Sunday, August 21, 2011

Book It!

I've been thinking about deadlines. They're everywhere, in one form or another. Bills, taxes, getting your car smogged, the morning bell at school, getting to work on time...

Then there are the things in life we want to do, and because we want to do them, we don't associate them with deadlines. For one thing, there's that word dead inside it. The word has an ominous feel. It just doesn't fit with the notion of enjoyable things. For another, if we want to do it, it's probably something that can wait...or is entirely optional.

The result is, those enjoyable things get pushed to the bottom of our list because, of course, the items with deadlines are more pressing.

I've been saying for years that I need to learn some more cover songs to round out our set of original songs. Not only would it be good for me, it would be fun and would allow our band to play out more. But that's one of those After-such-and-such's something that can wait until other deadlines are met.

Trouble is, the deadlines of everyday living are never all met.

There will always be more chores, more bills, more taxes.

Pretty soon you're having to smog your car again.

Pretty soon you're dead.

So Mark decided that what we needed was a deadline--a way to make what we want to do as pressing as things we have to do.

So he booked us a bar gig.

"You did what?" I squeaked when he told me.

"We've got five weeks to learn twenty more songs."

It took me two days to truly comprehend that a) he wasn't kidding, and b) he wasn't cancelling.

Now, for Mark this is no big deal. He's played drums in professional bands his whole life. He knows his way around hundreds of songs, and if he doesn't know a song he can totally fake it. And the boys are young and energetic with sponge-like brains and don't have bills to pay and laundry to fold. Nothing is more important to them than music, so they are all over this new deadline.

Me? I've mostly stuck to writing and playing original songs. I'm comfortable with them. You understand a song if you write it. You know the chords and when to come in and how it's's yours. Plus you wrote it for a reason--it means something to you.

But outside of that? Well, for starters, I'm rhythmically challenged.

 Hello? Wasn't that the one?

Mark is so patient.

And then I have to remember all the words.

Words are important!

But half the time they don't make any sense.

"It's rock and roll, Wendelin, get over it."


Anyway, we've been woodshedding in the studio, and to my great surprise, I actually can sing songs like "Helter Skelter", and "Life is Beautiful" (Sixx AM). I've always thought maybe I could and that someday I'd try, but this deadline has forced me to get over my nerves and doubts and belt it out.

It's also been great therapy. This has been one stressful summer with zero vacation time, so being forced to do something I really love is probably the best thing Mark could have done for me.

So my little advice to you is to give yourself a deadline to do something you've been wanting to do but haven't made time for. Book yourself a gig. Or a poetry reading. Or a lunch date. Or a 10K.

What is it you wish you had time for?

Pick a date, a venue, a race, and book it!


sammy4ever said...

HEY! It's been a LOOOOOONG time since I've commented, I've just been really busy, and apparently, pressing the comment button and typing takes up too much time nowadays.
Eh heh.
Anyway. I have this ritual every Sunday where I check your blog every five minutes to see when you update, and then when I see that you've finally posted I have a mini dance break in celebration. Then I crack my knuckles, say to myself 'Time to get down to business.' and read your lovely post.
As I said before, I've been avoiding the comment button. Not because I don't like you (Uh, I LOVE you), but because long story short, we moved into a rental home while our house is being remodeled, and this rental has a not-so-good internet connection which means it's a hassle to keep switching urls and webpages and all that stuff.
But I've decided to suck it up and FINALLY just COMMENT.
Sorry I just spent an entire paragraph talking about myself and my issues. Now I'm gonna tell you how much I love you and your posts.
First of all, DEADLINES.
I hate deadlines. I associate this word more with school projects and stuff like that, whereas you, as an adult, associate the word with nasty things like TAXES.
I dread the day I become an adult and have to do my own taxes. I've watched my mom and dad stress over them for years.
Let's just say it's best to stay out of their way and make them some really strong coffee during said times.
But anyway, yes, deadlines stress me out. But then I learned the trick. I'm not sure if this will help you in your field of work, but it definitely helps in school. Usually, when a teacher assigns a project or an essay or just a simple piece of homework that is not due the next day, I always act like it is, just so I tackle it early. Then I don't stress as the due date draws nearer.
Of course, I can't do that all the time. Sometimes I have to stop myself and say 'You can't finish this in one night. You don't want it to be sloppy. TWO nights wouldn't be so bad, would it?'
The process works for me. Course, it murders my social life, but it's all good in my hood.
As for the rock n' roll, all I have to say is AWWWW YEAAAHHHHHHH.
Helter Skelter, I LOVE THAT SONG.
I used to listen to the original, and the cover by U2 back to back in the car on the way to school.
My mom's a big U2 fan, so they are quite big in my life. I know all their songs by heart(:

g said...

I really like your topic this week :)
It really ties in with a lot of peoples lives at this moment :)
For kids it means back to school shopping; getting supplies, clothes, finishing summer work, ect.
For adults, it means, as you said, taxes, bills, ect.

And i think i will put a deadline on the things i want to do.
it will make sure i don't just pass them by.

Anonymous said...

I love this post.
Usually for me to remember something i have to plan it.If i don't,i probably wont remember.And i feel when you HAVE to do something,you DON'T want to do it.But things you WANT to do but don't HAVE to do,you end up doing.It's exciting to have a gig!It takes work but in the end,you'll be happy to know that you've done something and made people happy.There is nothing better than knowing that you've made someone happy(:

Archived said...

Hey, Wendelin! I love the deadline topic, I wish I had more time to sleep now that school has started. Don't think I can make a deadline for that. :D
I can't wait until the next Sammy Keyes!!! I already put it on hold in the library.

bookworm said...

First of all..........
THE MENTION OF LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I LOOOOOOVE THAT SONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ok, now that i"m over my weirdness................ it's funny that school started today for me, and that you happen to mention deadlines............ School is all about deadlines! don't pay a $3.00 studet fee, pay $300.00 when you try to get your transcripts when you graduate! :D

But i'm glad you've finally got a gig, since you talk about music and the act of music so much.......... Break a leg at your show! :D

(not literally)

Raisa Karim said...

This is off topic, but can you post a pic of your family and a short post about each of their personalities? I'd rly like to get to know the other branches of your life. It'd be fun.

Norma said...

You know, I just love how you can make every little aspect of life sound so intense. Good luck on the gig, Wendelin! I know you'll do great because you're you of course. ^_^

Alexa said...

There's never enough time in the day to do everything you try to accomplish. I'm always like "Ok, I'l get done with school, finish the chores, and then work on that song (or book)." But I just don't have time for that...but y'know I'll eventually get to it....

I don't like the word deadlines. Maybe the word dead has something to do with that? I don't know. It just has this feel to it.....

Well that's all i have to say for now! see ya next post

Eleanor said...

Um... where are you playing? I live near you and I would kinda love to see you... So where? and when?

g said...

Hi Wendelin,
Sorry to bother you but I was just wondering when night of skulls is coming out? I know you changed it to September, ( THANK YOU! ) but I wasn't sure when. I've been waiting since January so I'm super excited!
:) GwynMaLaur

Ang28 said...

We love Sammy Keyes!

How do I get your mailing address? My 9 year old son has just discovered Sammy Keyes after a bit of persuation from me (I new he would like the series.) Anyway, after I told him you live in our area (we are in Los Osos) he wrote you a letter the next day, even pasted his school picture and drew some symbols from the book on it. This is no easy task for him because he has a learning disability and HATES to write and reading has been a challenge but he loves books and stories. Anyway, I promised him I would mail his letter to you. Thanks for writing such great stories and inspiring kids to read.