February Challenges – Work in Progress

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At the beginning of the month I had a rather ambitious (it was in no way cunning like Baldrick) plan to attempt to try and complete 3 challenges . Thom Yorke said ‘Ambition makes you look pretty ugly’ and so very wisely I realised that I was being pretty foolish, ugly and quite Baldrickesque and decided to ditch the idea and just go with the 2 challenges.

Silence was put on hold (I mean seriously how could I be silent in our house and how when I am trying to write lots of music) in favour of a lavish afternoon tea, lots of board games and lots of chat! It’s only on hold though and I plan to revisit the idea in April.

I am however still very much ‘in the game’ when it comes to the other challenges!

1) February Album Writing Month

This is going pretty well. I’ve actually written and recorded 14 ‘tracks’ but some remain works in progress, rather than a completed version, and some need lyrics, re-records and improvements.

I’m especially taxed by the idea of a closing song on ‘Reality, Grief, Hope‘. I am being ridiculously unrealistic in knowing my limits of my limited skill and talent….. trying to go for some kind of 3 part Bohemian Rhapsody meets Paranoid Android with reality, grief and hope all forming ‘sections’ of a 3 part song!

I want to write a song around the idea of the unforced rhythms of grace. I just love these words!

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

I’m really pleased with the music and vibe I’ve created to the words of Wendall Berry’s ‘The Peace of the Wild Things’ and my work in progress A capella number Battle for Soul. I’ve struggled to weave lyrics into this one and remain in a quandry about the jazzy nature of ‘Adoration‘.

All in all its been a fun project and I have enjoyed the discipline and focus of creating in a short, tight, time bound frame.

2) Minimalism Game

Starting with giving up 1 item on day 1, 2 on day 2, 3 on 3 etc, I’ve made it to Day 20! Its definitely getting much harder, and some things I have given away/relinquished feel a bit of a sacrifice. However I recognise that I am defintely less of a hoarder than I used to be and as I have gone through the challenge, letting go and giving things up has been easier. It’s thrown up lots of good questions, and has been an amazingly fun, challenging and rewarding to do as a family of 4. I’m amazed that after 20 days we are all still going! A few years ago I read two great books that deepened my thinking and desire to live more simply and with gratitude. Consumer Detox by Mark Powley and Less is More by Brian Draper. This great quote below sums up the minimalism game/challenge/experience very well.

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Here is how things got started

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By day 11 I had been into the loft to wade through boxes of books!

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Day 15 and I’m really beginning to feel the pinch of things

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Amazingly Day 20 has arrived and I’ve risen to the task! I’ve recycled, given away, re-purposed or disposed of a total of 210 items over the 20 days. If I want to get to the end of February I still need to do that for another 196 items!

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