Thursday, February 26, 2009

Holy Alliteration

The previous post title would probably better apply here. Today was a dank day all around - a persistent rain throughout. And, for something much better than this, check out Spiral Aurora under the links on the right...

A rare February rain
slips down silos
soothing salt from
the snows before

Seeping into soil
showering the sparrows
with promises
that better days lie ahead.

Thoughts From a February Thunderstorm

A while back (let’s just not say how long), I declared that it was my goal to have “the equivalent of a full-time job by the first of March”. Well guess what folks? Sunday marks this annual “lion or lamb” cliché; and, this whole job-train will have left the proverbial station (speaking of clichés…)

The problem has been several-fold:

  1. I don’t really want to do anything right now that I could have done before I graduated. I think this comes from the fact that this event happened so recently; and, I subsequently feel that it should be worth something even though I know it really isn’t most times.
  1. I’ve applied for different positions in different parts of the country, all of which seem to have a decision point around early-March, meaning there has been a lot of waiting as I don’t want to take a job just to leave and do something somewhere else.

Granted, I have some things going, like my completed application to substitute teach at my old high school, which could either be curiously interesting or god-awful – we’ll see. Moreover, this really makes me want to check out this “Eastbound and Down” show on HBO as it perfectly reflects my current situation I believe. I might also start teaching at a local music and dance studio that seems to really have its stuff together. Again, the lack of activity getting out to make things happen results from the constant uncertainty of my geographic location in the near future. On the plus side, I made some business cards the other night to prepare for the eventuality. This is also the first time in my life I have ever felt the need to have a business card, which at least might say something? Still, it is a pretty ridiculous card as I don’t really have a business to speak of really. They might just as well read:

Evan Smith
“I like to play music but will probably do pretty much anything for which you hire me”
Call me.

Complicating the matter is that during the past month I have been at least somewhat focused on finding agreeable employment, at least to the point where I have spent enough time on my computer to feel like an internet addict. This also manifests itself in making myself check my e-mail every ten minutes to see if my current situation has improved. However, over the weekend I had the extreme pleasure of seeing both Josh Roseman perform with UNI Jazz Band One, as well as Ben Allison and his band, Man Size Safe, play back to back nights in Cedar Falls and Iowa City (as well as at a clinic in between). Subsequently, it has provided me at least some quantity of new motivation; and, I have begun to think that maybe I would be better suited just to take advantage of the three remaining months I can spend living rent-free by working on a couple of large projects. I figure that I have the most time available that I will (although, as my friend Rachel and I discussed, this doesn’t always lead to more productivity; in fact, often the opposite). I have the idea right now to try to transcribe some important players that don’t really have anything out on the market to see if I can get a little collection published. I started on this today; and, it has made me realize I really don’t have any idea how to go about doing this after the actual transcribing is done. But, having a project made infinitely more productive anyway.

So, we’ll see how it goes. I think perhaps the fear of failure and the complete lack of money it would mean might kick my ass into doing something that will take some time and effort to complete.

I have also decided to write a book.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Quick Thought

Be swift on your feet
young rabbit,
for the eager fox waits
at every turn.

Friday, February 20, 2009

A New Crust Forms...

I noticed today that I can’t remember the last time I washed out my coffee mug. When I got back from Venezuela, I found it on the floor of my car, where it had undeniably sat for the better part of five months or so. It is a black Migo mug, one that I rescued from the lost and found box of the music building after nobody had claimed it for months. I don’t think I even washed it out really, past just swirling a little cold water around in it for two seconds, even in that initial revisit. Now, I don’t even do that; I just pick it up, dump out any residual liquid from the day before, and fill it up assuming the scalding liquid will probably kill anything anyway. I guess it probably does; but, that still doesn’t save me from the accumulating brown crust on the top. It’s almost to the point where the little slidey-thing that covers the hole for coffee moves a little stiff from the extra friction. Does anyone else do this; or, am I uniquely disgusting in my coffee habits?

Tomorrow I hope to get up to Cedar Falls to check out the second night of Josh Roseman at UNI for Tallcorn. Everyone is predicting significant snow and other wintry hazards however; so, we’ll see what happens. Either way, I’ll be up for the Ben Allison show on Monday night and am debating on whether to trek to Iowa City Tuesday night as well to see him again. Be currently unemployed makes the time commitment easily possible. On the flip side, the subsequent lack of money makes the travel and inevitable beer expenses problematic.

Recommended listening for the day:

Miquel Atwood-Ferguson – Suite for Ma Dukes
Juana Molina – Un Día
Eri Yamamoto - Duologue

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Welcome Back?

OK, welcome back – to me and you. A little more than three months later, let’s try this again. Conventional wisdom would have said that I would have written more while
I was still in Venezuela living in a different culture and living those experiences; but, I didn’t. Nor did I pick up immediately on my return to the U.S., nor during the travels that followed. Perhaps I’m the type of person that only turns to writing when he doesn’t have those other things going on, with more time, and the perhaps the inevitable introspection that follows. Either way, I’ve decided that I really enjoy writing words, and am going to do it more often.

A lot has happened in three months. I’m back in Iowa on what I would like to call a “Living the Dream/Return to Roots” tour of the Quad Cities, which are even more impressive in the fact that they span two states. While I had planned on being back in the Caribbean playing on a cruise ship, a number of factors came together to put that plan on the shelf, at least for the time being. So, trying to switch to Plan B mode, I am now living with my mother while I spend my days loafing about unemployed. Today, I completed an application to substitute teach thanks to my newly minted Iowa teaching license, and feel that if this really does come to pass, it should provide me enough random experiences to give me material for this thing for the weeks and months ahead. Needless to say, being out of school for the first time in as long as I can remember, with no immediate plan (I will probably be in graduate school in the Fall; but, until then I have nothing) is certainly new to me. At times it is the best thing, to have so much free time to once again practice my instruments, write, read, reflect, and so on. However, half the time I feel myself so consumed with an anxiety about the very fact that I do NOT have a plan or a current way of gaining the income I will need come this summer, that it is hard to concentrate on these things. I find myself instead invariably stuck in front of my computer screen looking for various job prospects, and spending a lot of time writing letters to jobs that half the time turn out to be scams. Still, I have a few things brewing here, including a chance to teach privately as part of a dance and music studio in town, something that I would welcome as I dearly miss teaching private lessons. This weekend the annual Tallcorn festivities take place at UNI; and, I am looking forward to seeing some friends again. Well, there’s the update post for now to at least get my mind back on this thing and myself writing something again.