Thursday, February 5, 2015

Now Would Be an Easy Time to Pull the Plug

I knew I would run into some snags during the course of a year of writing songs. I just didn't expect quite so many of them so early on in the journey. The most recent snag was a brief period of debilitating depression, as some people call it. I think of it as anything from a mental rest to a computer upgrade to a trolling of the depths for creative treasures. There have been times in my life when I have been able to be productive and creative in spite of the fact that there seemed to be very little mental energy for it. This recent trip into the deep blue was not one of them. It took everything I had to even function as normally as possible for the past couple of weeks, even with a fantastic birthday included in the middle of it.

One of the other things that these low periods seem to do is to attempt to communicate to me that something in my life is off. In the midst of such stretches of path, oftentimes everything seems off. I have learned not to quit anything during these times. As the dust begins to settle and things become clearer, I pick up each old idea or activity, acknowledge what is right about it, and then determine weather or not to continue engaging with it. Most things survive and even thrive with a new level of energy and commitment, but occasionally I decide to let go of something that is no longer working in my life.

So, that brings me to this project. In the process of deciding weather or not to continue, I have been asking myself several questions.

Why am I doing it? Sure, I remember the ideas that got me started:

  • To give a grand gift of music to a barbershop community that has given so much to me.
  • To help the barbershop harmony movement by providing new and relevant music that celebrates our style.
  • To write songs that barbershoppers will love to sing.
  • To further establish myself as a prolific writer of good to great songs so that I might somehow create a living by writing songs and teaching others about songwriting.
  • To change the mindset of the barbershop community with regard to the creation of new songs. 
As I reflected on these motivators, the original intended direction of this blog entry changed. I was going to ask some more questions, but as quickly as they formed, so did their answers:
  • Does anyone really care about this project or new songs? Yes. At least 410 people care enough to follow the projects progress on Facebook.
  • Can I really do this? Yes. As long as I continue to dust myself off and continue down the path.
  • So what would happen if I just quit? Perhaps some people would be disappointed, but I think that most people would be understanding. I think that I would be the most disappointed. I also think that I will be the most pleased if I continue, persevere and succeed.
So, I am going to change a couple of things which seems to be getting in the way. I'm removing the "songs that barbershoppers will love to sing" filter. Instead I'm going to write songs that are compelling to me and let anyone else choose which songs are compelling to him or her. I am going to allow the deadlines to be more fluid. I often find having a deadline to be helpful, but over this very long haul, I think it wiser to allow for periods where creative energy is not readily available. I'm also going to allow myself to work on more than one song at a time.

So, onward we go, down this rocky and wondrous path. Thanks again for joining me.


  1. This is a test comment since a friend said that her comment would not register. Testing.

  2. Are anonymous comments enabled? Anonymous finds the grace and understanding you show toward yourself to be inspiring and personally challenging.

  3. I'm so glad you are back, Paul. Can't wait to hear your new songs.

  4. So glad you have chosen to continue Paul. Looking forward to following the journey. Thanks for sharing you talents with all of us.

  5. I predict that the songs that I'll enjoy the most are the "songs that barbershoppers will love to sing".

  6. Personally, I'm glad you're opening up to songs that are "compelling"!

    Barbershop evolves, so why limit yourself to songs that Barbershoppers of today will love to sing?

  7. Hi Paul, second attempt at posting something here. I'm affraid my first heartfelt response is lost forever; there was something in it about Mozart...

    I'm glad you were able to formulate more workable terms to your project. And I'm really curious to see which songs are compelling to you. Anyway, I think barbershoppers like te same songs as the rest of the world, they/we just harmonize them differently ;-)