Ow, my brain

If my blog posts are sporadic and short for a while, it’s because I don’t have any brainpower left to string words together after my guitar practice. Last week, at my second lesson, my teacher essentially said, “Great job! Here’s twice as much stuff for you to work on.”

So yeah, I’m drowning a bit.

Right now, I’m learning how to get my fingers moving in opposite directions two at a time, first placing them on the second and fourth strings, then switching positions. Yes, including the ring and pinky fingers. Those fingers are never used for anything, especially on the left hand, so it’s been interesting watching them flail and wobble and do everything except what I want them to do. Scott Tennant, the author of Pumping Nylon (which contains this and a bunch of other finger-twisting exercises) is an evil genius.

My teacher also tossed in learning hammer-ons and two new short pieces. No, I’m not going to get these even close to polished in a week. I’ll be lucky if I can play the pieces all the way through at a sloooooooooow tempo.

It figures, out of all the music genres I could’ve chosen for guitar, I pick one of the hardest ones.

Verbs, not nouns

Austin Kleon reminds us that we’re verbs, not nouns, and over the past month I’ve taken this to heart as I’ve re-evaluated everything about my creative life. For years, I’ve labelled this website as “Grace Wen: Writer,” and I suppose that made sense when I was focused on getting published, building a “brand” (I hate that term, as if we should permanently mark ourselves like cattle), and everything else writers are “supposed” to do to attract attention. But calling myself a writer always felt so limiting.

So I changed the tagline of my website to “Music, writing, and other things I’m learning.” It reflects where I’m at in my life right now a lot more accurately. I’m still writing, of course, and I’m now studying music again (which feels like coming home–ahhhhhhh…). I’m also dabbling with kawaii doodles. The key difference is that I’m not identifying myself by any of those activities. They’re what I do, not what I am.

Will any of this lead anywhere? I have no idea, and at this point I’m done with specific goals (essentially nouns) that I have little control over. Learn, practice, make, share, repeat–those are the verbs I’d rather concentrate on.