Friday, August 6, 2010

Procrastination


I am a terrible procrastinator. No, actually, that's not accurate: I'm an EXCELLENT procrastinator. In fact, in order to avoid something right now, I'm WRITING about procrastination.

I understand that if I clean up the kitchen and livingroom BEFORE I go to bed, it will make getting up so much more pleasant. I know that if I prepare for a workshop/class/gig weeks in advance, I'll present with poise and confidence, with none of those unforeseen glitches that sometimes happen.

But somehow, I've always ignored deadlines until the last possible moment. I maintained a B average throughout university, when most of my papers were written between 1 and 8 a.m. of the day they were due (but honestly, more often when they were 2 or 3 days late). Back in those days, I'd save my work to a floppy disk, run to the closest computer lab and print out the paper, and make it to class for 8:30 a.m. I guess you could say I was a bit cavalier about the whole thing...but because I managed to get fairly good grades using this method, I didn't see any reason to change it. I did learn to play guitar during those university years, and that is something that has stayed with me much longer than any Geography facts ever did!

So. Tomorrow I have a 1 hour gig at our local museum. They are focussing on women and music this summer, so it is to be a retrospective performance, a reflection on my journey as a woman and as a musician. I thought of parcelling my life into chapters, and singing a couple of songs to represent each time period: childhood, teens, university, living in Northern Ireland, teaching, living in the Arctic, love, marriage, kids, farming...I'd been thinking up songs while driving, and singing a bit. But it is now after 8 p.m. and I'm still not practising. My attempts to run through some songs while the kids were in the bathtub failed miserable...guitars and bubbles don't mix.

There was a time in my life when I was performing regularly. In Whistler, BC, I had a regular weekend gig at a resort. Back home again, I also entertained tourists at a local whitewater rafting place 2 nights a week. Back then, I thought I'd never be able to forget the words or chords to the songs I sang so often.

But tonight, while I was starting to strum a bit while the kids were in the tub, my voice felt...rusty. The reasons for me not singing for so long are varied...newborns, postpartum exhaustion, setting limits on how much I do outside home in order to avoid burnout...the few gigs I attempted with small children in attendance (because I was breastfeeding) were extremely stressful, with baby frantically struggling in daddy's arms: "What?? What does she think she's doing in front of all these people? Holding a guitar instead of ME? I don't think so..." Another time, I booked a gig between Violet's bedtime and her first nighttime nurse, then lost my keys. I was in a panic to get back to her, and vowed that it just wasn't worth the stress.

I went through periods of resentment, as my husband is also a musician, and his involvement in music has experienced nary a pause since we had children. I feel like it's something I've had to give up in order to be peaceful with parenting. Acceptance does not come easily, and I struggle with bitterness. I know it doesn't serve a healthy purpose, so I'm working on it.

Singing is a deep part of who I am and always have been. So I'm starting small, with a daytime gig. Hubby will stay here with the kids (I've learned that much!), and I will try to find my footing again, to reacquaint myself with She-Who-Was-Me...and I imagine still is Me.

Enough procrastinating. I'm going out to my potting shed with a cup of tea and my guitar. Maybe you'll hear my first tentative notes on the wind...listen for the moment they become stronger, more sure of themselves...and send me some love!

12 comments:

  1. Sending love on the wind as I am about to shut down and head to bed for an desperately needed early night. I would love to hear your performance, but I don't think it is very likely! I hope all goes well and hope to see you sometime soon!

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  2. "Turn around, turn around, turn around, turn around...."
    I think you needed to get that off your chest to free the notes! Have fun tomorrow. You'll knock em' dead.

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  3. I was always the exact same way, with studying, papers, finals, and then still getting the good grades too. It encouraged us, didn't it? I see the problem though...

    I don't sing though. You have many great talents! Good luck finding your voice out there!

    Now back to that 4th grade lesson planning for school that begins in a few weeks. (Ooh, look, I am way ahead of schedule.)

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  4. I think many a creative person can fully relate to what you are saying. Personally, I like being ahead of things, that's how I was raised. But in being creative (mostly knitting) I find that it's a wondeful way of procrastinating and at the same time an activity that has a lot of potential for procrastination within it. You can always just cast on something new..

    How is spinning working out for you?
    I have gotten all my wool washed and stored in bins. The wheel is in parts and we started sanding it.

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  5. Oh no, I've missed it, haven't I? Darn it! That's what I get for not reading this until long hours after you posted it. Because we've had/still have company. And, speaking of procrastinating, I was scrambling to the last minute to get cleaning done--cuz doing creative things are far more fun than cleaning.

    I'll go out and listen for you in the wind...

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  6. Hope it all went beautifully! I wish I could have been there.
    I love your voice, and I love you!

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  7. oh, procrastination...don't we all do it to some degree? I wish you all the best in your gig, and hope that your voice comes out strong. Have you ever recorded? What kind of music do you play?

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  8. I was there,and was mesmerized by your beautiful voice, this is not just your mother speaking ask anyone there.Such a talent.Requests were asked and you remembered songs you haven't sang in 15-20 years.Keep it up

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  9. wow, what life experiences you bring to your music, what a gift, wonderful adventures, living in so many varied places, how I would love to hear you sing .. what a joy.
    love to you sweet Mama .. hearing your words, your thoughts, your heart and honouring all that you are xx

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  10. I hope it went well. How fantastic that you are able to dip your toe back in. I'm sure it will be a wonderful journey back to regular music. Let us know how it went.

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  11. Oh, I hear ya. I am a singer, always have been, and an artist/painter/writer/musician. We moved to a smaller city and then had kids and I just haven't found my groove, a place for it in this life here in a place different than where I was always able to be creative before kids, if that makes sense.

    How wonderful you are jumping back in, finding your voice, exploring and expanding to merge who you are with what you did before. :)

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