Do you remember when i would just sit in my horrid little apartment sophomore year, just banging out as many posts as i had thoughts? Today i feel like that, only less horrid. I cleaned. I bought groceries. I took that pile of books to the used bookstore. I have every right in the world to sit and transcribe thoughts until sundown, at which point i’m going to a BYOB Mexican restaurant to drink margaritas on a work-night against my better judgment.
Anywho, allow me to digress to the though i came here to transcribe: I sometimes wonder what my co-workers do when they go home.
I mean, we see what i’m doing right now, and it’s not all that impressive, but it’s something. Some of them have children, so that pretty much explains what they’re up to. The rest? Some like sports, some go to gyms, some engage in serial home-repair. One creates terrific bead work that i’m going to make a website for sooner or later. Aside from her, though, rarely do i hear about anyone’s personal projects (aside from buying tickets, or getting in shape, or putting up gold-plated gutters).
Surely they must have projects – we are all comm people, after all – defined by our interest in devouring a enormous subset of all things, and governed by secret wishes to be star reporters or gossip rousers. Surely they must have a novel in draft form, or an article, or an experiment in social engineering. Something.
I try to ferret something out of them, but they are either entirely inscrutable or they really do just hang out and watch television every night. It’s hard for me to imagine it – being defined just by what i do during the day. It seems like a horrid fate.
We all know about my songwriting habit, and my blogging hobby, but in the last few weeks i’ve been working just as much on two others, one of which is arranging music. When you arrange a song, you have to listen to it many, many, many times. You have to listen for pitches and rhythms, tonality and feel. Sometimes you have to listen at half speed, or with a section looped indefinitely. You have to listen until your brain and fingers have absorbed the sound, and can recreate it in standard notation, however inefficient it seems at the time.
Before i ever knew about a cappella music or polyphony or even, hell, arranging, i used to arrange Tori Amos songs for guitar. I didn’t really understand what i was teaching myself at the time – i would just sit with the sheet music in my lap and slowly transcribe it into a single staff of guitar tab. Sometimes it was physically unplayable, but my software would still play it, allowing me to hear what six separate guitarists playing one string each could make of a Tori song.
At the time i barely could read music, let alone transcribe pitches and rhythms by ear. Over half a decade later I just listen to “Since U Been Gone” more than 200 times and somehow, after more than a dozen hours of magical effort, i have an arrangement.
When they return my question, volleying: well, what’s your hobby, that always sounds so insubstantial. And, right now, it is. But, by god, the TrebleMakers will perform it live at a cappella fest 2005 or lose their voices trying, and then it will be real and alive and in the air, and i’ll know just why i spent a whole week of my live living, breathing, and singing every element of that damn song.
As for my other hobby, you can have a hint: inebriated cinema. I dare not say any more, because i… erm… have to go and fix the broken thing that Gina just found.