Saturday, July 19, 2014

Your Friends Are Not Your Audience

Why you shouldn't expect friends and family to support your art.

We’re playing a show this Saturday at Club Fred. It’s only five bucks to get in and we’re playing all night.

I used to throw out this line nigh on every week back when I was 19-21 and gigging in rock bands regularly. After that it was different venues, more friendly to my classical and flamenco stuff, but the pitch was always the same, as were the responses, which something like this:

Awesome! I’ll totally try to be there. My girlfriend/boyfriend loves that kind of music! It’s so cool that you’re out playing.

When the gig rolled around, the audience would be filled with strangers. Occasionally a friend would show up (I’m thinking in my head of the few who actually would), but mostly the room would be filled venue patrons and random genre fans, virtually never anyone with whom I had a personal relationship. Most of my friends were, like me, musicians and were (I thought) just as dedicated to the art and the business as me. They feigned interest in my projects when I talked about them, but that’s where the support ended. Ultimately, my market always became strangers.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Blood Drinker: Chapter 10-1

At last we reach the third act of my mystical Japanese drama. Amaya and Yoshio have reached Osaka and seen the killer Ryunosuke at work there, though his whereabouts and motives still remain shrouded in mystery. Note: I realized that I used the name "Shiro" twice in the total narrative. I have changed the name of the second Shiro (the nephew of Daiki) to Shigeo. This edit has not been done on previous installments as of yet.

Previous installments can be found on the fiction page above or by clicking here. Thanks, as always, for reading. Don't forget to share if you liked it, and return on Thursday for the second half of chapter 10.

<<Previous: Chapter 9-2


Chapter 10

“How do you like your new clothes, Yoshi?” Amaya smiled at her retainer, who fussed with the knot on his obi by the window.
“A little oversized,” Yoshio said. He straightened the light mantle on his shoulders, which gave his lean body a long taper. “Which is in many ways good. It allows freedom of movement, and these leggings will obscure my foot movements for an opponent.” Yoshio tugged at the loose blue umanori[1] pants, which hung in stiff pleats to the tops of his feet. “However, this outfit will give an enemy more ways to grab and throw me, and I risk getting it caught on some piece of the d├ęcor should I be forced to draw my sword indoors.”
Amaya laughed as she walked over to the window and ran her hands over the cloth on Yoshio’s shoulders. “Ever thinking of utility. That is my Yoshi.”
“What else should I think of?”
“Do you like the way it looks?” Amaya said, opening her arms and displaying the long, hanging sleeves of her two-cloth kimono. The pure white silk shimmered in the sunlight from the window, and the pink pattern of the obi and the inner folds of the kimono stood out brightly. Her wide obi was snug, making her already small waist seem tiny.
“I like the way yours looks,” Yoshio said.
Amaya laughed again. “What about yours?”
Yoshio looked down. “I suppose it will do.”
“What about comfort?” Amaya said.
“I said it was loose.” Yoshio tugged on a sleeve. “See?”
“Yes, but does that mean comfortable?” Amaya walked back to the futon and tucked her katana away behind pillows and blankets.
“What else would it mean?”
“My dear Yoshi,” Amaya said, looking back to Yoshio as she tucked her tanto away in the folds of her white and pink kimono. “I will never tire of you.”
Yoshio frowned. “What does that mean?”
Amaya gave him a subtle smile, then sighed. “Let’s go. I do not want to make this worse than it already will be by being late.”
Yoshio nodded. He walked to Amaya’s low table and picked up the scroll he had found at their door upon returning in the early morning. He un-rolled it and looked at it again. It was written in beautiful black script, with flowing lines and perfect brush strokes.
“What is it?” Amaya said, standing by the door.
“I just didn’t get a good look at Masaki’s note when we arrived.”
“What do you see now, in the daylight?”
“It is professionally scripted,” Yoshio said.
“Many nobles are taught well in the arts,” Amaya said, moving to look at the scroll herself. She traced her finger along the well- painted and perfectly black strokes. “But you are right.”
“He means to impress you,” Yoshio said, frowning.
“He does,” Amaya said, “but he has already impressed upon me his cruelty and stubbornness. Tea and entertainment will do no more to lighten my opinion of him than inviting us to such with pretty letters. You worry about me often, Yoshi. You do not need to worry about me being wooed by the likes of Shiba Masaki.”
“I just wanted to make sure you were aware of his intentions.”
“I am. And yours.”

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Teachers make a DIFFERENCE! What about YOU? Huh?

A Reflection on the Ego of the Teaching Profession

I had a different article in mind for today, but a conversation I had during work yesterday with my screenwriting partner Matt (find his website here) inspired me to create a different piece. Thanks for reading and don’t forget to share!

Credit/Source: Zen Pencils, 

            I am a teacher.
            I have been a teacher for more than ten years, in various faculties. I’ve taught at private and public school. I’ve taught individuals and I’ve taught classrooms full of kids. I’ve taught at the college level and the elementary school level. Given my experience, it seems that the label of teacher is inescapable. Indeed, it seems I am the only one in my life actively contesting the title.
            I am a writer.
            I am a musician.
            I am a craftsman.
I am many other things to myself, my family, and my friends, but to people who have just met me, it all gets boiled down to “teacher.” Why then, do I rebel?