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So much to learn. So little time.

I want to get back into the martial arts and I want to learn to swordfight. It's been so long since I've done any serious training that it'll be a lot like starting over again. The thing this time that's different from when I did kung fu years ago is that I am learning a different style. I'm interested in learning a martial art that's more focused on actually being able to properly defend yourself and do it well.

I know a guy who has done Krav Maga, Muy Thai and boxing. He's said he'll teach me in a year to be better at actually defending myself than many people ever will be if I am dedicated. I'm the sort who does get dedicated to what he does. The only concern I have is for damaging one of my hands. A broken hand is six to eight weeks off of playing guitar. That doesn't ruin your ability to play but those are still lost weeks during which time you could have been writing songs and getting better at the instrument. I suppose that's simply a risk one takes. Living in fear of it makes it more likely to happen.

As for learning to fight with swords, that'll be a bit harder to properly learn. When it comes to fighting arts, you have to spar in order to be able to be worth a damn at it. You can shadow box as much as you like, and that is rather useful, but you need to go head-to-head with people in order to be able to actually do the thing itself. Finding a teacher in my area to learn swordplay, a skill that I grant isn't the most practical in our world, will be a challenge. It may be best left to after I properly spend the year learning hand-to-hand self defense.

I have so much I want to learn, all at once. I wonder at how much of it I will ever properly get to learn before I die. I guess I should focus more on the journey, the learning itself, but that is often easier said than done.

Tonight I was off work. I didn't get much done at all since a good friend of mine showed up at my house in need of some consoling. I spent most of the evening making her feel better about not being able to find an after-college job in her field and not being able to find a boyfriend. Pretty typical concerns. I guess what worried me was that she really never gets bothered by anything. Seeing her aura all scared-colored was unnerving to me.

Even the strong can waver. It's best to remember that.
ghosthound: (Default)
Autumn has begun in my city.

I can feel the familiar chill in the air, the change in seasonal energy bringing Summer's blazing green to fade into Autumn's complexities of Reds and Oranges. People have spoken on the glory of this seasonal change and, indeed, the wonders of Autumn so often that I won't bore you with the details just yet. What I will describe a bit is how it is for a person who works third shift.

The days get shorter. For me, someone who sees more night-time than day-time, this is more obvious than I thought it would be. This is my first Autumn season working nights. It's already turned out to be stranger than I thought. Being as the nights are longer and I wake up at somewhere around four pm each day, I am seeing far less daylight than I otherwise would have. It's more jarring on me than I thought it would be. It also makes me remember that, come winter when it gets dark here around five in the afternoon, I might feel as though I am A BEING OF PERPETUAL DARKNESS.

Possibly I'll get depressed. I'm really not sure. I'm kind of anxious about that possibility. I've never tried such a thing before. It'd be damned unfortunate because I've never in my life suffered from the kind of winter depression so many of my friends get. I've always watched them and felt bad but secretly a bit lucky that I love the two colder months so much.

I'll freely admit that part of it came from the fact that I am short, stocky (for a time in my early teens overweight) and until recently the possessor of VERY long hair. It was like I'd grown my own hat. I viewed the seasonal change as a blessing because it meant I could wear more layers and feel more comfortable about myself. I always felt like it was a better time of year for me. In the warmer months I'd sweat a lot, being as I've always been too stubborn to not wear all black in the summer, and I'd mostly shun the outdoors.

Tonight I spent time with some of my musician friends. I gave my friend Quentin an old guitar I had owned but hadn't played in over six months. It was one of my earlier guitars, a mexican-made Fender Stratocaster for you guitar enthusiasts out there, and I have since moved on to guitars I like better. The thing of it is, I hate to see an instrument go unplayed. The things are built to be loved, played, beaten up, taken on tour, hauled to gigs and the like. d

The thing about Quentin that I respect in terms of his musicality is that he makes a lot of good stuff with honestly shit equipment. He's self-taught but not in the way I'm self taught. I taught myself more theory and technique than he did. It seems to me sometimes like he just taught himself to punch a guitar and music eventually came out that matched that which was playing in his head. He's no lead guitarist, rather a rhythm guy who writes hooks and sings (or belts if you like) out lyrics he also writes. He's a frontman and a damn good one.

My guitar was unsellable because it has some dings and scratches that nobody wants to pay for. I figured Quentin could use it. His normal guitar is pretty much a piece of driftwood on a good day and, when it's not working (which is often) he borrows his bassist's les paul. It is now the most high quality instrument he owns. It felt good to help him out. He'll give the guitar a good home. I'm sure of it.

I am often jealous of people like him because they never fell into a musical trap I did. When I began playing seriously a few years ago I got gear-happy. I spent way too much money on things I didn't need or only used once or twice. People like him never had the money to just throw around. They had to make due with what little they had and, normally, that makes you better and more creative. I still feel like an idiot for getting stuck for longer than I'm comfortable admitting worrying over having the right bit of gear before just rushing headlong into music. I am doing it now and I occasionally worry that it's me coming to the game a bit late.

I say this knowing that 24, my current age, is by no means "old" in the current musical climate. It's changed so much that people in their thirties, forties and even fifties are suddenly making careers out of it. Hell, some of Abney park's members are in their thirties and have been since I first discovered them in the debut issue of Steampunk Magazine some... six years ago now.

I probably worry too much at that sort of thing. It's easy to tell yourself to get off your ass and start seriously beating your head against the goal and another thing to drag yourself to doing it day-in, day-out. I sat in Quentin's living room talking with him and his band He's five years my senior and has been at this band stuff for maybe two or three years. I'm leaning more towards two but I'm not sure. I've been trying to get a band to stick together for about two years with no luck. It's all a matter of timing and finding the right people.

I've always viewed the creative process, with writing and music composition, as something akin to fighting. I picture that there's some ogre of a man, seven feet tall, muscular and veiny, mouth-breathing in some psychotic rage looking down at me. I have to kill him to get to what's behind him which is anything from 1,000 words of good fiction, two minutes of decent music or a lifetime of success and joy. Each time I manage this, he will regenerate. Sometimes he's bigger, sometimes he's smarter and knows what to tell me to deflate me, sometimes he's got weapons and sometimes he's just plain meaner than he was before.

I'll be fighting him my whole life, I think. He'll kill me one day. As long as I don't give up, though, he can't win.

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ghosthound

January 2013

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