire strikes me. But since my daughter showed up, I have shifted from electric guitar to acoustic. Obviously, the driving force behind the shift is just the volume. There’s a very simple reason why Fender doesn’t have much income thanks to the lullaby market.

The shift has felt quite dramatic, mainly because I had really devoted myself to electric guitar almost the entire year before that. I also finally have my own piano (hooray!), but of course I also can’t play that after she goes to bed. So I’ve even been forced to work out my piano songs on acoustic guitar at night.

Thank the maker for forced limitations.

I am now in the middle of an unbridled love affair with acoustic guitar. (My wife knows about it, and roundly approves. She is a very understanding woman.) At times, I feel as if you would have to pull it out of my hands with a tow truck. Every time I pick it up, I find something new. And it’s just so EASY to deal with. No cords, no plugs, no pedals, no levels. No worries. It’s pure simplicity.

This period of my life is also forcing me to write differently, and my current relationship with my acoustic guitar is facilitating that change as well. The new songs are absolutely different, but really I just feel that they are more me. They have to be stronger from their beginning, because I have to buy it when it’s basic. The other marvelous thing is that this setting allows for elaboration from the beginning. I can hear all kinds of different instruments and arrangements for these songs. They aren’t married to this setting, but they are strong here. And that tells me they have the ability to be strong wherever I take them.

Mostly, though, it’s nice to know that when I am leaving the house to play a set, I will always have one hand free to open doors with.