2012's End Of Year Review
2013's End Of Year Review
2014's End Of Year Review
2015's End Of Year Review
Is it there -- is it right there?
Right in front of you? Right in front of you!
This is what you've been waiting for for a long, long time.
Make it real, make it right now -- make it right now!
You've gotta live it now... ( Read more... )
There were three thoughts that went through my head when I came up with my NaNo idea (Pokemon in Ohio). I will cover the first two in other blog posts, because they are the images with which I started my story. I usually start stories with a scene or two that starts it off and then helps me carry the story. For The Dealey Five, that scene was Tamasine on the table in the room, all alone. For Blue Impulse, it was the scene at the end of the first tournament that inspired the faded picture, with the words "We'll remember this forever, right?" on the back of it. There are two moments like that for this story, and I'll cover those in a bit.
But the third was, "Okay, so if Pokemon is in Ohio, then what is Ohio?"
I knew where I wanted to choose the name from almost immediately. I know a fair amount of Japanese at this point, and one of the kanji combinations I learned was 真中, manaka. I knew it most from Manaka Laala from the anime Pri Para, as all of their characters use directions for their last names. Laala's rivals have last names that mean "north" and "south," and the two American twins literally have the last name West. Laala's last name is Manaka, which means "in the center."
You know. Like "The Heart Of It All." I've dropped Ohio's old slogan a couple of times in Cosmic, as it's the title of the first book and as a slogan the kids remember from before the zombie apocalypse. And they should. Growing up, it was everywhere. I would see the big sign every time I'd go back and forth from Indianapolis to Zanesville, stating I was in "The Heart Of It All!" I didn't really know precisely what that meant at the time, and while it's still kind of vague, the sentiment still rings true.
The heart. The center. Manaka. And like lots of corruptions in the Pokemon world, mah-nah-kah became MAIN-kuh.
In many ways, Manka is just like any other Pokemon region. There are people and Pokemon living side by side, a sense of adventure, kids learning about Pokemon for the first time, and peace and harmony. But when I thought about making Manka, I wanted to really focus on what I liked about Ohio. What did I miss those five years I was in New York City? What was I learning to reappreciate now that I was back?
One of the big draws for me was the scenery. The first month of being in Ohio was spent getting reaccustomed to things other people don't even think about. Like driving. And leaves. And opening the back door and watching your dog walk out. And being able to make right hand turns. And silence. Lots of silence. And the sky, and how it would turn colors right before the sun set, and how it's not Manhattanhenge but it's somehow better. I didn't have too long to get used to Zanesville -- I got a new job just as my parents moved to Powell, so I went with them. (For those of you keeping track at home, yes, that's two moves in one month, and I have still gotta find a place of my own.)
The long-ish drive to work from Powell (depending on traffic and time of day) runs along the Scioto River, and looking out over it and watching the foliage go by is strangely peaceful. How could I incorporate these images into my story? My mission became not only to write about what Pokemon would be like in Ohio, but to write about this Manka in such a way that people who had never been to Ohio would know what Ohio was like -- even through the Pokemon lens. I want my friends from NYC to read this fanfiction and know, "She's from Ohio." Because I am.
I found a nature preserve with two walking trails and took pictures as I went. While I went, I could almost feel my main characters running down the paths, on their journey to discover what the world held for them. Maybe the path led to a new town, where they could rest for a while. Maybe they would find more wild Pokemon in the bushes, or maybe they would climb a tree and see the views. The endless possibility can almost seem nostalgic, for a time when anything was truly possible.
And that's not the only thing, as well. I want to show the academic history of Columbus by putting the regional university and Pokemon Professor there. I want to highlight Cleveland's recent sports fame, but to also see it for myself with new eyes. I want to make Pokemon trainers have to stop in Zanesville until the First Friday of every month, so they can experience the art walk. I want sternwheelers on the Ohio River and parasailing on Lake Erie, shopping in Cincinnati and riding roller coasters in Sandusky. And I want to highlight the southern part of the state, the hard working, blue collar history that has made Ohio what it is today, the history I read about in my great-grandfather's stories.
And I honestly hope I do it justice.
Okay. I know what you're thinking. "Emily, WHY are you writing fanfiction for National Novel Writing Month? Isn't now, I don't know, time to work on your next epic work or Dvorak novel so we can read those?" Well, yeah, under normal circumstances, that would be perfect. But I gotta be honest with you. My love of writing went DOA about two years back thanks to a lot of circumstances that I'm just now uncovering. And while I fight through that, I do need to find something to write. Something that will keep my attention. Apparently, right now, that appears to be Pokemon.
Which I guess I don't mind. Pokemon is something I've been into for years, long before Pokemon Go was a craze and everybody was stopping traffic on Fifth Avenue. I definitely have my "on" moments and my "off" moments with the property, usually on when there's a new game and off when I get frustrated or stuck. I'll play nonstop for a few months and then go half a year without picking it up again. I have to wonder if this would be the thing that would make me pick it up full-time, to actually be a Pokemaniac, all of the time, and to not be scared of it? I mean, even mentioning that is laughable. What is there to be scared of?
And of course I want you to read it! But I know precisely what you're thinking. You either have no clue what Pokemon is, or just enough of a clue that you know you don't want to read it. Me writing about the story on this blog is a way to get you to understand my process and the meaning behind why I'm writing fanfiction this year. And I don't know if I'll get the story done right now, but I sure as heck want you to be a part of it. There's a lot riding on this, I guess.
So. Without further ado.
Pokemon games always come in pairs, sometimes with a third version later on as an upgrade. The originals, Red and Blue, were released as two separate versions because each cartridge had different monsters on it. In order to "catch em all," you had to trade with the other. The two opposite cartridges in my head, for my Pokemon fan story, are called White Dawn and Black Dusk, with a third cartridge named Grey Twilight. Whether or not that sticks is dependent on a few different things, but I like them for now. Also in my head, each cartridge corresponds to a book, so I am writing White Dawn for this next month's NaNo.
Okay, so great. So what is Pokemon, other than cute creatures? Well, let me give you a quick primer. Let's call this, "Explaining Pokemon to Tamsin Silver." Because, in my head, I get to explain Pokemon to my goth club roommate from NYC who doesn't know the difference between a witch and a Mismagius. (Roll with it.)
Imagine a world, just like ours. There are countries in this world, and cities and towns, and people who go about their everyday lives just like we do. But imagine if the things that separated us in this world didn't separate us in the other one -- or, at least, not as much. There is no God or Buddah or Jesus or Moses, because everybody knows the legends about the world, and a good portion of them (through the game's mechanic) we know to be true. We know that, in this world, a being came into existence through an egg made out of matter, and that being became God and created the world. (Yes, this being is one of the Pokemon.) The being created all that is known, and since humans know this being and know of its existence, there's no war about who is right or wrong about things of that nature. Because there aren't as many misunderstandings, and because everybody is seen as equal, there is nearly no war and nearly no hardship. It sounds extremely Japanese, but hey, this did start in Japan.
The other interesting thing about this world is its animals, and even some of its plants. They are sentient. Since the being-from-the-egg created the world, it created humans and animals from the same cloth. Therefore, the animals in this world have wills just like the humans do. They may be animals of all shapes and sizes, but they have wants and needs and dreams as far as their nurture may take them. Most animals in the wild would simply wish to survive. Other animals, those who have befriended humans, may long to live as pets, or even to do something bigger, like dogs racing in the Iditarod or birds doing tricks on stage. It's not just an instinct to perform just because it will get them a treat. These animals -- Pokemon -- act because they want to.
And that's not the only thing these animals have. They have something the humans don't: extra powers. Some can breathe fire. Some can swim. There are some with psychic powers that can tell the future. The well-known Pikachu can conjure up electricity on command. Some can move rocks and cause earthquakes. Others can fly through the sky. When people and Pokemon work together, houses get built, roads are paved, people can travel long distances, fires can be put out, and anything can happen! The possibilities are endless, and a big part of the Pokemon games is you working together with the creatures you've befriended.
But not all creatures are friendly. Some are huge and devastating. Usually, once a game, there are people who choose to use Pokemon for evil purposes, mainly destroying the world and all that. Because the world can be dangerous, kids have to be prepared. But they also understand that the world isn't all scary (remember: a world where people know God exists and there is no war) and that growing up means getting out, seeing the world, and figuring out what you want to do in it. "All boys leave home. It said so on TV," quotes the very beginning of the original games. The newer games reference Dorothy on her travels to Oz, among other things.
Somewhere between the ages of 10 and 14, every child in the Pokemon world has the chance to go on their very own journey. And they will not go unprepared into a world of huge legendary monsters and evil teams. They first stop by their local Pokemon laboratory, where researchers who have studied Pokemon for years will give them the latest in technology and teach them how to use it. This way, when they are journeying far from home, they will be able to recognize Pokemon they've never seen before and learn what they do. They also receive a free first Pokemon from the Professor there, so that they can put Pokemon against Pokemon if threatened. "It's dangerous in the tall grass!"
Along the way, people help out the children as they go from town to town, learn new things, go through new challenges, and ultimately emerge better people and are able to contribute to society. They also make permanent friendships with Pokemon that can last a lifetime. It's a story of bildungsroman, of wandering and nostalgia, that is distinctly Japanese but can also be really, really American -- the wide open road and the wandering soul, the Lewis and Clark in all of us.
That's what I'll talk about in my next post: the Pokemon world is one parallel to ours, like a different dimension QWERTY's keeping an eye on. Several regions and areas in the Pokemon world have direct parallels to ours: Ecruteak City in Johto is very similar to Kyoto, Japan; the Prism Tower takes its image directly from the Eiffel in France; my personal favorite, Castelia City by the water with the bridges is so, so, SO very clearly NYC. It's practically exactly alike, but not every part of the world has been Pokemon-afied yet.
So, as I arrived home, as I sat in Zanesville with not a whole lot to do except write music and try to find a job, away from NYC and the bustle I once called home, with my head in between my knees ready to pass out from culture shock, I stopped and wondered to myself: what would happen if Ohio was a Pokemon region?
Wandering bird, show me the way
to that far away place where we remembered life.
So that your heart does not waver against the sea,
I sing, in the words of your birth country.
Ambrrarista, looking at you, Ambrrarista
We share the same fire of hope in our eyes
The long ago, far away flowers
are just like the sound of a bell.
Like the west wind, let longing fly away.
Our hands and circuits connect.
Tell me, can anything separate us?
Kirinedra, the time is here, kirinedra
Inside the light, loneliness melts away.
Can you hear this voice?
Wandering bird, show me the way
Fog, night, storms -- only love cannot be stolen
Like a bird flying across the ocean,
in order for two people to know each other,
we seek out that far away place where we remembered life.
I want to touch you. Let longing embrace me.
Spoken in the words of my language:
美しい人, I love you, 美しい人
美しい人, I'll always love you, 美しい人
Well, depends on who is watching. Because if it's someone close and dear to you, then you'll shine above all else, knowing that you're in perfect sync with that someone. What if it was someone who was close and dear to you, though? ( Read more... )
I remember the night I decided to watch Aikatsu very well, like the back of my hand.
It was dark, a warm July night in the hood, not a cloud in the sky. My friend Henry and I were walking back to my apartment from Target. Even that far north, the city was alive with hustle. Short Hispanic men washed cars in the street. Kids played in an open fire hydrant. Someone three streets down was blaring bachata.
And Henry turned to me, looked me in the eye, and said, “You know what, I think you should just watch that show. Let’s watch it together. I think it will make you a better person.
We all just kind of assumed Geauga Lake was going to be there. I mean, the park had been around since 1872 in one way, shape, or form. It was a staple of the community. That's where your dad went as a kid, and your grandfather went as a kid, and your great-grandfather went as a kid. You had these memories that lasted for generations, shared things. Remember when your first roller coaster was the Big Dipper? Or when you ate too much cotton candy and you got sick? That was "something special," all right. Those shared memories of things like the Kitaouji Theater, having your blood "sucked" by Yurika, every performance of Idol Activities.
Much like Aikatsu, Geauga stuck with the formula that worked. It thought it was safer from a flashier alternative. It was right, for the most part. Given enough brands and enough fashion style changes, Starlight Academy could last forever under the same system, just like Geauga did for decades. And then an amusement park sixty minutes away built the first roller coaster over 200 feet, and we all know where the summer of 1989 was spent.
Geauga had its fans, the people who still continued to go every year. But the Prism Paradise on the shore of Lake Erie had it solidly beat, fair and square. Its big thrills (and its ability to "snap and trade" tickets) were something Geauga would never have. So Geauga sold out, in order to stay alive. It tried to be something it wasn't in order to become big and popular again. Gone was Geuaga Lake, hello to "Six Flags Worlds of Adventure." It spread itself thin between too many new roller coasters, all of them pretty and none of them too particularly exciting to talk about.
Geauga was sold by Six Flags in 2004 and became Geauga again, but by that time it was too late. Six Flags had interrupted the flow of memories with its boisterous claims of fame and glory. Geauga was a shadow of what it once was. There were lots of quiet goings-on behind the scenes, and some of their roller coasters were transferred away from the park -- most notably Firehawk now at Kings Island. Looking back now, that's the difference between the fate of Geauga and, say, Dorney Park in Pennsylvania -- Dorney has stuck to its roots for 130 years. Perhaps we can all learn from that lesson.
Nobody from Geauga ever stood up in May of 2007 and said, "This is our last operating season. Get your final rides in." And that's exactly what Aikatsu never did as well. We all knew that Akari would probably become Starlight Queen and there would be changes in order, but we all assumed we'd ride it out until season 5 hit in October. But we never received notification that Ichigo and the others, and Akari and their generation, would have their stories done in a matter of weeks. Finito. With a messily wrapped bow.
We all had signs that make more sense as warning signs in retrospect -- the manga ending, Ciao not giving out new Aikatsu cards, the most recent fanbook having an All-Stars poster and less promotional cards being given out, the "All-Brand" promo they ran this wave, even the Parade Coords and Kanna sticking around. We all thought those things would stay for another year, and I held out hope that a new girl would be introduced in April and we'd get to hear her story, just like we heard Akari's, and the baton would be passed once again.
With no notice whatsoever, Geauga Lake closed its doors forever in late September of 2007. We all knew things were low, but some of us had held out hope that things would turn around. But Geauga's owners knew. The ride operators knew. We were all just kept in the dark about it, unable to see the signs of a dying generation until it was too late.
So now, we are here again. In four or five episodes, the rumors say, Ichigo and Akari's entire school will be gone. Aikatsu itself will live on, but in what reiteration we have no clue. It could be awesome. It could suck. It will probably suck, at least at first. We are losing the connections we had to these characters they built up, and no amount of movies or episodes or mobile rhythm games can do that justice. We will have to choose how to keep these characters alive, and it will be different for each of us.
For me? Perhaps I'll go to Dorney. Perhaps I'll stop in my favorite spot of Dorney, just under their oldest roller coaster, and remember the oldest roller coaster of Geauga Lake. And then I'll wander further down that midway to a new portion of the park. A more modern, compact roller coaster sits there -- one of the roller coasters that was once at Geauga Lake, back when it was Six Flags and trying to look pretty and popular. Maybe I'll go to that roller coaster, pick some daisies or Queen Anne's Lace or whatever I can without pissing off the groundspeople, and I'll lay some flowers at the station entrance.
And for Aikatsu.
I moved on Sunday! It was a good move except all of my stuff is still in boxes because I've been at work 24/7 basically. I'm fairly certain these pants have been worn for five days in a row. I want to work on my fanfiction for part of today, and might actually do so right now before the shit hits the fan/while I'm working on background stuff. Not too much I can do while the potential for being interrupted is high.
The boss is out of the office on Monday and Tuesday and I have some ideas as to what to do those days. I'll probably have to still work at the gym, but piano is fun :)
Internet's been slow here the past couple of days.
I'm moving rooms on Sunday, so I'm going to spend Tuesday going through EVERYTHING in my room and packing it up, making arrangements as need be, throwing old things out, what not, organizing. I'm actually really psyched to do it. I'm not psyched to be working a double tomorrow, though. Hopefully I get some practice in tomorrow. I have a lesson on Wednesday and of course, no practice.
I'm not going to do the concert. The way I have the concert planned in my head doesn't match the artist I want to be.
I'm gonna refocus some activities on my YouTube channel. Do covers, but only on piano, and put them out so that everybody can see them. The idea is to come in early (or stay late) at work tomorrow and get a bunch recorded so then I have a backlog. Maybe Music Mondays or something? Music of all types, pop songs, classical music, you name it, I'll do it, but also with the anime thing. Finally get people noticing me again, and then I'll decide what kind of concert I want to do.
I should get my pants done before the open mic. I know people will laugh at them, but I don't care.
I guess I don't know what Project Tradewinds is without Carolina? I still want to be in Carolina. But I don't think NYC is done with me yet. So off I go.
I remember -- softly, secretly.
What are you up to in this city?
Where are you in this city?
Surely we can't meet again.
"Tonight, I will steal Su'diera'indo from the Metropolitan Opera." -- Stardust Rider
I let go of the love from long ago,
to meet you here alone again.
Do you hear me? *Can* you hear me? We are millions of miles away now, your eyes closed, and for all I know, you cannot hear me. But I will reach you! I will not stop giving up until the year passes, at which point my heart will be truly broken, possibly irrepairable. The light in my window keeps me going. I close my eyes and hear the train, the MTA, the subway that will take me home.
And now, I'm headed to where you are,
where in the warmth of this room,
where in the warmth of our hearts,
I'll know you once again.
Do you hear me? You better hear me! We're gonna steamroll into New York City and take it by storm! And I won't rest until I find my way, until I'm complete again. Until then, I don't know who I am...but once I hear your voice, once I am standing in your city, I pray for the wings under my feet and the push forward to really make something happen. You'll lead me, won't you?
This wasn't how it was supposed to be.
There's no time machine, or utopia.
The fates have not been kind to this little girl with braids in her hair.
And yet, if one so aptly titled can rise above her mountain to disregard her spinning circuit and just to glow:
then how so ever more shall this stardust glimmer if only given the chance?
You can't save the world, but you saved me.
Your peace is inside me now.
"Since then, every single day...from that day on, I've been here! So you don't have to be alone!"
By your side, the seasons roll on.
The wishes you granted me weren't silly at all.
"It was you?"
"It was me."
"It was always you."
And now, I'm headed to where you are,
where in the warmth of this room,
where in the warmth of my hands,
I'll know you once again.
It occurred to me last night again that I take everything too seriously. Even something I guess as fun as karaoke has to be a performance, and I should be ashamed if I don't do my best in it. After waking up like a mess this morning, I gave myself a hard time about it until I realized what I didn't know until last night: that letting yourself off the hook is the key to being human.
I'm not fully here. I feel like I'm in the longest (though thankfully not most severe) panic attack ever. I'm a little ghosty. I'm disocciating but I'm going in and out. I called in and said I was sick, which is true but more from a mental health standpoint than a physical health standpoint. I feel like all of my strength has been sapped. But thankfully my spirit is okay. I refuse to be the victim in this situation. I'm not going to beat myself up, but I'm not going to go super soft on myself as well.
They're helping me out today. I feel like I'm getting more done. Then I'm gonna stop by MJ's and then go home and work on the jeans I'm currently wearing. And I'll be okay. I'll always be okay.
Today is gonna suck.
The A train stopped cold at 168th Street today. There was a door stuck and they had to take the train out of service and kick everybody else off. A few years ago, this would have been a big thing. Now, I guess I just don't care. I'm cold to it. It's not my responsibility to baby a train line. I have more important things to do, like try to run this office. (Emphasis on try.) I feel like I'm on a merry go round that's going to collapse, a walking disaster waiting to happen, where the stress level is always high. I'm grumpier to people now. My rage level is peaking high, and I don't like that at all.
I need to learn to see myself as separate from the job. Separate from my occupation. Even when that's music, or writing, or something creative. It exists, on its own, without me. Does it exist because of me? Yeah, I'm the one who got off my ass (or on my ass) and did the thing. But it's like kids. I don't just exist as my dad's daughter. I exist as my own person. So my jobs exist separately from myself, and they do take time and energy to do, but at the end of the day, I have to just let it be a job.
Which I'm actually really great at doing, and for some reason I don't want to do? I mean, it would be bad if work totally invaded so students were calling me at three in the morning with billing questions.
I'm afraid of starting over. I'm afraid of putting myself out there as a teacher and then having someone tell me I'm doing it wrong, that I'm too "whatever" to give Skype lessons, that I don't have enough experience in the real world to teach. I think about the things they tell me at work, that in order to have a leadership position they'll have to "whip me into shape." What does that mean? I still don't know what I'm doing wrong. I know I take things too seriously and I get stressed out a lot. I worked so hard to bring that stress level down, and yet I still snap into being perfect no matter where I go or what I do because it's what I'm used to. I don't know any other way to operate.
I think if I was able to do that for this job, I'd feel better about things. But everything is still important and urgent at the same time here. Everything is being presented to me in panic mode, and I'm internalizing it as my fault. We still don't have all of these contracts in, and I'm blaming myself because I wouldn't come in on my day off to work on them.
I'm internalizing the stress of this job, and it's affecting me horribly.
And I can either walk out and away, or I can find a way to stop internalizing it, and quick.
It's been nice to "have a day off," I guess. Early today I got on my old computer and pulled some transfer files. I decided that Little Fish should be on this album, so I think I'm going to go work on that now. I don't want to waste any time.
Although shopping was fun. (It was also cold as all get out.)
One of my friends from Albany has a cousin, young in age, nine or so, who plays the violin. She's been interested in taking piano, but the kicker is that she is just like I was at that age -- she heard Fur Elise, picked out the melody on the violin, then was able to play it back on the piano just by hearing it. I asked my friend if she was going to get good piano lessons, because I don't know how piano teachers or theory teachers are in Albany.
I'm also reminded of a friend of mine from Zanesville, from the TV station. He has perfect pitch and can harmonize just like that, but he doesn't know a thing about music theory or how to take it any further. And he doesn't really care, but I even figured back then it was because he didn't know any better.
I got really mad. For all I know, this kid is going to go through her entire life without knowing that she has perfect pitch, without knowing that it's a special gift, and she might not ever use it in a way that benefits other people. What's more, as a woman, she's probably already hearing messages that there are more important things to her life than her pitch, that these should be done first and above it. Those are the same type of messages that got in my way.
Now, I know I don't want to be famous even though I want to perform, and talking with people at the front desk reminded me about NSAI and how I had been working on that before. Do I want to perform? Sure. Is it my number one goal? No. Do I like being seen as a singer-songwriter with a piano? HELL NO. Anyway, this entry was supposed to be more about plans than me ranting.
So I ran to C-Town last night before coming home to grab something for my roommate, and I let it kind of ponder in my head while I walked around. While talking with my friend the previous night I had told her that, yeah, I could teach her, in theory. But I'm not in Albany, and no offense to Albany, I don't really have a desire to be there. We discussed maybe doing a series of Skype lessons, but it didn't hit me until I was in C-Town that this girl might not have any other options. And I have the skills. I conducted an entire mini-chorus for Carman's cabaret. How can I say I can't teach piano lessons over Skype? How can I withhold my talents for this girl, or quite frankly, for anybody else who's ever wanted to learn piano? It's something a lot of people want to do. I have the skill to teach them. And, at this point in my life, I actually want to teach them. I can see that there is a need that must be filled.
Now, before you go, "Emily, you can teach piano with Skype in NYC," there are a lot of different factors going into that. The main reason I'm having such problems with NYC is the time and energy thing. How can I be expected to work two jobs and then come home to teach people on Skype? I won't have the energy to, is the thing. I'd love to use this kid as a guinea pig and see if I could do it, but I want to operate on a grander scale beyond that. Plus, I want to make sure it's affordable to people -- that, yeah, they're getting their money's worth, but I want for people who wouldn't otherwise be able to take piano or theory to get a working knowledge of it. I want the kids who can't drive to piano lessons because of snow or their mom doesn't have a car or whatever to be able to take one-on-one in a way that doesn't break their bank. I'd have to charge fifty dollars for a half hour to pull it off in NYC. That's not flying with me. Plus, I don't want to only teach piano at home. I need to belong to a place. It'd drive me crazy.
So here's the vision in my head: I own a one-bedroom apartment, probably somewhere in Charlotte. It's a studio, really; I have a futon for a reason. During regular hours, I do lessons either part-time or full time at a local school, meeting with people and growing my base. I could also do Skype lessons there, if they would let me use their studio. (Another thing with teaching here in NYC: the teachers here are top-tier. If you don't have a master's degree in teaching, forget about teaching in a studio. The studio where I'm currently working as a billing administrator wants all of their teachers to have gone to Juilliard; they are even refusing people piano lessons at this point because they won't hire teachers.)
I'd have a dual setup no matter where I was, using either the studio or my own home studio, using the theoretical bedroom (or maybe the living room?). I'd have it so they could see my face on the computer, but then I could switch cameras to one that is over my hands on the keyboard so they can see how I'm playing. We could also have MIDI capabilities, and I could do a split-screen thing so I could show them theory notes right on the screen instead of holding up a book to the screen or trying to do it that way. Books could be purchased online and shipped straight to the student. They would need to have their own piano, but keyboards for simple instruction are easy to buy and not that tasking, monetary-wise.
How does all of that sound? Probably like I'm shooting the breeze. But I don't think it's fair to withhold anymore.
A long time ago, when I was going through some rough times, I wrote in here a lot. I wrote about the things that were going on in my life, and I used this journal as a place to promote my work. People read along, for a good couple of years. I came out with an album, and then I came out with a book that grew into a series.
I'd post on here every once in a while after that, and my entries got more cryptic as they went on. And who knows how often I'll write now? But this time, I'm writing less for you and more for myself. Tumblr is too PC, Twitter not enough characters, Facebook too perfect. And yeah, maybe I'm writing from work at the moment, while I'm putting in information and being a database.
But nobody's really reading this yet, are they?
Here's the thing: I've been in New York City over four years now. Do you know how many albums I've produced in that time? Do you know how many songs I've written, how many times I've gone out there to promote myself? I actually made a habit out of it a long time ago, before places closed and I had to work instead.
There was a boy. It always starts out that way, there was a boy. We promised we wouldn't get too far in deep, that we'd be honest with one another. He supported my art. I was able to find temporary work, go to open mics. When I was let go from that job, he ensured I wouldn't have to worry, took a new job himself to make sure he could support both of us, moved in because living in New York is crazy. We were both crazy, we both had our faults, but at the end of the day, we were honest with each other. We didn't go to bed mad.
That was the most creative period of my life in NYC. I got a new job, one that enabled me to grow up from the crazy that I had been accustomed to. I found an open mic I could go to and even got my own show. I went to Comic-Con and we performed, and I created an album, and everything was perfect -- until it wasn't. I don't want to say my anxiety got in the way, but having all of your belongings in trash bags in your kitchen is more than a little rough. We grated on one another. Somewhere in the shuffle, my flash drive with my Comic-Con stuff was thrown out. I blamed him way more than I should have. I started blaming him for everything. He let me.
I went through a depression for the first part of 2015. Nothing happened. I woke up, went to work, came home. I wrote a little bit, but I was out of it. I was in survival mode all over again. The old-school methods I had used a long time ago woke up again: God hates that you were being creative, so He sent bedbugs to stop you. You might think I'm crazy, but that was the way my brain was operating.
I wasted a year. I wasted an entire year. At least he was around, right? At least he was being productive, starting his YouTube channel. I stayed off the computer. I let him have it. I was just in the way, right? I didn't want to take the computer and waste time while he could be recording his shows. For what it's worth, I did try. I lost sleep composing music for a friend's cabaret and now she's not talking to me because I wanted to be paid for a future one. I choreographed a dance and performed it in front of others, and then a fight broke out and my boyfriend escorted me into the nearest Mickey D's before the cops could show up. It was supposed to be a competition, and nobody won.
Things like that wouldn't knock old Emily down. I'm not sure he ever properly knew old Emily. Old Emily existed before January 5, 2012.
And you're still here in black and gold
Your inner core the only change
So how much of the girl I fell for still remains?
You know what I should have done on January 5? I should have quit the city. I should have called my dad, said "this isn't working out, I'm coming home." And yeah, I signed a year lease, but those things are just numbers in this city, anyway. I would have gone home, maybe gotten yelled at a bit, but hey, I would have gotten what I wanted out of the city, right?
But in the end, I'm glad I stayed. I've learned a lot about myself, about the way I process things. I've learned that it doesn't matter where you are, as long as the people you love are around you. And I've learned what that actually means. I know now what New York City is, for better or for worse. I know it's not a be all, end all. I know people romanticize it, and even those who live in the city romanticize it. It's our bubble. We live here, and if anybody threatens it, we act like it's 9/11 all over again. (Ted Cruz just made some interesting comments on this.)
Because we make it, right? Because we all struggle in this city. It's a shared struggle that we romanticize so much. We talk about how hard it is to find a dollar coffee, how we're squished like sardines in the subway car, the number of homeless people and pigeons and piles of puke we walk right past on our way to work, where we must dress exactly how they want and act exactly how they want in those high rises lest we go back to working at Mickey D's. (And they probably make more money, at this point.) Everything is always our fault, but that's okay, because we're making it in the real world. We have our shoebox apartment and we wouldn't have it any other way. We can't afford to go out because we're too busy working two jobs, but we certainly have it better than anybody at home, right? We blow through our bonds and have no money left in our savings accounts, no future, but we're living like the starving artists on Broadway. You know, just like Jonathan Larson. God bless Jonathan Larson.
We pick up and we scrape by, and we're nice to those near us as long as that niceness doesn't actually hurt us any. We put on our headphones and ignore the beggars on the train, the people sitting with cardboard signs as we go to work in our elite sports clubs. We oversleep because we don't want to get up in the morning, but hey, it's what "real people" do. And I don't doubt that anywhere. But I used to talk about the Oxford bubble, and now I'm talking about the New York City bubble, and I'm wondering just what is real. Is real life what we make of it? If so, then everybody in New York City automatically gives too much control to everybody else. We have to, in order to make this city work. If you deviate too much, you're left behind. If you don't move at supersonic speed -- and that's saying something, considering this city must be moving faster than Top Thrill Dragster -- then you have no time or energy or money to write or music or create or anything. And it's even worse for those of us who deal with mental problems, who were bullied as kids, whose fathers' words echo in our heads even when our mothers tell us they no longer matter. New York City is okay -- but it's not for everybody. To pretend it is for everybody is to shame the world we live in, to shame every place that isn't New York, to ultimately shame New York and the individuals who might be creatively trapped here.
And I know what everybody in NYC might be reading. You don't like it, then leave?
Maybe I will.
I go to Jersey for a jaunt and I plan my life, knowing that when I'm back in NYC, I'll be moving too fast for me to properly think. I go to Albany for my yearly jaunt to the convention and I feel tired the entire time, unsure if I should return back to the city. I go to Cedar Point, because maybe racing for the sky and racing underneath the sky are two separate things. Maybe I can't fly in NYC. But maybe that doesn't mean I can't fly at all. Maybe it just means the buildings are too tall here for my liking. Maybe the skies are too crowded. Maybe it's more hopeful for me to leave.
There's only so much you can learn in one place
The more that you wait, the more time that you waste
In July, I went outside of the city to have the most successful gig of the year. We made it all the way through and my client was so happy, and I'll never forget the look on his face and I learned we might actually be making something here. While I was in Charlotte for the gig, my boyfriend was busy being in somebody else.
He told me in October. I should have chased him out, burned his things, but I was stunned enough that I let him stay another month. I still haven't gotten rid of some of his things.
But I dealt with the stress of that, and I've dealt with the stress of it, and I need to toss those things out. I've tossed out memories before, and I'll do it again. I say that I remember everything, and it's true -- but just because I remember something doesn't mean I don't want to remember. The past means nothing. The past doesn't help me out. The past doesn't pay the bills. It only holds me back.
That may be the best thing to be right now.
For now, though, I work. And I plan, in the little bits that I can. I get outside the city to think. I take the ferry. I fix music. And hopefully, this summer, I'll go back to the place where I had my successful gig, and lightning will strike twice.
And the thunder will follow afterward.