Over a hundred posts in, I am stepping back to evaluate and improve. Revamping will take time. I will post sporadically instead of each Wednesday and Saturday. My vision for this blog has not changed. I have a public life as a Muscle Shoals songwriter, show organizer, promoter, and mentor. Many creative Muscle Shoals music people do not know how to promote themselves or share their knowledge. I already help them with that Now I want us all to have a larger audience.
I also want to share my love and experience as a photographer of birds and flowers, as a flower grower (mostly from seeds), as a quilter, and as writer. I am writing a book about my long history in music, including why Garth Brooks says I am the person who discovered him and started it all for him.
I have bipolar disorder. I share my experiences as well as how I cope.
We all leave a legacy. I want this blog to be part of mine. I want to see how much of what I do in person can be done online. To do that I need to build a strong foundation to support better posts, interviews, shows, courses, and a store. I can do all with time and focus.
Please subscribe to or follow me. Go to the category list on the side bar to read posts that interest you. I hope you go to the Song page to listen to some of my songs. Part of my process is sharing and getting feedback. Creating in a vacuum is hard.
You can already find a lot here. There will be more. Come back.
Bipolar energy can be wonderful – or not. Mildly high where I am now- just under hypomania – is my favorite. Bipolar high energy is a natural state determined by body chemistry not drugs or situations so I can not induce it. If you know me personally, you know what I mean, You have witnessed it. When I have high energy, I feel good. I wake up ready to get up. I make progress on whatever project I choose. I am passionate and positive. Ideas come easily. I am comfortable in a group. The metaphor of a candle burning too bright is a good one. It is going to burn out. I look at days, not a life, as a candle. Perhaps that is why I love the saying I will live to fight another day. Make hay while the sun is shining is a good metaphor, too.
I am glad I do not have such high energy all the time. It would wear me and my family and friends out. I have coped with bipolar disorder so long that I know the longer I have high energy the more likely I will crash or keep going to a manic high. Think of any pendulum. I wish I could totally control what comes next. I have strategies to help me get back to that sweet spot of balance. I have posted about having bipolar energy before. Go to the categories listing on the sidebar to find those posts. I was diagnosed over twenty-five years ago. I am happier and my life makes more sense. My highs are not as high and best of all my lows are not as low. My mantra is eat, sleep, take meds. Balance is possible, but I have to be aware and have to want balance. The wanting balance is important. Anyone else who has bipolar disorder understands that. In the meantime, I ride the wave and take advantage of the high energy. I am still creative without it, but I do not get as much done. Without it, I am more focused and aware of other people. Yes, coming back to center is the sweet spot. When there, I enjoy my life more because I am quieter and more in tune with others and nature. In the meantime, I give that candle permission to burn brightly. I trust I will come back to center. In the meantime, I am thankful for this time of making progress with this blog. I bumped up to the WordPress business plan so I need this energy to advance my knowledge. There is so much to learn about building a blog with a large following.
Please, do subscribe to or follow this blog. I want it to be a sharing space. Sharing goes both ways.
Leave comments with questions if you like. I am an advocate for myself and others with bipolar disorder. I will not give advice, but I will share resources. For my own self-care, I have boundaries. Email me, and I will answer. Go to Contact page.
Soon I will not have to live via Zoom only. I have the same mixture of excitement and apprehension I always had at the beginning of a university semester. New options. A chance to restructure my time. Two weeks from Monday I will be two weeks past my second vaccination shot. I will be out and about – still masked – as safe as can be. What an odd thought. Since mid-March, I have been home alone and have not gone anywhere, not even to the grocery store. I have relied on InstaCart and Door Dash. Before the pandemic, my calendar was full. I overbooked. Since then my Zoom calendar has been full. I have structured my days around Zoom meet-ups, songwriting sessions, webinars and courses. I traded in person commitments for online ones.
I do not want my pre-pandemic schedule back.. Anyone with me on this? Before the pandemic almost everything on my calendar was in some way connected to music although I said I wanted to be more involved in other things. I had few days at home.. Since I have had all days at home with fewer options, I have devoted as many if not more hours to music. Just to be sure I had enough to do, I enrolled in blog building and book writing courses and webinars. Songwriting, blog building, and book writing became my focuses. Three major focuses are too many. I was already questioning if each is worth being a major focus. Am I taking for granted and not focusing on something equally or more important? How many unrelated yet wonderful things am I missing because I am so focused on these three things. Now that I will have more options, I wonder even more what I want to do. One would think that at seventy-five I would have answers. I imagine there are people my age whose lives are in comfortable and satisfying grooves, people who no longer go through angst, people who just know what they want. I also accept I have never been and will never be one of those people. Therefore, I blog… on and on.
Knowing I will no longer be living via Zoom but will have live options is enough for now. I do not have to have the answers to my questions. What will I leave in? What will I leave out? What will I add? Time will tell.
(If you are an email subscriber, consider yourself a beta reader reading a first draft. Almost always, I come back and edit. I always catch typos later.)
Will I miss anything about eleven months of self-isolation? I will soon find out. I get my second shot the 16th. Then in another two weeks, being ultra cautious as I have been, I will ease back into “normal” life. I am looking forward to that. I do not want to become a recluse, but the closer late February gets, the more I think about what I am looking forward to and what I will miss once my self-isolation is over.
The last year has been one of introspection and reflection for me. Once I am back to normal or anything close to normal, do I want my life to be different than it was before Covid19? I have had time for things I love that I did not take time for before. I am asking myself what I want to leave in and what I want to leave out. What is important to me and what is not? What do I miss and what do I not?
It is all about time. I will be seventy-six in April, so these questions are more important to me than ever before. After almost a year of being isolated with time to think about the past, present, and future, I know I want changes from the past and now. I want to use my time more wisely. (Have you ever thought of the expressions we use with time? We have it. We spend it. We use it. We waste it. We take it. We have it on our hands. We lose track of it. No matter how we try we can not keep it.) Since I have been able to do little of anything, I have thought about all the ways I want to spend my time. I have also thought about a time in my future when I will once again be able to do little- or nothing. That time will come. No one lives forever.
Some of my life I definitely want to be different than it is now. Some of my before Covid life I want back. Some of my life this last eleven months, I do not want to lose. When I have somewhere to go, will I put seeds on my deck every morning and late afternoon? Will I miss the Rose-breasted Grosbeaks and the Cedar Waxwings because I am too busy to watch for them? What about those days when I have no commitment and the sun is shining and the ground is just right to plant, to dig bulbs and plants to move them, and to weed. Will I be so busy I do not take to be in tune with my body and nature. Will I forget my time is not unlimited?
Sometimes you just know your life is going to change even before it does. Mine is. I am seventy-five soon to be seventy-six. Last year I wrote two or three songs most weeks. I do not see myself writing so many songs this year. I am not going through writer’s block or discouraged with myself as a songwriter. This is not just about age. Something else is out there for me.
I welcome whatever is coming. I do not have preconceived ideas about what one should and should not do at any certain age, but I can not see myself at eighty still writing relevant songs. For several years, I have been writing legacy songs, songs to let listeners know my beliefs and emotions. How much more do I have to say that is not already in one of my songs?
I have been in strict self-isolation since last March. I got my vaccination shot this week. By this March I will not be isolated depending on Zoom for human contact. Perhaps that is the shift I am feeling. Still I do not see myself forever focusing on songwriting even when I can once again be in the same room as my cowriters. I can see myself still writing, just not so many songs. I was writing poetry and short stories long before I became a songwriter. I am writing a book and this blog. I can see myself doing both years from now. I have a history of offering guidance to other music people, especially young ones. I can see myself doing that. I also have enjoyed planning and hosting events. I can see myself doing that.
And then, there’s what I call my personal lfe. I want more time for it. I see myself focusing more on family. I see myself spending more time planting and taking care of my flowers and watching birds. Then there are the things I want to do that I have not done. When I retired, I had a list. Life is short at best. I want more than songs in mine.
Welcome to my inner world. I hope what I write in some way touches you.
I have already written about it here. Now I have captured it in a song. When my cowriters have writing sessions, we check in with each other. When we ask, “How are you?” or “What’s going on with you?”, we are not being polite. We care about each other and want to know. Sometimes the song has nothing to do with our answers, but sometimes the honesty of those talks fuels passion into the song. Those songs are different. They are not written around a hook or idea one of us comes in with. They are written from raw emotions. I am not saying they are better songs, but I am saying I love them more.
Two cowriters and I wrote such a song this week. I am not calling names or going into details because those talks are the kind you have with someone you trust. We wrote about struggling with keeping passion and enthusiasm for a dream or an endeavor begun wiith high hopes and energy. With dreams and projects, it is true the bigger they are the harder they fall. We wrote about hearing the count. At that point, we have to make decisions. Is it worth the fight? Will our life be better with it or without it? Do we give up or get up?
In our song, the singer wonders if she has anything left to give. She has searched her heart. She does not know which way to go. As often is in true life, although the answer is within, something from outside gives hope. She knows she will live to fight another day.
The song is not about boxing. It is about living. The song? Red Bird.
Christmas 2020. Different than any we have had. How many families won’t be together?
My house has been the family Christmas house since Mother passed. I am decorating this year not sure if anyone will be inside my house. The past few years I have had help putting the tree up and decorating it. Someone else put up outside lights This year I am doing it all, not as organized and detailed as usual.
I am so aware this year that Christmas is not about decorating or baking. It is about family and friends.
PS: Tonight I have been unpacking boxes of decorations. I will be putting more ornaments than I planned. Christmas may not be about decorating and baking, but would it be Christmas without them?
PS – again!Well, I guess if I am going to put most of my ornaments on, I will put another string or two of lights first.
Ps- yet again! Every tree needs 200 more lights, right?
Ever wonder how it would feel to be in someone else’s skin, to feel what they feel? I wish I could be in what I call a “normal” person’s skin. If you have read previous posts, you know I struggle with bipolar disorder and at times feel anything but normal even though I know there is no normal. Identifying what is a symptom of bipolar disorder and what is simiply human nature is hard. When I am struggling, the distinction does not matter to me. I write about bipolar disorder during the worst of times or when I am coming out of a hard time. I write because I know that others who have bopolar disorder will to some extent recognize themselves. Always I hope that my story will help in some way. Perhaps someone will decide to get professional help. Perhaps someone will not give up.
I have been struggling with shutdown for weeks. The one thing I am able to do even in difficult times is write songs with my cowriters. This time I kept up with Wednesday and Saturday blog posts. Other than that I have been what I call operating on top of and maintaining. I am not sure others see the difference. I suspect they do. If you have been reading this blog, you know the story – up to yesterday.
Yesterday I cleaned house. This morning I woke up wanting to write before I did anything else. Those two things do not sound all that dramatic, but in context they are. I wish I knew why my energy shifted so I would know what to do next time to get myself up and going. I am not saying anything as dramatic as I got up feeling like a light had been switched on. I will say I felt different, lighter. Perhaps this morning’s energy was because I finally managed to get my house in order and at least surface clean. To me the two are related with both a result of shifting energy.
I have no way of knowing how long this good energy will last. I do know I will enjoy it while I have it. I am writing this as Wednesday’s scheduled post and posting it early. In the morning, I have a Zoom songwriting session. After that I look forward to working on my book. Before I go to bed tomorrow night, I expect to do some basic clutter control. I will be doing more than just operating on top of. I will be comfortable in my own skin.
I expect I will have a good day. I will let you know how it goes.