I’ve been so busy playing other people’s songs for the past week that i’m having temporary amnesia when it comes to playing my own songs for the first of what is hopefully a final Trio of Trios for you.
In the meantime, here’s the second in what I hope to be a tradition of presenting a Trio of Links every time I’m not quite ready with a Trio of songs when I planned to be. This Link Trio is drawn from NaBloPoMo blogs I’ve already highlighted in my series of site reviews.
In it, blogger Jen interviews Tom Zoellner, author of The Heartless Stone: A Journey Through the World of Diamonds, Deceit, and Desire.
The podcast is a fascinating hour on the history of the diamond ring, partially about the history of diamond PR and how it has become “the semiotic of royalty.” Tom was also the co-author of An Ordinary Man: An Autobiography, the novel that became the film Hotel Rwanda, and he also discusses that book.
(Extra-bonus: Jen is connected with a cappella u, and her theme music is a cappella!)
Grand Rounds is an ongoing event hosted in round robin fashion by a number of different medically oriented blogs. It highlights the best medical writing from recently updated blogs. Though the writing is medical, it isn’t necessarily technical – some of it is on topics like coping with the emotional ramifications of disease.
I’m of the firm belief that it’s important for everyone to have at least one hobby that isn’t passive (like tanning or watching television), and I spend most of my free time trying to engage actively in something.
People become the most enamored with your creative output when you are engaged and confident in your work, and blogger Sharon provides five universal suggestions for getting to that point. One of the suggestions that is made is making a space for your hobby. This seems so simple, but it has been hugely impactful on my hobbies.
In prior apartments my computer was in my bedroom or living room, respectively, which made it hard to sit down to focus on blogging and recording music rather than focusing on sleeping or socializing. Especially when my computer was in the living room both hobbies declined to all-time lows. Now that I have my own office/studio it’s much easier to delineate serious, uninterrupted personal time devoted to either or both.
(Sharon also suggests keeping a visual journal, but this could just as easily be a small text pad, or memos to yourself – the point is not the medium, but quick instant-feedback on an idea that you can tap into at a later time).
Taking hobbies seriously dovetails with possibly the most important thing I took from my creative studies in college: Don’t apologize for your art! If you release creative output into space you shouldn’t defuse it by offering a retraction regarding its quality or content. Whether you make a mistake, or just felt the performance was a little too risqué, you have to allow it to stand on its own for the audience.
Of course, this doesn’t apply to the creative process itself – that’s what preparation and practice are for. A photographer will take some crap shots that never get printed, and an actor will discard many approaches to a line. However, an imperfection in a final product or performance is part of its art.
That doesn’t mean you can’t afford to be human – your humanity might be the most attractive aspect of your work. Just don’t allow your human flaws or self-deprecation to obscure what is so fascinating about you to begin with.
ps: I had hoped to record a Fiona Apple song for my last influences Trio, but i didn’t have a guitar arrangement locked down. Though it isn’t necessarily what i would have played, here’s a highly superior “Oh Well” from the unreleased Jon Brion version of Extraordinary Machine.