The Endeavors

Last updated August 6, 2017. denotes current priorities as of this date. Click on titles in the list to jump to the description. Click on the title of the entry to find all posts having to do with it.

The list:

Writing

Music

Writing

I have that thing where stories often take over my brain and I want to write them into something as beautiful as when the idea first caught me. My successes have been mixed.

Wrote many stories and some plays as a kid with the quality you’d expect from someone that age. Attempted a novel in high school; 8,000 words and about a year later it was clear that it was irredeemably awful and I still don’t like talking or thinking about it. But I can’t forget how much I enjoyed writing it before the horrible realization set in.

Untitled Novel Based On a Talking Cat from “America’s Funniest Home Videos”

Middle-grade/YA low fantasy. Begun in late 2010, first draft completed mid-2012, second draft completed late 2016, third draft completed mid-2017.

For the record, it doesn’t actually feature the talking cat from America’s Funniest Home Videos. I did get one early idea from the cat, but it’s barely recognizable now. The title is designed to lower the reader’s expectations while I come up with a better one. (The shorter code name is All the Live Long Day, which fits even worse but is easier to say.)

Process: Examine feedback from beta readers and revise, revise, revise.
Goal: Finish fourth draft by end of 2017.

Sequel to UNBoaTCfAFHV

Begun mid-2017.

Process: Write at least once a week, ideally 1,000 words.
Goal: Finish first draft by mid-2018

SCBWI

Joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators in January of 2017.

Goal: Join a critique group in my area as soon as the opportunity arises.

Music

On-and-off piano lessons through my childhood, one year of clarinet in the fifth grade, and consistent volunteer choir participation since college have given me knowledge of basic music theory and the ability to sight-read one note at a time on the treble clef. I do better with lead sheets and playing by ear than with real sheet music. Mucking about on a piano keyboard or a ukulele and experimenting with chords is an ideal way for me to spend an hour.

Piano

Been playing (with) it for as long as I can remember. I have no intention of stopping.

Direction: Get, uh, better at it. Maybe study jazz piano since I seem to be allergic to learning how to sight-read for reals.

Accordion

I was introduced to it in 2009 after my grandmother passed away and my relatives found her old one in her house (with “fond” memories of her “accordion phase” in the ’70s). After an evening of trading off playing around with it, that particular one went to my cousin (who actually showed a serious interest in it while I just wanted to play with the buttons) but I obtained one in 2010 from a generous family friend who’d had it in her garage for nigh on 40 years. Played in my college’s accordion club in 2010 and 2011 and took a few private lessons in 2012, but around that time I took it in to a shop where an accordion technician advised me to have it repaired before playing much more. Currently saving up for that. Accordion repairs are expensive—but not quite as expensive as accordions themselves.

Goal: Take it in for repairs by the end of 2017.

Folk harp

As a kid I found the sound of the harp enchanting. Started playing lever harp (a Fullsicle) in early 2016 as a therapeutic hobby. Currently self-teaching with Pamela Bruner’s Play the Harp Beautifully!

Goal: Finish Volumes 1 and 2 of Bruner, but keep an eye out for lesson/group opportunities.

Ukulele

Started in 2017 as an impulse purchase. No regrets.

Direction: Sign up for lessons and possibly attend group classes.

Djembe

Started taking lessons in 2017.

Direction: Keep at it. Purchase a djembe eventually (but I currently live in an upper-level apartment; this may not be a good idea at the moment).

Other instruments

In order of seriousness-about, I’d be interested in learning to play:

I’m trying to pace myself, though.

Direction: Be reasonable about all this, and don’t go bankrupt.

Composition

I’ve played with this more than I’ve made serious attempts at it. Related to production, below.

Direction: Try it. Study song structure. Make video game covers for the fun of it.

Production

My knowledge is limited to basic MIDI sequencing using free software. I downloaded trials of a few different popular DAWs, opened one up, saw all the knobs and sliders, freaked out, and closed the program.

Direction: Not be so scared of professional-level DAWs? I’m not sure where to even begin with this one.