Hello, all. Good morning and welcome to Thursday again. It’s time for another of my weekly blog posts.
Of course, the major news in the human world—such as it is—is the ongoing international tour de force of the COVID-19 virus. I’ve expressed (elsewhere) my frustration with the irrationality with which people are responding to this pandemic*, including the hoarding of toilet paper, which makes little to no sense, and believing sub-moronic videos that say, for instance, that you can cure the virus or prevent its spread by aiming a hot blow-dryer into your nose and mouth. These are such things as make me wish—only semi-facetiously—that people needed a license to reproduce. Don’t even get me started on the various absurd prophecies and conspiracy theories many embrace and share about this and other global events. It’s bizarre that people can simultaneously think so highly and so poorly of human nature, in such unjustifiable ways.
Behaviors such as these tend to exacerbate my baseline melancholy, and have in the past led me to, among other things, write a song about depression. The song, in this case, was Breaking Me Down, of which I shared the “final release” earlier this week on Iterations of Zero and on YouTube. When I originally wrote it, I wasn’t thinking explicitly about depression, but I was going through a pretty bad exacerbation, so when I wrote a poem/song about my thoughts and feelings, that was what came out.
I have recorded and released earlier versions of the song, but they suffered partly from my inexperience with mixing and production, and from initially being too low (the final product is up two full steps from how I initially wrote it), and too slow. The original vocals were not so great, either, both in recording/mixing quality and in the singing. However, as with most things, practice makes better, though it’s unlikely that it ever makes “perfect”**. So, now, the song is in a higher key and at a quicker tempo, such that I playfully refer to it as a song about depression that you can dance to if you feel like it. I think that’s a pretty cool accomplishment, though you may or may not agree that I’ve succeeded.
After fixing this song up, I realized that if I remaster my first, sort of jokey song, Schrodinger’s Head, I’ll have enough for about half an album(!). That’s five original songs, running a total of roughly twenty-five minutes. Of course, being the lunatic that I am, that thought immediately led me to go back and start tweaking Schrodinger’s Head, including re-recording vocals and doing some harmony. That’s not so hard—the good thing about singing is, one always has one’s instrument. And the actual remixing/remastering process, though time-consuming, is weirdly entertaining and satisfying.
The real issue is that once this is done, I will no doubt feel the urge, or the drive, or the compulsion, to make more songs for the other side of an album***. I do have here and there the beginnings of other songs, and even have a longer portion of something I mean to write about a manga character, but I just know that this is going to consume a lot of time. Of course, if I were in one of those industries that’s been forced to take a hiatus in response to COVID-19, writing and recording songs might be a good use of my extra hours. Unfortunately—well, fortunately, really…let’s be fair and positive, if that’s possible for me—my job is going strong, and I continue to be in the office five to six days a week. Thus, this little musical hobby tends to eat into my real work, which is writing.
That being said, though, Unanimity is coming along well. I’m nearly done with the latest run-through, and it’s getting closer and closer to publishable form. It certainly is a long story, but at least I don’t find it boring. Whether anyone else will share my assessment only time can tell, but at least liking it myself is a good starting point.
That’s pretty nearly it for this week. I hope you all do your best to stay well…but don’t do crazy and stupid things, okay? For my part, I’ve always frequently washed my hands and coughed and sneezed into the hollow of my elbow, but then, I am an MD. As for social distancing, well, that’s something I haven’t ever had to think about much. It seems to be a task at which I’m particularly gifted, and I’ve only gotten better, if that’s the correct term, over the years. Remember what I said about practice?
Ironically enough, I—someone very far from being attached to existence—am relatively protected compared to all the many people who want so desperately to cling to their lives. I wouldn’t call it cosmic irony—that would probably have to involve quasars, galaxies, black holes, dark energy, and the like—but it is certainly irony at a high level.
*I know the root words are different, but I can’t help imagining that the word “pandemic” should somehow mean “bread for the people,” or maybe “bread made out of people,” such as Jack and the Beanstalk’s giant might enjoy.
**In most cases, the term “perfect” isn’t defined, and is probably undefinable. Unless one has a clearly delineated set of criteria by which to judge something, declaring perfection is mere wordplay. I’m a fan of wordplay, of course, but in this case, people seem to think they mean something, formally, when they use the term. It leads to much confusion. It also leads many people to drive themselves to distraction, often to despair, and occasionally to destruction in the dreadful pursuit of “perfection”, a hallucinatory goal that never comes nearer than the horizon. By all means, strive always to improve yourself. But sincerely trying to achieve perfection can lead to a life of frustration and self-loathing.
***Don’t ask me what I mean to do with such a collection once I make it, assuming that I do. It’s not as though I have any experience in making or releasing albums. I would, however, almost certainly call it “Iterations of Zero”. Consistency is good.