Sci-fi views

We are in lockdown in a beautiful location. We are lucky. There are regular scenes resembling a cover of a sci-fi novel.

Peach and pink sunset over the bay, the sea was perfectly still as a navy submarine, half submerged and performing a routine drill, cruised past like an alien ship in the evening. All the while a bright white moon hung in the pink sky. La Luna smiled down on us from the other side of the bay, almost scraping the pastel colored mountains which surround us like one of Mars’ orbital rocks.

On another morning, further out to sea a pod of hundreds of dolphins were in a feeding frenzy. They gorged themselves on a huge shoal of smaller fish which they had trapped. A boiling, choppy circular mass moved along through the water until the feeding was done. From high up here it looked like one of Jupiter’s storms passing by.

Now at night time the darkness of the water fills up space from our viewpoint to the city. Far on the other side of the bay is where the water ends and the city starts. I see an amber glow and winking, yellow lights floating on the blackness of the sea. The city is like a huge mothership hovering on the ocean.

Look for the sci-fi around you because it’s surely there.

Happy Tuesday chimps.

Developing a concept

The addition of ‘escape the jungle’ to my blog’s main menu is taking shape. I plan to add a few sub menus to cater for all the things in life that help me to escape the jungle – to be less chimp and more rational being. Less anxious and more free.

So far I have art, design, productivity and psychology.

Within these categories I will post my favorite stuff. There will be subcategories too I guess…sport goes somewhere. This is the stuff I love and enjoy. The stuff that makes my life better.

Happy Sunday chimps.

Mourning the end of a streak

For a few days I couldn’t write. I don’t believe in writers block, but exhaustion and overload are real and encourage resistance to create.

We are all in the middle of a war. The global pandemic is spreading. As much as it is a war against a terrible disease, it is also an assault on the senses. A drain on our energy if we succumb to the non stop media coverage. It grabs attention. The media distraction is only exacerbated by young children and old grandparents relying on my wife and I to help navigate the family. It has been a load and for three days it squeezed any bandwidth I had for writing right out of my mind.

For me, this is a mini-tragedy (compared to the global mega-tragedy unfolding around us) because I had built up a decent streak of writing every day for over a month.

It is surprisingly hard to start fresh. But once you start, the words do flow. You just need to start.

More creativity to cope with tragedy. I’m back and I will hit a month again.

Happy Tuesday chimps.

Covering songs – Struggling vs Story-telling

Good singing is about story-telling. It’s pretty easy to hear when a singer is struggling with a tune. The voice doesn’t quite convince the listener. Perhaps the timing is slightly off. Most importantly, it doesn’t sound authentic. There is no sense of a story being told.

There’s this thing that happens once you know a song really well. Once you have played and played and played the song, the technical stuff moves out the way and you can focus on telling the story – imbuing the song with emotional labour and making a connection with the listener. This applies to much more than music, of course.

The thing that is interesting is that this authenticity (or lack of it) doesn’t really reflect technique, ability or skill. Even great technical singers can make a song sound empty. Instead, it’s about how well you know the song from every different angle. How convinced you are as the singer that the story needs to be told. By classical opera standards, Bob Dylan has a technically terrible voice but he is utterly compelling.

Rambling post – but I am convinced that the old adage that ‘practice makes perfect’ means that practice opens up a singer to perfectly tell a story the way they want to in order to connect to the audience.

Happy Thursday chimps.

Split

It helps a lot if you are confident about the desired outcome. If you know what you want. I’m not sure what the stats are, but I bet that the odds of something happening go way up if you have the end goal clearly emblazoned is your mind.

All of the most important things related to a project – values, culture, status, leadership – they depend on the parameters that are set.

Maybe an example will help me express myself. If you write a novel, and it starts as a tragedy, then slips into a sci-fi, then to a slapstick comedy, and finally reaches a crescendo as a religious historical piece – well that sounds like a confused mess.

Genre and its audience is perhaps where you want to start. It helps to define the values, the culture and the modus operandi.

With that in mind, I have realized my writing on this blog tends to split into different interests. I might write about creativity, African trade, productivity, music, or sci-fi all in the space of a week.

This needs to become a little clearer, and step one in the splitting out of interests is to redesign the site a little. I think this new template is clearer and the menu at the top will help to clarify things.

It’s a work in progress.

For anyone who has reached this far in the post, happy Monday chimps. 😀

Remote drumming

Today was a first. I laid down a drum track using the iPad, and sent it overseas to my dad in Kenya for him to overlay guitar and vocals.

I know musicians have been doing this for ages, but Covid19 is forcing us to use the tools at our disposal and pushing us out of our comfort zones. For me that means sticking to a blogging commitment and producing music with family overseas.

I just love the internet.

Happy Sunday chimps.

Hyperion

I am really enjoying audible during lockdown. It’s something to do while i do something menial or to relax.

The latest listen is Dan Simmons’ “Hyperion”. I listened to about an hour last night and I’m hooked.

Another cool thing I just discovered about Audible is that you can exchange books you have already read. So I’m refreshing my library to help get me through this lockdown.

Easter tomorrow. Wishing you chocolate, health, and peace of mind.

Happy Saturday chimps.

Online streaming

Yesterday my good friend Martin and I livestreamed a video on Instagram TV. It was a lot of fun!

Martin is a fine wildlife artist (insta link) who is trying to vary the pace of his drawing, and he challenged me to draw an animal in 10 minutes live with him.

Given my lack of expertise, I was very happy with the result of my 10 minutes :):)

If you are looking for something to do, then draw! It is therapeutic, calming and creative. Martin may even be accepting more challenges over on Instagram if you are up for livestreaming yourself.

It really was fun, so give it a go.

Company

If we wanted to do something worthwhile – and it almost doesn’t matter what it is – we would likely find it easier to do with someone else as a guide, a teacher, or just as company.

There’s always an opportunity for creating a welcoming venue for birds of a feather to come together and practice, discuss, create, define what they want to get good at.

The best websites do this. Podcasts too.

The best restaurants, clubs, churches, offices, parks, homes and companies do this too.