Seriously. I work part time at Walmart as an overnight stocker. As of November 11th, we have Christmas music playing over the PA system. Let me repeat that, November 11th — not even Thanksgiving yet — and they’re already playing Christmas music. I’m about to lose my mind. To whomever at H.O. thought this was a good idea:
Remember that post I made last year about artistic talent not actually being a thing, and that anyone can learn to draw if they have the necessary self-discipline and practice and study and work hard at drawing and stuff?
Unfortunately, I lack the proper self-discipline to stay on any one project for any extended length of time and put in the necessary hours. ‘Tis the curse of the Gemini, I’m afraid. I mean, it took me years to finally settle down on a single project for more than a month and finally finish a thing (and that thing sucked too). Actually, I should stop making excuses: that has nothing to do with being a Gemini, and has everything to do with my debilitating atychiphobia. I can’t seem to get over it.
Drawing, like most things worth learning in life, takes failure to progress. You can’t be afraid to make mistakes. You have to push through that and take every little thing as a learning experience. I know that. I do. ACCELERATE only exists because I forced myself to finish it, to push through, even though I knew it was terrible. I did it by locking myself in my room and not allowing myself to leave each day until the amount of work I wanted done that day was done. I couldn’t converse with anyone, I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t even use the bathroom. I forced myself, each day, to work a little on that project. And even though the final product isn’t anything like I imagined at first, guess what?
I finished it.
I completed that project and put it out on the ‘net — putting a little piece of myself in a place where anyone can attack and berate and degrade me — and while that may not seem like a big deal to a lot of people, to us few with atychiphobia, it’s a Big Freaking Deal. Especially since I also suffer from a mental disorder called AvPD, which certainly doesn’t help matters in the least.
The thing is though, I thought if I forced myself to finish a thing, I wouldn’t be scared anymore, and I could create more things, and ultimately get better and better at the skills those things require with each thing I create.
I was wrong.
The fear never goes away. It’s a consistent force that constantly gnaws into your very being, slowly devouring you and throwing you into a dark abyss from which there is no return. Or at least, that’s how it feels to me.
This has been going on for far too long, and nothing I do makes it go away. I have self-help books, I’ve read online articles, I try to take the advice of all the professionals I’ve talked to, and even though I know what’s causing this and why, it doesn’t simply disappear. Just because you know what it is and what causes it, it doesn’t just go away.
It’s a thing you have to learn to live with — a thing you have to learn to ignore. You have to press onwards, through the pain, through the fear, and force yourself to finish a creation — something you put your heart and soul into — and put it in a place that makes you utterly vulnerable: in front of others. It’s easy to say, “Who cares what other people think?” It’s an entirely different thing to actually believe it. Deep down, we all care what other people think. We all have that fear inside us…just some more so than others.
However, regardless of my own emotions and “issues,” you’ll be happy to know that I haven’t given up on this. I do still wish to draw, as I have since middle school. I’ve been told all my life that I have great potential as a writer — and at this point, I can believe that (I’ve been known to “spin a good yarn” on occasion) — but there’s always been that nagging feeling inside me that says, “How awesome would it be to not only write a good story, but also show a good story?” Some of the stories I’ve created would certainly feel right at home in comic, graphic novel, or visual novel format. (Visual novels, especially, are a thing I wish more people would give a chance here in The West. It combines all of my favorite things — games, music, books, and visual art — all into one product!)
So I haven’t given up. I haven’t been practicing drawing much at all this past year, and I attribute that to my fear of failure and making mistakes, but I’m going to push through that. It may take a long while to come, but I hope to one day become a beacon to those who suffer from AvPD, a light that will show others that they too can create great things if they try with all their might. I want to show people what human beings are capable of, even in the face of adversity. I want to prove to the world, once and for all, that “talent” does NOT exist, and anyone can do anything they set their mind to.
Believe me when I say this: the next time I write about this subject — in [Part 3] of this series of posts — I will have some decent drawings to show for myself. You have my word on that. I will not let AvPD or fear of failure stop me from that; that’s a promise.
I’m not sure if I ever posted about this here on my blog, but those associated with me on Facebook, Twitter, and deviantART are already aware of this project (download link is at the bottom of this post if you wanna skip this Great Wall of Text™). If I didn’t post it here (I’m too lazy to go and check at the moment) it was because I didn’t want to post anything about it until it was done. I got tired of the whole “telling the world about a project but never finishing it” thing.
Anyway, as this post insinuates, I have completed a creative project (it’s a miracle!)
In April, I decided to write/compose/produce a song. It didn’t have to be good or anything; I just wanted to prove to myself that I could do something like this if I put my mind to it. Mainly due to my apparent inability to ever finish anything I start. I figured a simple song project would be just that: simple.
It was anything but.
I’ll go ahead and let a few posts I made on Facebook over the past three months tell the tale:
[May 1st, 2012]
My little music project was going along swimmingly for the most part, but now I’ve reached a standstill with the current sounds. It just doesn’t “meld” well, if that makes sense. I’ve decided to re-compose it, using the same main melody, but changing sounds around to be much more pleasing to the ears of a wider audience. It currently sounds really glitchy and chiptune-esque, but after listening to the music in my head, I think this track will work out much better as a Trance/Electronica song.
I originally intended this track to be released sometime this week, but that isn’t happening. I’m gonna try this again, because I’m absolutely positive this song will sound better the second time around. I’m not giving up on this, because I know it’ll be cool if I could just get it to sound like it does in my head. I’ll let you all know when it’s done so I can get feedback on my work.
[May 16th, 2012]
Man, this song I’m composing has taken such an interesting turn. It is officially a totally different song from the first incarnation. Everything down to the basic melody has changed. And I think it’s all the better for it.
I went through three stages as far as vocals/lyrics go: originally, it was going to be based off of a poem I wrote before, but the vocals didn’t match the overall tone of the original composition, so I scrapped it.
Then I started on the second incarnation from scratch and planned on using the original lyrics in that one, but in the end, it just wouldn’t work. It seems making music and then trying to shoehorn lyrics into it later just doesn’t work. Haha! So I’m saving those lyrics for another track I may produce another time.
So I figured, okay, I’ll just make this one completely electric with no vocals. Most electronic music has no lyrics, after all. But then an interesting thing happened: I began humming to the section of the song I’m working on now, and realized there’s definitely something I could fit there. Not only that, but the humming made the track feel more “whole” — more complete, if that makes sense. It always felt like there was something “missing” until then.
So, since, like, two in the morning ‘till now, I’ve been working on producing lyrics for this song, and I think I’ve created a winner! It’s a totally new poem for a totally new music track! :D
I was also inspired by a light novel series I’ve been reading called Accel World. Or, well, WAS reading, but there’s been an anime adaptation since then, so I’ve been watching that instead. :P And, man, it’s so freaking cool! It’s still airing in Japan, a new episode every week, and apparently is gonna get two seasons. So excited! I’ve seen all six episodes currently released and am eagerly awaiting the next one. I’m totally hooked; Accel World is like the embodiment of everything I love about urban science fiction. If you’re an anime geek like me, you owe it to yourself to hit up UTW (my favorite fan-subbing group) and getting all the eps you can of Accel World.
A not-too-distant future where you have wearable computers that let you jack your mind into virtual spaces / Internet and communicate in a telepathic manner? Playing a virtual reality MMO fighting game to build up Burst Points which allow you to accelerate your thought processes a thousand times faster than normal as to slow down your perception of time in the real world? Epic mech battles and general shonen action awesomeness? A love triangle to spice things up?! Heck, yeah! This anime has it all! Freaking LOVE Accel World!
Anyway, the point of all this is that my song has pretty much become a homage to Accel World, because that’s where I took inspiration for some of the lyrics. But even for folks who have no idea about the anime, it’s still metaphorically and symbolically followable, as I use pretty common or obvious metaphors and symbolism that anyone could follow and empathize with. It makes perfect sense, even outside the context of Accel World, which is exactly how homage’s should be, in my opinion. That way, everyone can enjoy it. :)
Finally, my song officially has a title! It’s, “A Certain Conscious Ejects Languished Exhilaration; Regain Awakened Truth Earnestly,” or “A.C.C.E.L.E;R.A.T.E.” for short. :P
So look forward to my first full-length electronic music project, A.C.C.E.L.E;R.A.T.E., coming soon! :D
[June 19th, 2012]
Excellent! My crappy song project is finally done! Been messing around with it since the end of April and I’m finally done with it. Thank goodness. It didn’t turn out at all like I wanted, and nothing I do will ever make it sound professional since, well, I’m not a professional composer/producer. This is literally the first time I’ve ever tried something like this, so I like to equate it to a first drawing or first story etc., i.e. no one ever gets it “right” their first time with anything, so no biggie. At least this proves once and for all that I can do something like this if I put my mind to it. Probably would’ve finished it a whole lot sooner if it weren’t for all the procrastinating I did. Haha! XD
Anyway, it’ll be available to download tomorrow; I’ll post a link to it on my wall/timeline here so everyone who wants to can check it out. I’ll probably tag a bunch of people to give me some constructive criticism as well. I probably already know a lot of what I could do to make it better, but man, I’m just done working on this. I’m personally getting tired of listening to it dozens of times a day. XD So I’m not changing anything with it. The criticism I get will be put to use on future tracks, if I actually produce any more. I’m not sure if I should yet, since this one was a TON of work for something that sucks as much as it does. Hahaha! Seriously, you have no idea the kind of work that goes into something like this until you try it yourself. I have a new-found respect for music writers, composers, producers, performers, et al. I started off thinking it was just gonna be a quick and dirty project, and it grew into something so much more; certainly past my own skill level, at any rate.
Still, even though it was a lot of work to make a crappy electronic song, I did have a little fun with it, and I feel good about myself for finishing it. I almost quit halfway through, and though it’s not that good, I’m glad I didn’t quit. I learned a lot from this experience.
I hope a few of you will check it out tomorrow. I know I’ve said countless times that it isn’t that great, but I did put a lot of effort into it, so I hope someone will at least give it a shot and tell me what they think. Thanks in advance for that. :)
So, that’s that. It started off as a simple project to prove I could finish something I start for once, and evolved into something bigger than I ever could have imagined. As stated above, though I deem it “complete,” I am not at all happy about my work. However, I’m not gonna hold it against myself, since it was my very first time ever trying something like this. I’m sure if I continue to work on musical projects like these, I will gradually get better with my work. Whether or not I shall continue to make “music” however is undecided. I’m still giving it thought. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
Thanks for making it this far if you’ve been reading along, and I hope this brings you a little up to speed on what I’ve been up to lately. It has been a while since I’ve made any ‘meaningful’ posts here at HealyHQ.com, so this Great Wall of Text™ should make up for that. :)
And so, without further adieu, here’s a link where you can listen to (and download, if you actually end up liking it) the crappy song project thing I’ve been working on for the last three months: http://healyhq.bandcamp.com/album/a-c-c-e-l-e-r-a-t-e
I’ve almost gathered all of the pieces of the puzzle necessary for me to unlock an even bigger puzzle with smaller pieces that fit together in much more complicated ways. And the hardest part about this puzzle within a puzzle is surely going to be the fact that it can actually be solved in many different ways, but some ways are more efficient and elegant than others, ultimately having an impact on the final product’s overall aesthetic.
Are you feeling quite done with me speaking in metaphors? Yeah, so am I. But I don’t want to reveal too much, though you’ve probably already figured it out by now through collective context clues scattered throughout this blog as well as the many other sites I frequent. Those following along probably know that I’ve taken a drastic turn in my creative endeavors at this point. Not long ago you saw me posting about mostly music-related artifacts, hinting to my aspiring to find the instrument I was born to play so that I may one day become great. After that, you can probably recall a time I was contemplating very deeply yet another potential novel series I wanted to write (of which is pretty much storyboarded/frame-worked, and simply needs to be fleshed out (but of course, I never got that far before moving onto something else (like always (this shouldn’t surprise anyone anymore)))).
I wonder what it is I could be up to this time. It’s obvious to most, but for the few still lost, I’m gonna let you hang for a bit longer. I wouldn’t want to ruin the surprise. (Or rather, I don’t want to get your hopes up again when it turns out I get bored very quickly and move onto yet another aspiration.)
In any case, I have a few more items arriving in the mail soon (two of which are current-aspiration related, the other last-last-aspiration-related/music-related). I can’t wait to try something new. Who knows? Maybe this turns out to be the thing I was born to do. Only one way to find out…