Monday, December 21, 2015


Not coping.

No direction. Depressed thoughts. Emotional walls. Self-pity and self-frustration. Longing to escape. Nothing makes it worthwhile. Can't understand myself or others. Can't see a way to make things work. Can't seem to co-exist with anyone peacefully. Feel myself hopelessly continuing patterns of behaviour I've tried to change.

I usually write on this blog when I'm unhappy, which I've noted before. So... perhaps it's not all that bad.

Hopefully next year is better.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

With Certainty Comes Conflict

Sometimes, I'm a difficult person.

I guess everyone is difficult, sometimes. All of the permutations.
Person A is difficult at time 1 for Persons B and C but not Person D.
Person B is difficult at time 2 for Person C, although at time 3 is super friendly and happy with person C but difficult for person A.

Anyway, I'm difficult, at times. I kind of feel sorry for those around me, at those times. I know, I have plenty of good qualities. That's not what this is about. Everyone has issues, sure. That's also somewhat irrelevant.

I'm difficult but also quite sensitive to my difficulties and their effect on others. I think if I were insensitive it'd be a whole lot easier - at least only one of us would feel bad.

However, despite the crap, we muddle through. Even when things seem completely pointless or confusing. I think I have found some joy in knowing a path, of some kind, for my life. An uncertain path to be sure but... it has some clarity, and it suits me, at least for now. Then, when all the various activities seem to fit with that vision, that brings a rightness, a feeling of accomplishment, a sense of filling a niche in the world, doing something (or somethings) that are worthwhile.

I think in a previous post I lamented that these posts are always super general and not specific. I was planning to do some creative writing for my next post. Both ideas sound good. I can talk about what's actually happening in my life and in another post I can write some creative wordsies. Like that one. That was creative. I created it! Just then.

See what I mean. So difficult.

Monday, February 16, 2015

What to do next?

Keep working on your skills. Be a better person. Something will come up.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015


missing old friends.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Learning to trust

Sometimes I'm not willing to let go and trust that things will be okay. I find it really hard. Perhaps that's a side effect of always seeing the 'smaller picture', focussing overmuch on details, whatever you want to call it. Perhaps if I could do a 'big picture' view, take a mental step back, predict the likely outcomes, and observe the situation dispassionately, that would be easier. I'd realise that it would all work out, and my petty complaints that 'things aren't perfect' would appear unnecessary.

So I struggle with the more general kind of trust. It seems wired into me, somehow. Why? Don't know. I'm just uptight, probably. Hmm... Then there's the more specific, personal kind of trust. I'm not sure how trusting I am on a personal level. It would probably depend on the person, how well I know them, my relationship to them, that sort of thing. I feel sure I could be trusting for people close to me. But sometimes people point out that I'm not.

It would be interesting to test out trust levels. For a day, I could observe situations where I'm being asked to put trust in someone, or trust in a situation, and see what my response is/was.
With all such observations, I suppose there's a small chance that the observing process affects the outcome, but still... worth a try.

I guess in the end, if I want to change, I can. In any case, it's definitely possible to be *too* trusting...

Word of the day: dispassionate.
not influenced by strong emotion, and so able to be rational and impartial: she dealt with life's disasters in a calm, dispassionate way.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Dismissal of Detail

There are people in the world, like me, who are intent on 'getting it right'. People who notice and point out other people's mistakes. Editors. Correctness nerds.
I'm learning to let go sometimes. To allow mistakes, to let things slide.
The turning point can be summed up in a couple of phrases.
"You can't expect people to do something they don't want to do."
This one has been revelatory to me. All the goodwill and good intent in the world can't fix something that doesn't WANT to be fixed. If a problem needs your help, people will usually ask. Then the challenge is not to overstep what's appropriate for the situation.
It's difficult, then, to know whether to step in or not. Do you attempt to be proactive, and solve a problem, only to find out your help isn't welcome? Or do you sit quietly seeing as you haven't been asked, only to discover your help would have been invaluable! Every situation requires individual judgement and each person's own store of wisdom based on experience. My 'rule' is there as a guide only. But it's very useful.

My other decision:
"If an action or inaction affects everyone, then make it known. If it affects only yourself, fix it yourself. If it's of no consequence, leave it."
This one is about not making a bigger deal out of things than is necessary. It's about prioritising - what actually IS important for everyone to know, and what isn't. It's also about learning to live with inadequacies, insufficiencies, incorrectnesses, inconsistencies, and that is something that takes time... possibly a lifetime!

Never mind. Even if everyone around us isn't perfect, we can still be perfect.... right?! :P

Ha. Pursuit of perfection... never fear. I'm not that naïve.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Room travel

Looking back at one of my posts from last year, about cleaning my room. Well that made progress, but I thought I'd knock it over in 3 months, while writing a symphony! Yeah....right. Out of around 40 boxes of my stuff, I still have 7 to sort through. Why has it taken so long? My work methods are flawed. I want to read everything. I want to keep lots of things. I lack willpower and focus. These are things I am working on. A friend gave me some exercises to practise, daily, in order to help me keep my focus. As for reading everything, that may not change. As for keeping lots of things, I kind of despair a bit. I am in the habit of keeping things 'just in case'. I have improved. I don't keep everything now, but it's still hard to part with my things... despite never really looking at them.

This post was going to be about something completely different, namely, difficult decisions coming up about travel plans, whether or not I want to go places. But reading that older post about my plans for this year made me want to write about that. Sorting my boxes at the rate I've been going is almost a full-time job. It sounds so silly. How important is stuff? They're just things. We're together and that's all that matters. Anyway.

So, travel plans. Would you go play a gig somewhere if you had to fly there and back, and you weren't getting paid, and it was really close to Christmas, and you might not make rehearsals, and you had a week of stressful performances beforehand?

Ah, the muso life.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Keep on going.

Keep on going
Just keep on going
And then
When you're nearly there
Keep on going...

Until you get there.

And then

Keep on going.

Sunday, August 11, 2013


Dear others,

to counteract all the posts about deep and meaningful and mysterious subjects which are always hiding something, here's a post about the everyday.

So I did some sax practice today. Very rare. I'm sort of so-so about playing my sax, I like it but it doesn't thrill and enthuse me the way improvising on piano does. But I recognise that it's what I'm good at, and I see how it's probably the skill I've honed the most. Therefore it's useful. I'll try to keep it up.

I finished reading an interesting-but-not-so-relevant-anymore excerpt from my Teaching degree, about portfolios being used for assessment. And how standards-based teaching assessments are becoming the norm. Practically foreshadowing the NAPLAN tests. I don't know what year it was published but I'm pretty sure it was before NAPLAN came in. The reading was very much (like my Teaching lecturers were) about alternative methods of assessing kids, and how you can't just test them for what they can remember and spit out, because that doesn't represent how kids are really doing. Plus, it can have negative effects, they'll compare their scores and some may feel bad - even though that might not be their strength. There are many ways kids learn, some are more socially intelligent, some are more creative, and standardised tests don't detect or reward that stuff.

Anyway, to its credit the excerpt was saying you should use a variety of assessments, including tests. There's a place for everything.

I have to go to dinner.

My composing is going okay, but I'm running out of money, or at least I'd have to dig into savings if I want to keep going without a job. Maybe it's time to get something part-time.

Not sure where my life is heading.

Keep warm.

Monday, December 31, 2012

The Year 2012

An ode to the year gone, where 'ode to' means 'much abbreviated analysis of'.

I travelled to Canberra, met new people, had a great time. The first few months were awesome. I conducted, wrote music, helped direct some kids in Lord of the Rings, and played hacky sack. My artistic skills were being used more than ever before. I learnt about Steiner and his philosophies for teaching - an introduction. Visited the National Gallery, the National Library and jammed with some jazz guys at ANU.

 Then we travelled around Australia, 21 of us, teaching in schools, driving everywhere, and that was awesome too. I was in an accident though - a truck sideswiped our van coming over a bridge. Nobody was hurt, but my friend who owns the van was extremely upset. Sadly, the van, which had been her home for years, wasn't salvageable. Over the year, my relationship with my girlfriend suffered. We kept in touch and kept trying. The tour ended in the tiny NSW town of Uki (yoo-kye, rhymes with pie) where the school had only about 50 kids, or some such tiny number. I could see Mount Warning from my hosts' house.

Then the choir went overseas! First stop Taiwan. Wow, travelling with musicians, being hosted by local families, strict schedules of performances and teaching grade 1 and 2's, scenery and activities, everything new and interesting. And tiring! By the time we got to Beijing, everyone was tired and/or sick. That's where Mags and I went on a break. Later, she sent me an email saying she didn't want to get back together. The tour continued in Russia, 3 days of train travel to Moscow, then Europe. After Russia, Europe was welcome, a little less scary without angry train guards. Latvia was full of beautiful food and the capital city was my first experience of a European 'old town' - usually found in the city centre. Estonia was a wonderful experience, the language, lovely people, the culture that has survived years of oppression by various other countries. Finland, astonishing architecture of St. Petersburg, choirs galore in a 'Singing World' choir festival, Germany, Autobahns! Then the stunning mountains of Austria, passed through them on our way to Lake Balaton in Hungary. We stayed there for a while, rehearsing and preparing for the hectic performances we had coming up, re-working the Ring Bearer play (LOTR) and perfecting our choir pieces. Here, I finally revealed to the choir my secret project of making a piece for everyone. Some enthusiastic people started to sing them. Budapest, one of my favourite cities of the tour, and a heaven-sent week rehearsing with an inspiring conductor of a Waldorf choir. He made me think strongly about the way I was singing. He made each note important, every nuance crucial. Also, his choir was heaps of fun! Venice - could've spent ages in Venice, canals, bridges, tiny shops. Driving through Italy, one hairy moment when a truck tried to merge in front of me without looking. Almost had a heart attack, but he acknowledged his mistake as I drove past. Drove into Switzerland across the mountains. A week teaching year 10s and 11s, sleeping in the classrooms. A week in Germany teaching workshops - finally, my years of German study were used!! Discovered that I have much more German to learn... our hosts were awesome and clicked perfectly. Another week in Switzerland, sleeping in a yurt in the front yard. Then finally - the week off! Like every good road trip, loaded the car with awesome people, great music, drove through Geneva and into France. Stayed a few days in the peaceful Taizé monastery. Drove through France with no co-driver, making some 8-hour days of driving for me. Medieval Carcassone, walled city of wonder, then the Camino trail into Spain, walking around 24 kms every day, then ferrying the cars back and forth each night to catch up with us. No wonder I was exhausted... finally arrived in Pamplona in the middle of a wild festival celebration with loud crackers going off every 30 seconds, brass bands, people everywhere, cute streets and wide alleys. A couple more cities in Spain, Bilbao and San Sebastian. According to the local people, this area is Basque, not Spanish. The Basque want independence from Spain.  A magnificent concert in Bilbao, one of our best ever. Driving through France again to Cherbourg, where the ferry workers were on strike. Most of the choir made it to England except the four drivers, who had to return the cars. We had an extended stay in the picturesque French seaside town Roscoff. Poor us! We languished there awhile, with our red wine and our hotel rooms, until the ferry to England could be managed. England shocked me in so many ways, mostly the crazy hedgerow lanes which the locals would zoom along as though nobody could possibly be coming the other way! New cars in England - I drew the short straw for the luggage van, but it wasn't so bad. Having only one person to talk to was a nice change from six! Staying in Totnes we saw Dartmoor, I had a professional massage for my hard work driving on the Camino, and we spent time rehearsing my pieces for performance in York..... on the way to York, we visited the astounding Wells Cathedral. And in York - the WORLD PREMIERE of my choir piece, Night Walk, and four of the name pieces... I could've died with happiness! Kids loved us at this school. I met a guy from Bendigo living in York... stayed with a friendly teacher named Helen. Two days driving North took us to Kirkwall, in the Orkney Islands, Scotland - incredible scenery, almost no trees, windy, cold, sea all around, heather and heath, peat bogs, ancient civilisations (5000 years old!) ... and small but appreciative audiences. And Scottish accents. A divine week staying in a house with no hosts, myself and 3 others cooking and looking after ourselves for once... driving back to Heathrow airport we passed through the quaint town of Berwick-Upon-Tweed by the sea, could have spent longer there. Well finally England was done and we flew to India for two weeks. The noise! The car horns! The bikes, the tuk-tuks, the colours! The spices! A delightful week teaching recorder in Bangalore with Dutch hosts, the local school small and dirty, but enthusiastic and fun kids. Best train trip ever North to Hyderabad (fearing the worst) where we had entree, mains, and dessert presented to us without expecting any such thing. Hyderabad, our last stop for the tour. We stayed in deceptively luxury-looking houses, which turned out to have sporadic water and electricity services - 3 days without a shower was pretty rough! My most intensive teaching week of the year, I taught a minimum of 4 classes every day, including singing, recorder, music theory, and two improvisation classes. Rohan bought some proper fireworks at a market which he let off on the last couple of nights. They were huge! And impressive! Everyone was really worn down in the last week, it was stressful and horrible sometimes, but for me, I was on a high teaching these classes I really enjoyed, and I got great feedback from people in the classes telling me how good they were. On the last night, a massive performance of The Ring Bearer to an auditorium which could hold up to 2000 people (probably about 600 attended) cemented a successful week and year.

Leaving India was painful, a series of goodbyes as we farewelled some choir members staying longer in India, then some people left us in Kuala Lumpur, then everyone else parted ways in Sydney. I made my way home to Melbourne, came home with Dad to Kangaroo Flat...
...and have been here since.

November and December have passed quickly. Catching up with friends, family, Christmas cards, cleaning my room, composing, thinking, doing chores for my parents, one of my bands did an album launch in Melbourne which I played at. Trying to keep fit, trying to keep in touch with various people. Life. You know.

For me, it's been a great year. It's given me a lot to look forward to and countless experiences I can treasure forever. But I think a drawn-out breakup across 5 countries took its toll, as did a year of working with people who weren't completely satisfied with their decision to come on tour, not to mention a brilliant but often stressful director, who told us at the end of the tour how difficult she found us to work with. She certainly had a mammoth task, and I'm glad it wasn't me doing all the organising.

Well, goodbye, 2012. You weren't the end of the world. And hopefully, you were the start of new and exciting things in my life. I'll miss you, a bit.

Life in Kangaroo Flat


So Christmas 2012 came and went, and was fine. Since I wrote that last post I've actually made some decent progress on the symphony, although I'm still only up to the first movement... but it's gathering momentum towards the GFC! I can sense it. So Doug heard what I've done and likes it, I think. He maybe wants a bit more tension, but the music is still happening before the market crash, when the public didn't really know anything was wrong. So I think the light-hearted mood of making money is fitting.

Then, CRASH!

And more progress has been made on these name pieces, for the Wayfarers. I'm starting to type up the tricky ones, record some using my own voice (singing bass and soprano parts is hard!), and finishing off the last ones in my notebook. I pretty much finished another one two nights ago - have to have another look at it and see if I like the ending.  There are only 5 to go now, bar my own. Yayy!! I love them so much. They are like these beautiful little gems, all different, all really interesting and pretty. That works as a metaphor for the people too, although of course people aren't perfect.... but then neither are my pieces :P I'm just really happy about how they're going to sound, and I can't wait to have them sung by a choir.

Which incidentally, should be happening around February 2014. The director of Wayfarers has told me she wants to perform a concert of MY MUSIC. Just mine! No-one else's! Staggering. And exciting.

I haven't worked on my piano/voice pieces, much. I've started compiling a list of my repertoire, and it's small, and needs polishing. So I need to write more pieces and make the ones I have performable. The symphony has been taking priority... along with my room.

People don't think cleaning my room should take as long as it's taking. It's most likely true. But tough, that's the way I'm doing it! I'm working through methodically, making progress, and there's still a long way to go. I think it'll get easier as I get to each new box and go 'another box of THIS stuff?' For now, I'm just kind of observing what I have, and how much of it I have. Yeah yeah, I'm chucking stuff out too. But I'll probably throw out more when I know what there is. Know what I mean? Having one shelf of books is fine, but then when I get to three more boxes of books, suddenly there are too many damn books, and I need to cull.

Mmm, I need to CULL. to CULLLL.... I really do. And I am! And I shall. Hurrah. Then I can stop worrying about all the primary school workbooks and scrapbooks I 'still have sitting back at home' because... they won't be there!

Also, I've been watching a lot of TV. Surprisingly. My parents recorded the Olympics opening ceremony, which I missed whilst overseas. Doc Martin. Spooks. Whose Line Is It Anyway? Hogfather (good adaptation of the book, but horrifically long and slow). Redfern Now (great show). Wallander. Merlin - unsurprisingly I guess, given there's a character named after me.... however. I've really been missing Naruto, and Star Trek: TNG. I'm up to season 4 of TNG, could get it out from the local vid store. But I have to wait to watch Naruto, because I've been watching it with a friend. So I'm desperately trying to avoid spoilers which keep popping up whenever I see new mangas of the series... or episodes....aagh!!

Emotionally, I thought I was fine, but I've recently discovered I feel insecure and depressed again when I'm on my own. Clearly, no matter how much I like my own space, I still need... well, whatever you want to call it. Romance, love, hugs. People. That stings. I want to be able to live life on my own terms. Not to need contact - to be able to go it alone. Well, I could. The question is whether it would ever happen. I doubt it. I like love.

Now seems as good a time as any to dissect the year. It's the last day, after all.

It's long. I'll make it a new post.

So yeah. That's life in Kangaroo Flat.