I also want to have a little perspective here, time to talk of how the moment fits into the future and past, and how I feel about what is going on. My whole attitude towards what I do is casual and personal, while maintaining serious professional standards, without the showbiz attitude of hype and promotion. So this is more like a letter to a friend than a press-release! I want to have a place to talk about the ideas and feeling that are part of the story sometimes, but here I reflect on events as well as describe them, and look at the longer perspective. This is not only the place for the feelings of the moment, as much for how those that stand out as significant, pivitol, or otherwise important in the wider perspective of hindsight and visions. Its a place for threads that may not obviously surfaced in the actual events of the year, but have been on my mind, as they continue unbroken below the surface, whether they manifest or not. This is a life that is so much more than just the stories and places, so much more than just the music, and so much more than the moment. I cover the events of the year in my annual tour journals, located in the ARCHIVE section. They are only the iceberg tips of an underlying whole, and a much longer story. While a lot of this site deals with what I do, I want a place where I can also try to explain "why".
As for the present, the BIG NEWS is the Video Tour Journals are available on-line at last!
When it became obvious the new CD wasn't hapening, I concentrated instead on getting video production going again. Specifically, I've been getting the Video Tour Journals from 2000 together, remaking the earliest low -fi ones and get the whole series up on the internet using Google's new beta video service. I want to see if they generate any interest, enough to make it worth reviving the project again, either to continue where I left off , doing new real-time video tour journals now, or both. The google service will allow me to charge for them, though I am still not sure how to work it out. I feel I should at least start the series out as free, then maybe charge for the later half, after people have seen enough to know if it is worth it to them to see more. Also I need to get an idea what other people charge and what the expectation is. But at least I can get something out even six years after the original plan fell through in the dotcom bust. It should work better now. There is a much bigger broadband audience interested in downloadable video, so whatever small percentage might be interested in my tour journals willbe a larger aggregate number. I even realize that there may be more people interested in following my well .. the extreme routine of my life than might be interested in my music, actually. I do somehow manage to end up living pretty far out, wether I plan it that way or not.
I spent the winter season raising my sunken sailboat, the Hurley, and getting it on a trailer and into storage. I finished up with some stopgap maintainence on the big sailboat, Dueodde. Though I had to give up the winter music scene once again, I did get a extraordinary job done, a hard job I felt satisfied accomplishing, and left Florida on schedule. The problem was that though it was the right thing to do, being responsible and self-reliant, it was totally unnescessary. The Hurley didn't sink, it was sunk. I did everthing right, and it wasn't the hurricanes that sunk the boat, it was another boat's owner's irresponsibility, negligence and disregard for others that caused me so much pain, hardship, effort, and cost me so much in so many ways.
I worked the Spring street scene here in Alexandria, and did a lot of work around ma's place that had slid while I was nursing her through the chemo. I tried to get the studio flight-cased, but it didn't happen, too many difficulties in trying fit the cpu into a new case customized to mount in the rack-flightcase. I stayed on schedule and flew up to to Alaska, since I can't take the van north till I've repaired the Hurley and gotten it off the trailer again. So I've had to change my plans and adjust. In fact, I plan to keep flying up, except for one trip to take the van and trailer up there. So I got the advantage of flying up this year, an extra couple weeks in Alaska I would have spent getting there. This enabled me to do a summer gold dig up in the mountains, and just get up into the mountains immediately, during high summer in the arctic, instead of waiting till after the fairs. That worked on well, both a good dig and a good time, though some crazies showed up at the digs for the first time, which is a bit disconcerting. I came back out of the mountains to do the two fairs, then return to the mountains and the gold digs and spent a few weeks on my property, but that was about it for Alaska.
I did some serious thinking, and the result is that I'm moving Alaska to the back burner, the land especially. Though I am drawn by my personal desires to want to build a home at last and work on the land now that I have it, I had to accept that these are long term plans, insurance against the future, and right now, the land is a distraction. Right now I need to concentrate on the music, especially since it may be a year or two before the van is free to take north and I have a vehicle and the trailer to use to build a place, and even to get around Alaska and do more there. I think about taking it off the circuit all together, simply because though I break even going there, it means I spendmost of the summer and fall season on a place that I just break even at because it costs so much to get there. I actually came out ahead finally, but only because the gold is working out. At the same time, I don't intend to give it up entirely.. it is where I plan to be in the long run, and plan to make it one of my main bases, and a jump off point to the the east Pacific and south Pacific. I want to keep the continuity going. I want to keep developing and maintaining contacts, though it is hard with no vehicle. I want to keep working the dig, though that is a chancy thing at best, and frasnkly, it should be a short break from the music, not a distraction from it. I have things to do right now, like get out CDs, and pay for them, and re-establish my presence on the internet, and pay off debts for equipment, develop international tours and places. This means doing more than just breaking even, or spending my time up in Alaska building a house. Though I can see taking a week, as a break, and for visiting friends, and eventually getting a cabin set up so I have some sort of shelter there, but otherwise I can see it might be better to focus on playing Seattle again, and Montana, focus on playing and recording. I could take the van to Seattle or Montana and leave it as a local vehicle out west for a few years while I work there, then take it up to Alaska. I can see getting over to Europe, takingh advantage of the opportunity, if I can play for new audiences, and make new connections, and even bring my recording gear. I can see it just for the stimulating effect on my music. This is what I want to work on in the present. I have successfully established myself in Alaska, which means it can get on the back burner, keep developing it slowly, take what opportunities present themselves, but don't get distracted by it. Eventually I will spend a lot of time there, half my time, but that is still some years in the future.
On the way back I managed to visit in Missoula, Montana and Seattle, get back in touch with my friends there. Though I missed only one year visiting Montana, its been several since I've been to Seattle, and it makes me realize why it was on the circuit. I had to face the fact that Seattle has always been a big part of the life, since I first made it there in 78'. Its been on the circuit pretty much ever since, and a regular foundation stone in the circuit, and the city I chose to make my urban base in. It was great to be in a familiar place, see people who remember me, people who go way back. Like a lot of places, seems like no time has passed, or maybe its just the funny way my memory works where everything happened yesterday, in my mind. Still it was great to be among friends, and around a more alternative, artistic, and progressive culture than I can find on the east coast. Though I continue to visit the east, primarily to vosit relatives, I might not return if I didn't have them here. But they always will, and in the bigger picture, I feel like it is my duty to travel to all parts of the country and play, or at least offer to, though due to "circumstances beyond my control" my travelling has been pretty limited for too many years now. Still, the principle is still to go north, south, east, and west, stopping wherever people want me to play, or any street scenes that I can use to reach the people with my music, even when the doors to gigs are closed.
The problem is, it is now well into the winter season and I am not down there, and by the time I do and could possibly get moved, I'd be half-way through the season, not much chance for a gig then. The other priority is another season of serious boat work. I am torn between the sorry music scene around Stuart, and the fact that it will definitely be easiest to finish the work there without trying to move anything first, or figure out a new location. If I can just finish the repairs to the Hurley, freeing up the trailer and my tools, and finish the repairs on Dueodde, get the rigging up and the engine running again, I'll be done being tied to the Stuart area. Though Jeff said I could leave the Hurleyt on his property for a couple years at least, which I appreciate a whole lot, I'd rather leave it there as short a time as I can, or leave it there reapired and ready to go whenever I want to. I wasn't originally planning on working on the Hurley at all, not last year or this. I came to Stuart just to get Dueodde (the steel cruising sailboat, 28' compared to the Hurley's 18') up and running again, a working, mobile sailboat again. I spent a season in the boatyard and planned to complete the job in the water the following year. Instead I ended up nursing my ma through cancer the next winter, and the next winter, last winter, this fool sunk the Hurley and Dueodde got sidelined again. I am tired of being immobilized. The point of living in a boat for me, like living in any vehicle is mobility, and flexibility. It is an aesthetic choice, where between playing, or even in the casual moments of everyday life, I am intimately connected with the natural world and its beauty, with that awesome, terrible beauty. Also the strict and unforgiving practicality of the sea and sailing, as well as the quiet, simple, unpretentious competence of real sailing. But beyond all that, just like camping out of a van, it is about being mobile, the gypsy life.
I doubt I can manage both a serious music scene, starting with a move to Largo, and getting both or even one boat really done, though I could try try. I could also cut off more than I can do, or just force myself to push myself to the limit with no guarantee I'll suceed, when I don't have to. I can look seriously at every potential street scene or even gig I can reach from the Stuart area. Maybe I can do the major repair work to the Hurley in a week or two, maybe not. Then I can load my tools onto the steel boat, and get to work on it. The Hurley is ready to move whenever and wherever I take it, but I don't mind leaving it where it is till I do, if it is repaired and ready to go back in the water when I'm ready. I can accept that Key Largo is out of reach for this year and accept that the problems caused by the sinking of the Hurley are still being dealt with. I still have a friend in the local area, know my way around, and can try to really finish the repairs on both boats. That's still a big job, but closer to reasonable for the time I have. With any luck, I can still find some street scenes to keep me moving ahead slowly at least. At the end of the season, I can launch the Hurley and take the trailer north when I go, free it and the van for the future. Maybe sail the Hurley north as well, leave it nearer Gainesville and my dad, take his kids sailing. Maybe sail Dueodde down to Key Largo and moor it there, ready for next year. Whatever happens, it would mean I that next year I won't be tied to the land anymore, but free to sail wherever I want. That is worth taking another loss on the performance side this winter, looking forward to a season focused only on the music next winter. I am not so concerned with the future, it is way too uncertain. I make no certain plans, have no expectations. Perhaps Key Largo will make a good place towork or just to leave the boat, and I'll simple cruise wherever I go each winter. Or I'll find a place to leave the boat down in the Carib somewhere I believe in hindsight and being there, which means getting out and doing it till what works is obvious, or see where life leads me, not try to follow "plans". I'd rather be ready for anything, and follow dreams, visions, and simple intuition. that means having a working rig, whether the boat or the van. For the moment, I just need a simple, short term plans of that which must be done, and the details can work out moment to moment and day by day.
But the boats are like the land in Alaska. They are part of a long term plan, but still just that, something to work on slowly, adding up small efforts of spare energy, building them towards a long term goal, but only while I am focusing on the music first, not the boats. All told, they are just a means to live cheap so I can afford to play music, like living in the van, but a safer place to sleep, where I won't get hassled by the cops or the criminals or the "concerned citizens" like I am in the van. But they are the means to an end, playing music, and not intended to be the focus of my energies, stopping me from playing music, like they have the last couple years. If I can't get that under control, I'll get rid of them and go back to my sailing kayak on the roof of the van and some place other than Florida, where I can live like I used to, camping on the beach of offshore islands, or staying in the van when I am ashore, or staying with friendly folk I meet along the way as I vagabondi my way along. It is sincerely tempting, though I know what I have achieved with the boats so far is a good thing, and the long term plan a good one. But the fact is, I have to focus on the music, and frankly, what happens to me doesn't matter much anyway. I may not live long enough to worry about long term plans, while I'll certainly regret not leaving a record of the music. And I am here to serve others, not myself, that's just the way it is. And every time I play, the reaction from people is always undeniable. I have some strange ability to talk to people, and cast this spell, and I know I have played some truly great music. So this is what I'll do, no matter what it costs. Its cost me all my other dreams and plans.. the homestead farm, a wife/mate/partner, a family, economic comforts and security, etc etc.. if I lose the rest, it really won't matter to me. You know, when you're in a house and you notice its burning, well, other things somehow become less important. So like I told a girl in a coffeehouse once, When the world is burning, there doesn't seem much point in worrying about my personal life. It's not going to matter to me to give up a few more dreams and plans really, I can always come up with more, dreams and plans are pretty easy to come up with. As for these these practical plans for a future I may never reach don't seem very important if I can just get back to playing music again, back to reaching people with what I have to say, what I have to sing, with the magic in the music, and speak a few words of truth, for peace, love, freedom and justice. Most of all, just to be playing again, day after day, lost in the music, in the mystic awareness of the world, that dreaming yet absolutely hyper-awareness; and when I'm not playing, not out on the street among the people, dwell in quiet, reverent harmony with and in the terrible beauty of nature. It really is good enough.
well, 2005 has been pretty much a disaster as far as getting anything done goes. What else can I say? Though I did some amazing things, was there being whatever it is I am, being some strange player in people's lives; but wasn't able to move forward on any of the music projects, recording or production, or on dulcimer building either. In spite of a severe set-back, I managed to do the routine and in fact, make enough money on the street to stay in the black this year despite losing the winter season, and the late fall too for that matter. But nothing happened to move ahead. I am seriously discouraged by the whole deal, everytime I get a little momentum going, some emergency has come to derail me, and what little time is left goes to playing the street so I can survive another year, and trying to catch up on all the important things that slid during the emergencies. I like to think I am getting out from under the load, but it doesn't feel that way. There is no time to slack the pace, to take a break, or move beyond just doing what has to be done right now, if not yesterday. I even wonder if I have time to keep up this website, or why I should. I have no way to guage if this is really important. But I am trying to maintain what I have achieved and these reports are part of it. Maybe I should just wait to write till I am feeling better about it all. I mean, I am satisfied I did right, and I am proud of what I have done. But I'm seriously troubled by the fact that progress on the music has ground to a stop. Especially because the distaster with the Hurley was caused by some idiot's negligence and irresponsibility costing me a lot of time and pain and effort, and setting my plans back a year at least. I have to get on the road again I won't have a chance to work in the studio again till Spring. I'm leaving the gear here just so I will concentrate on performing and working on the boats, and so I don't beat the gear up for no reason, taking it on the road for no reason, and frustrated if I don't have time to use it. But I know I have to get south and get out on the street so I'll have the money to put out another CD when I get it done. And I need to get the boats repaired and mobile again so I can go where the music takes me. Maybe I'll be lucky and find a steady gig down south, but I'm not counting on it. There's a chance I can take the materials and work on the electronics of the dulcimer, anything to start making progress again, but frankly, I want to keep it simple and focus on performing and the boats, enough is enough.
PROGRESS!! The Video Tour Journals I made in 2000, "AK2K" are finally on-line. I've uploaded a directory, general and background information.
Otherwise, I have continued to document the life, though I didn't do so much this year as some. You know, sometimes I think I have a bit of a warped perspective on what constitues not doing much. Even funnier, though I have documented some wild happenings, like raising the sunken Hurley sailboat, or gold mining in the wilderness of Alaska, I'm not sure exactly what it has to do with the music! I keep joking that I've shot the video, I just have to write the song now. I videoed the music that is always part of my life, playing out on the dock at night after work, or by the van as dinner cooked. But I spent a lot of time dealing with circumstances, not performing. Though I got back on track with the Alaska trip, caught at least one inspired performance and finally got some real gold-mining footage (though again, what that has to do with the music I'm not sure). I added Montana and Seattle back to the loop
I bought and installed a DVD burner in the DAW system, as I'd always planned, but it turns out to be a dud and I don't have time to deal with it now or buy another. I bought it about a year and a half ago, October 2004, but with the Hurley getting sunk I never installed it till just before I left for Alaska in 2005. I tried to start using it when I got back here but it hasn't worked right. After a couple months of e-mailing tech support they say its defective, but I wonder if the warrenty is still good at this point.. note, don't buy a toshiba again. I transfered a lot of DVtape footage to DVDs before I realized the machine wasn't burning them right. I'd hoped to produce the Video Tour Journals on DVD for my Patrons as a start. As well as start on the other video projects, promotional DVDs for the EDU and Cultural Exchange programs. All that is scapped for now till I get a repair, replacement, or just buy a new one from some other company.
Its been very cool getting back into the old video tour journals, in retrospect, I do have a lot of great scenes and places on video. I also want to experiment with remastering and cleaning up old VHS footage I gathered years ago. I documented a lot of travels and shows with VHS in the 80's, and it would be great to digitize that material, both for release and just for archival reasons. It makes me think of how much good live footgae I have as well, and it would be easy to put out video clips of single songs or scenes, compared to the effort behind tour journals or any other mixed production.
A HOBO'S DULCIMER
I keep distributing CDs on the street. In fact, I worry that I'll run out before I have made enough money to put out another run. I've been trying to pay off the debts for the equipment, but I have to make sure to leave enough to pay for another run. Since I distribute them on a donation basis, I have to distribute a lot of them, maybe all of them to both pay off the debt for the first one and get enough ahead so I won't have to go into debt for the next run. And there still is the long-standing debt for the recording equipment, juggled on credit cards for the last 6 years trying to keep it on low, "introductory rates". But I manage. I wasn't able to get the DAW in a travel-case in time for Alaska, though I can finish it now. I still wonder if it will be too heavy to fly with!
Though it isn't really to do with recording, I have had one good development in distribution. Somehow back in 2000 I got involved in The Orchard, a budding internet distributor. At that time it meant providing CDs to the internet retail CD outlets like CDBaby and Amazon.com (remember when Amazon was a start-up?). I lost track of them, like I lost track of most of the internet distribution sites. The dotcom bubble burst and a lot of sites I'd invested on working with didn't hold up their end, or others turned crass, commercial, and expoitative; or became outlets for the big companies and and their big bucks and gave the indies who started the whole thing the shaft. I sold 2 CDs on the internet while I sold 400 on the street at two festivals, it was no contest. I was #1 on the MP3.com folk charts for weeks, which got me nothing practically. I am not independently wealthy or a musician on my spare time from my "real" job. I have to live in a world of pragmatic practical realities. I've also been at it a long time and am seriously aquainted with what a rip-off show business is for artists, full of promoters, con-artists and egosmeisters trying to rope artists with schemes and dreams and hype; full of gigs that don't want to pay anything except "exposure" while they profit from free entertainment, "showcases" that try to make artists pay to play for "exposure" again, and on and on. out to I focused on surviving the way I always have, in the real world, out on the street, where at least people were glad to give me a dollar for entertaining them, with sincerity, true appreciation and respect. The 'net wasn't anywhere near practical for someone like me with little time to waste on things that didn't work, or time to try and sift the schemes and hype and cons from the few sincere indie promoters left on the net. Stil,l I believed in the internet, and I maintained this website. I worked with Waldo at Nowhere Radio on the Patron system and on-line CD ordering. But even more, I focused on getting the recording gear together, and producing a recording that I felt better about than the old one shot first take budget studio ones I had, ones that I'd feel were worth the time to promote.. I have gotten at least the first one done.
Well, suprise, suprise. I return from Seattle and ma is asking about a check that came in from some place she'd never heard of. Lucky the name "The Orchard" rang a bell, so I looked them up, and sure enough there it was. Now they are big in digital distribution to the download retailers like iTunes and Rhapsody. I'd like to send them the new CD and see what happens, but I have a few serious concerns. Specifically, one of the Digital Music Services appears to pay the artist only 14 cents a download, unfortunately, I have to pay up to 17 cents in royalties on that sale, just like when I sell my version of any modern standard on a CD. I can't lose 2 cents for every sale, that just doesn't add up. All the other DMS outlets pay about 50 cents a download, which covers the royalties, though of course I do better on originals and traditionals, it is good enough. Generally though, I think the Orchrd deal is a great thing for me. I have enough trouble getting content, and distributing it I don't have time for. It may not work not for the new CD of standards, since I have to get enough to cover royalties, but it will certainly work for the next CDs of originals and traditionals where I don't have to pay royalties.
THE ELECTRIC DULCIMER
I haven't done anything, though I'll take the electronics with me and see what I can do over the winter. At least I can probably hand-wind a few pickups even if I can't build a winding machine. I can probably start monting plugs and switches and wiring up the dulcimer body. Get me started at least. I still haven't been able to get wood, though I keep writinf mills that carry maple, but no luck so far. I may try to get a piece of teak from the boatbuilders this winter and see if that works. The oriental dulcimers I tuned seemed to use teak for their pin-blocks, so I might be able to use teak instead of maple. I'll also keep looking into other tropical hardwoods that have the same specs as maple and might work for pin-blocks.
I haven't gotten any feedback for the electric dulcimer buildingpage from other people, but the fact is, I can't remember if I managed to write anyone about contributing. 2004-2005 is sort of a blur.. helping ma, then a whirlwind trip to Alaska, then learning the Hurley had been sunk the week I got back from AK and going into high gear on that, all the way through April. I had a little time in May and June to try and catch up on everything, but I left in a rush in July, and of course, hardly got on the internet since. I'll try again, though mailings aren't something I do much with. I will update it mostly with what was in this news page last update, since the state of the project hasn't changed any since then, unfortunately.
PATRON OF THE ARTISTS
The Patron of the Artists system is still up and running in Beta, though Waldo at Nowhere Radio is getting the latest version of the NWR.com core online now, a major accomplishment for an indie internet site that is the work of just one really dedicated person. I have been signing people up since I got the new CD out. Unfortunately, except for the two fairs in Alaska and the street here in Alexandria, I haven't really performed anywhere since the CD came out. I have about 25 Patrons, mostly from the fairs in Alaska. It's hard to get anything going if I don't perform, but I really haven't had a choice. I wanted to send out a DVD and or the new CD by the end of the year, but I had to change my plans, unfortunately. Since I have been dealing with these disruptions and delays, I have decided to keep ignoring the "annual" basis of the subscription until I can get some sort of normal production schedule going. I will time resubscription notice with the date I actually release the materials I planned to release in the subscription "year". This means I'll run patron's subscriptions till the who knows when at this point. I am hoping that one day I'll be able to count on as regular an annual production of at least one production CDs and additional private CDs or DVDs for my patrons.
Other recent news is that TheRealWaldo at NowhereRadio.com is upgrading to a totally new version, NWR 4, and the PA system will be integrated with aditional services that we invisioned but were not possible in the beta version patched into NWR 3. The new version will include the password system for patrons to access a patrons-only "private lounge" where I can post material that I don't want to release to the public. I can really give my patrons an insider's access to my music, material that never makes it to the public. I've been able to produce some brochures for PA to distribute on the street and at shows. At some point I could try rewriting my website at NWR, and the PA pages in general. I installed a DVD burner in the DAW system so I can produce video on DVD as an private release for my patrons, existing and new.
If you don't remember what the system is about, a general introduction to the "Patron of the Artists" service for artists in the NoWhereRadio system, giving a brief general description of the system in principle and practice, for interested artists and public.
My person "Artist's Page" that is the actual offering to the potential Patrons, with a registration button that links to the NoWhereRadio site, where they enter to subscribe and register as a Patron at my page there
THE BIG DECISION: BASES, PLACES, AND "SETTLING DOWN"
The main development here is that I am less concerned with developing bases anymore though I haven't given up on establishing them. In the long run it is important, I haven't given up on the idea at all. In fact, I am continuing with my plans, both north and south, but they are going on the back burner so to speak. In the present, I am just looking for temorary places to setup the gear and do studio work in the places I am playing. Though I can't see the DC area in my long term plans, setting up the studio at ma's house may be the best short term option, despite the distractions. Whatever works is what I need, and I don't have time to wait till I build or find permanent bases to work in. I am also much more interested in international travel and in being mobile so I can follow the music wherever it leads, rather than trying to develop something that I can use while I'm living at a base in Alaska or down south. Though I have serious doubts about ever remaining in the DC area, or the east coast in general, and similiarly I'd rather make my own space than use someone else's, even if it is freely offered, I never rule anything out. Circumstances could force me to spend time at 1213 again, or someone could offer me space someplace.. like Joe did, and would do again I am sure, or someone someplace else, so I better be psychologically ready for any opportunity to focus on recording and production and make it a good thing. I will focus on getting the gear set up in the road case so I have it wherever I go. Though I wonder if it will end up too heavy for overseas flights. There is a 50 lb limit now.
EDU: SCHOOL PROGRAMS
This took a major hit this year and last year, the momentum has really been lost. I didn't have transportation in Alaska again, or my DAW to teach adio/video production with either. I may do a show in Virginia come spring, but that remains to be seen. I got two offers of AIS jobs this Spring, when I was in Florida. Though I seriously thought of flying up to Alaska just to teach for a couple weeks.. if I broke even it would be worth it to me.But there is just too much to do, and I already spend too much time breaking even when I need to be getting ahead. I'm still planning to mix down all the footage of schoolshows I've done into a presentation on DVD to promote the program.
CULTURAL EXCHANGE PROGRAM
No progress. Though I still dream of it often. I still see a serious role both as a cultural embassador, and as a sort of aid organization, providing local artists a way to record, teaching people how to do it themselves. Local music is surely a prime economic opportunity for development in many counmtries, and a way to express and channel all sorts of energies, from grief to anger, and both new and old values and idea, all non-violently, pick up guitarsinstead of guns, make songs instead of bombs.
The internet really is integral to my future plans, so I figure I need to add a section for my general projects in this direction. I was unfortunately way ahead of the curve on the internet, I was trying to do all the things no one was ready for, and that are commonplace now. Back then I had an on-line promo package and no one to send it to, and on-line music, and radio stations didn't have computers. I was #1 on the mp3 folk charts for weeks, and sold 4 CDs, and sold 400 CDs on the street during the same period, the conclusion was pretty obvious. I created video tour journals for distribution on the net to the small but growing broadband community, then the dotcom boom busted and the sites that were going to carry the videos fell through. I basically gave up on the internet for a while, though I maintained a presense with my website. I had to keep working in more practical and effective directions while the internet grew and matured, and while the platforms and other details got figured out, and the gold-rush craziness burnt out. It is getting there now. Though the big companies are trying to squeeze the indies off the map, they still can;t stop people from finding us, so there is still that power in the net to end-run the corporate monoploy on radio and record-stores. I have seriously good content for sites that want to work with me. Broadband access is finally getting to be a big enough community to support sites, and those sites need content. I'm still ready to start producing journals again, but I have to have a reason, a good one, since I have a lot of important projects crowding for my time.. yet all of them also good material for video journaling. I have the recording gear now as well, so I can provide steady audio content as well. But again, I need to focus on recording CDs I can distribute rather than providing free content for another dotcom. Unfortunately, the music world is full of con artists taking advantage of artist's real need to share their art, and frankly, the egos and ambition of people who want to be "stars". It is pretty sad, and I don't have time for it. I have to make an effort to spend time on-line searching out what opportunities are available, and seperate out the scams and cons from the real thing, but it is time I don't have. But I'm hoping there are some real legitimate sites and people out there I can work with, like NoWhere Radio. I have also set up the account with Google Video to release the video tour journals on, as I have mentioned. Now I just need to get them togetehr again. Also there is the new life in the distributing deal with The Orchard. The problem is wether it will really work and if I have time right now to get the new CD out to them before I heave to head south. Still it is all progress. The final stage is I may finally be moving this website to a new server. Pan got sold to a music portal, and basically, they don't seem to be into maintaining either an artist's site or a artist's network, but are more focused on serving the public. I am really not sure what is going on, except that I've gotten no response to e-mails for info. I had to change billing cards and couldn't contact them, the card expired so I haven't paid for my site for 6 months.. though it is still there. But I suppose it could just dissappear any day. So I have begun re-writing the entire 70-plus pages of the website to ready it for a new server. Or at least think about it! I've lined up some new servers and generally, they would all enable me to do a lot more.. space for audio and possibly video clips on the site. My site was big ten years ago.. now I can get a lot more space for the same price, and a lot more server supported options. Though I still think I'll focus my site on what it does and leave all the specialized services like selling CDs or downloads, or streaming internet radio etc, to sites dedicated to that purpose.
I feel incredibly frustrated in watching plans that have been so clear for so long delayed and postponed again and again by cicumstances not of my making and beyond my control, while knowing I have no choice but to do what is Right. I have no questions about that, no regrets about doing what is Right, am glad to be able, to be capable, of doing them. The central tenet of my philosophy is as simple as just doing what is Right and forget the rest. But it doesn't make me happy about having to put off these too long awaited projects. And it doesn't quiet the insistent demands of these long deferred projects.
Even as I write this I feel the danger of my own desire for a place, to settle down, when I really need to focus on the music. I'm not sure if it is the long years on the road,My earliest dreams (along with a sailboat) was a homestead farm. Maybe it is the general hardship, though I like the outdoors, being constantly harrassed and hassled all the time I'm not either really far out in the wilds or hiding out at a friends place gets old after 30 years. Maybe it's just being alone.. celibacy is no fun and I'm not the type to sleep around, too emotional.. and when it comes down to it, my real need is emotional and spiritual, not physical. Fact is, I have almost no personal life, though I interact with so many people when I play the street, I seldom have time to spend with my few frinds. I walk such a unique road, so it goes. I feel just as much a need to play more, and be more creative, more progressive with the music, instead of just doing the same things I've been doing so long. I mean, I still love doing the old songs, but I need that other side, where I am creating and learning new songs, new styles, continuing to evolve and grow musically. Maybe this means I have to settle down right now at ma's house and get them done, but not get distracted by everything that needs to be done around here. I almost feel like treating it as a "9 to 5" job and shutting myself in for 8 hours a day and working.. then doing whatever else in my "spare time" like other people. As soon as I complete these projects, the music will probably demand more touring and performing. I cannot let my energies be diverted and distracted by the land and the boats, by anything. I need to keep to a patient philosophy of keeping those dreams on track, making steady progress, but not letting them take priority from the music and the spirit that drives me. Like buying the land, as long as I can feel satisfied I am working towards a better future, a time I can settle down, places I can be more productive in things that require me to settle more, then I can turn my attention to other things. I can focus on the things I feel are important, which aren't what I can do for myself, but what I can do for others, to serve the music, to serve the people, to try and make a better world.
The world isdefinitely heading into tough times, and "I told you so" is remarkably unsatisfying. I just have to do my best to deal with the disasters they have accomplished by refusing to listen to us long-haired hippie-type environmentalists advocating peace, freedom, and justice, truth and rationality, love and compassion, sensitivity, consideration, and unselfishness. Well, as I say, at least they haven't burned us at the stake lately, though I'm sure they would like to. But there's nothing like being a persecuted people to inspire good folksongs.. as the saying goes, they may have all the guns, power, and money, but we have the songs. And we were (and are) right.. always one of the worst of crimes. Unfortunately the reality isn't much fun, and I sort of lost the amusement somewhere ten or fifteen years back. I find it an added strain to deal with the daily news of corruption, stupidity, and disasters that could be avoided, the irrationality and lies, the whole pathetic mess. Watching the old karmic wheel come around as the consequences of all the things we warned about slowly bear their bitter fruit is pretty harsh. Especially when I am so far from any chance of doing much about it. It makes me too angry, too harsh and hard, to disgusted and discouraged. I have spent my life trying to help people get it right, but it's like trying to stop the inevitable. They are bound and determined to wreck the boat, and the rich are having a field day running things, and at least half the people are either totally oblivious or sucked into their fantastic illusion of lies and outright denial and arrpgant ignorance and stupidity. It is very much a pain.
More simply, I want to be free of plans. Free of the unrelenting pressure of too long delayed happenings, things that should have happened years ago. I want to go with the flow of energies, not this constant over-drive I've been on, and more, the rigidity of all these nescessary actions.. agenda ("that which must be done") after agenda, pages of lists of things I have to get done, and I do, every day, but it is a mountain that takes me away from that old spontinaity, the intuitive, mystical life I once had. I want to be free to go where life leads me, where people need me, where I can serve best. That is the way. I am not happy or comfortable focusing my energy on my own life, in serving myself. It is not my way. I have focused on what I have to give, not what I get, and I can't really change now. And yes, I am tired, and scarred, but I can't stop now, I am just as determined as ever, just as dedicated. Social activism is the one thing I haven't really felt I've gotten back "on-line" again since the personal disasters of the 90's, and that mystical, magical, spiritual life and discipline I once had, from doing my strtches and forms to wallkabouts in the wildlands. It was once the very center of my life, and the work of conciousness raising was part of it. Music started out really as a means to that end, tho I had no "end in mind, but it was what I was, where I was, when I was just being there (if that makes sense at all). I lived in a strange mystic dream-time, a whole different world of perception I can't really explain, living totally by "intuition" or some "other" senses, and it worked to amazing perfection on a practical, pragmatic level,with none of the "supernatural" lala land stuff.
But through it all, there was still the music, from the very beginning. Only recently have I recognized that my music had a real value, and made it an end in itself. I think about the cultural exchange program, and the local school programs, or even the street as being a goodwill ambassador representing the other side of America, the progressive left that is responsible for so much that makes America great. To reflect how I feel, I keep returning at times to the concept I once invisioned creating a model of ecotourism, which I could try again down in Belize/Mexico, rekindling my old vision for a vagabondi hostel/school. More immediately, I want to take the old, low fi VHS recordings of my old social conciousness raising campus shows and digitize them so I can re-master them to release on DVD and the internet. Perhaps it is the last part of my life to come back simply because it is so deep. It isn't as simple as the other things, what I need to do is not so clear. It also makes the greatest demands upon my heart, mind, and spirit, which are all still in the process of healing, of having what it takes to shine. Often I still feel very far from recovered.. I often feel like I may never get really over it, never be the same. So be it, I can still manage to do a lot, despite my problems.
I also want to be practical, and perhaps it is time to start building an ark, so to speak, but I can't even see that saving myself is that important. Selfishness is just not something I really am cognizant of, even in the most basic terms. Though I am also very strict about always being totally self-supporting and self-reliant, never dependent or beholden to others, never in need, never asking for anything, never needing to. In fact, I am so to a fault, having to struggle to accept what people want to give without feeling indebted. So while I am not interested in building myself a personal retreat, I want to be ready to take care of myself, and not be dependent upon others, a burden if times get hard. When in fact, my skills could make me a provider for others in a subsistence situation. Oddly enough, I have the knowledge of how to survive, and homestead, how to live off the land and the sea, how to make do, and get by. People need to survive and it is true that I could lead some people to safety so to speak. I really don't buy into all the disaster fantasies or armagedonist philosophies. Life will go on, but times could get harsh, too. Though really, I am used to living without the "comforts of civilization" so I won't miss them so much as others. My earliest plans where to form a cooperative self-reliant community of homesteaders to build a sustainable lifestyle blending voluntary simplicity and appropriate technology. Maybe its time to try that again. I do not know what to do, really, though I feel a mounting frustration as I start to have the energy to do something, so I look for someplace to start at least. Some small ways to start that energy moving again in my life.
Though I must admit, the situation is not good! My hope is that disasters of the magnitude America is achieving will finally force the American people to recognize their responsibility, and the nescessity, to build a sustainable economy, a just and equitable one, instead of an exploitive one run for the benefit of the few. It will force them to recognize the environmental unsustainablitiy of their consumptive, exploitative, un-sustainable and irrational systems. It is a world I invisioned so long ago now, when there was a chance to avoid the cliff we were headed for, though I knew somehow they would not. I've often said we had the solutions long ago, the answers, but nobody wanted to listen, and nobody did naything as the corporate rich who's profits would be effected crushed us. My great fear is that the enormity of American resposibility will just feed a guilt driven denial, make it impossible for them to admit their mistakes till it is way too late, even afterwards. It may already be way too late as far as that goes... The American people are really ignorant, deluded, misinformed and manipulated to the the highest degree money and power can manage..the younger generations worst of all. Though so often, like most people, they still have good hearts, though also so often, like many people, twisted and warped. It would be almost ludicris if it weren't so frightening and the consequences so dire. But there is still lots of hope, if people only come to see, if reason overcomes ignorance and superstition, if compassion overtakes greed. There is hope in every person, that they will see. But its not the end of the world, I know that. It's been a long, hard road to make it as far as we've come in the struggle.. singing all the way. "...deep in my heart, I do believe, we shall overcome, one day...","and all that you have is your soul...","and you know, the darkest hour, its always, always just before the dawn..", "these songs of freedom, are all I ever had..."
"living for each day, and traveling on the way.."
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