Return to Reading

Played some guitar tonight, which was nice as I still don't do it enough. But the other thing I did which I haven't done much lately is read a bit. November was a wash out for reading with NaNoWriMo and dealing with VSS365 (together with long work days), so it was nice to get back to it. Picked up a couple of good second hand books yesterday with Doris Lessing 'The Good Terrorist' and Patrick Hamilton 'Hangover Square' good stuff to look forward to. In the meantime I've started one I got on loan the other day from Liverpool Central Library - a 'SF Masterworks": 'City' by Clifford Simak. My hope is to read this and at least one or two other books, that would get me up to 33 or 34 books for the year - against my aim of 40 books again this year. Just been the year it has. It is what it is.

Been a good year again of course - any reading is good. Lots of SF and a few classics. A few books on writing too. Just a couple of Terry Pratchett's - the sad thing is I'm running out of ones to read of his. Will undoubtedly do a fuller reading review at the start of 2019 - and think about my aims for next year.


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Open Mic 2

Yesterday I went to play a few songs at the Open Mic in the Sanctuary Bar on Lime Street. It was the second time after playing three songs there a couple of weeks ago. Last time there were fewer people in attendance which made it easier to play after I'd heard a couple of people playing. This time there were more singer guitarists I'm not sure if I hadn't played the other week whether I would have got up in front of them.

I was second up and played three songs: Van Diemen's Land, the One I Love and Better Be Home Soon. Struggled a bit with the One I Love which is daft, because its the easiest one to play - or at least the one I've played the most. I think the nerves of like playing probably made me play it too quickly. Still I managed to force myself into the high notes and then did the Crowded House number. It's the first time I've played that in front of anyone and it wasn't too bad.

Following me on to the mic was Dave Glyn Jones, who I've never seen before and bloody hell he was good. If he'd come on before me there is no way I would have gone up and played. Very very accomplished. Great guitar and a gravelly blues voice and funny with it. Damn talented. The next two came up, who I didn't catch the names of, and they were great too. It was an enjoyable night and my mate who had never seen me play before had come along. Surprisingly he really enjoyed the night as he's not really into bands that much, but he found it all excellent (especially Dave).

Dave spoke to me afterwards and kindly told me not to be so self deprecating up there and that I had a nice voice (?) and good musical taste. I'll take that. Just need to play the guitar a lot more often and learn some new tunes. I know if I keep at it and keep throwing myself in front of an audience I should get more confidence and with that get better at the whole thing. It's been a nice distraction to start doing this and I'm looking forward to seeing where it will go.
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Writing and Strumming

A week on from looking at playing the guitar more and how am I doing? Well, not brilliant but not all bad either. I've printed off some of the songs from the first twelve and have had two days from the last week when I've played at least an hour. Which isn't great, but it's better than I've done for many a month (year). So onwards and upwards. I will get more regular at practice.

I will.

Over the last couple of days I've not been playing, I have been writing. Following the completion of the second draft of my Infernal Clock 'DeadCades' story it is time to move on to something else. The first thing I did was edit an older Infernal Clock story originally written for 'CalenDark' which is worth considering for using for some other submission. That is all boxed off and now it's a question of keeping an eye out for a potential home for it.

Since editing that I have not written anything fiction though (other than VSS365 of course), but I have over ten pages of planning and ideas in my BuJo. It will be used to focus my next project. Maybe something more substantial - giving me a chance to stretch Scrivener a little beyond the 5500 words.
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Return to the Guitar

Yesterday I sat down to think about getting back to playing the guitar. I've two in the house; a lovely green telecaster and a semi-acoustic Takamine. Can't even remember when I last played the electric but from time to time I pick up the Takamine for a quick strum. The thing is I've forgotten so many songs that I used to be able to play and have lost the ability to play most of the riffs I used to know a bit. So I've decided to get a bit more methodical and timetable some specific guitar practice. To learn (or relearn) a bunch of songs I used to play (at least after a fashion).

Ideally I want to get to a point where I can face playing in front of someone again. In fact maybe play at an Open Mic or two. The Sanctuary pub in Liverpool being one possibility. So I need to learn a few songs from start to finish, words and chords, with appropriate strumming patterns and all that malarky.

To that end my initial aim is to learn again twelve songs, which is kinda an album length of tunes. Then from there go on to twenty four and thirty; then who knows?

Should I get into playing again then I'd like to write a few songs once again. It's been a long time since I have done that. Then that opens up the possibility of playing my own stuff at an open mic too. That maybe for next year, but learning the first of the 'twelve' should be a lot easier in theory so who knows I may end up at an open mic sometime over the next two or three months.

I've got four to six I should be able to box off relatively quickly, say over next couple of weeks. Then if I aim to learn a couple of songs a week thereafter then maybe I can box of twelve songs in five weeks or so.

First up I'm going to create a playlist of all 30 songs to practice the words and feel of them. Then I'll print off the words and chord sheets for them all and have a nice neat file (that said I probably have half of them at least already printed out in one file or other). Then, lastly, I need to get my guitar ready and begin playing the thing again. Regularly.

So in five weeks will I have twelve songs I can feel confident enough to stand up (or sit down) and play from start to finish? We'll see.

Watch this space.
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