Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Day 300: time to relax?

With only 65 days left in which to become a rock star, I'll forgive you if you don't recommend relaxing as my best course of action. I'll forgive you, ignore your recommendation and continue as I am. Why? Because it has occurred to me, not for the first time, that relaxing is just about always a good idea. In fact, relaxing may well be the point to every perplexing problem. Or not. It doesn't matter. At Day 300, I have been through quite a lot. And here's how I feel right now about a few things. Firstly, the road to perfection is hard, long and lonely. So long in fact that you'll be on it forever, because the destination it's meant to lead to doesn't actually exist. You can experience pure beauty, pure magic, pure genius, pure love, but these things aren't about perfection. More often than not these experiences are wonderful precisely because of some unique imperfection they possess; something that makes them beautifully individual. This year (my whole life?) I have been on some kind of perfection pursuit. I have tried to achieve a perfect record of sobriety, a perfect diet, the perfect exercise routine. I have tried to be good at my work, dedicated to my dreams, hardworking and focused, successful in everything that I do. I am here to tell you it's too much for one person to achieve all those things. And it's also perfectly okay not to achieve them. Sometimes you just can't change who you are. A lot of the time you shouldn't try or want to either. For example, I now know about myself that I am almost incapable of focusing on one project for any extended period of time. I get bored. I need to move on. If I view this as a simple fact, rather than a negative, maybe I can evolve the way I work on things so I can spend shorter amounts of time on different projects, rather than force myself through a long stint on one thing. I also know that I love the idea of a strict routine, but tend in reality to operate in a much more random way. If I can just relax and accept that's how I am, maybe I can use my time learning how to work with it rather than against it. Now to some other things. Not drinking: I feel like my sobriety has taken me into territory unsuitably pious. When I began this journey, I sorely needed to dry out, check my behaviour, straighten my head out and give my liver a break. My priorities needed reordering. This far in I've had a good sized space in which to get myself sorted. Not that I've sorted everything out. But my head is clearer (so's my skin), my body cleaner and my life in better shape than back then. However, while I have definitely always had my - how shall I put this - goody two shoes, perfecty, ticking boxes side, stay-at-home nerd has never been part of my brand. For 300 days now my wilder side has been neatly put away in storage. It feels like the time is approaching to bring it back out. And veganism: I started being a vegan, let's be honest, in a bid to get skinnier. Then I read some more about the issues around eating animals and felt like not eating them was a good way to go. Now, however many months out, I am starting to wonder about my decision. Has it really made me skinnier? Maybe a tiny bit. My skin is definitely the best it's probably ever been, so that's something. But might there be other ways to eat responsibly (organic, humanely farmed and slaughtered meat in moderation, the odd organic, free range egg) that might make me less of a freaky dinner guest? It's extremely shallow, but if my bod was looking like Jennifer Anniston's right now thanks to my new vegan diet, I would happily freak my way through every eating situation from now until eternity with a delightful smug little smile dancing across my tight little face. But if I'm going to be alienating any number of dining pals for a few barely detectable differences, maybe it's not really worth the effort. It's like I was saying, right now I just feel like relaxing a bit on a few things. Not being so ridiculously strict with myself. I'm not talking eating cheese and bacon burgers every night, just not freaking out if I want to eat a piece of fish or lamb once in a while. Likewise with all my music and writing and work goals; if it takes me longer than the next 65 days to get a song on the radio or get a book deal or produce an award-winning campaign then fine. I just want to enjoy my life and stop chastising myself all the time when I don't achieve a million things at once. Is that a cop out? You think? Dude, take a chill pill.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Day 299: bad vegan.

Over the last few days I've been a bit bad. I have sullied my vegan purity with: some peanut M&Ms, some butter on the toast I got at the cafe (not my fault but I still ate it), some buffalo mozzarella on a pizza, and a quarter of a choc chip muffin. Woa-a. Reign it in crazy lady. What can I say? It's just the mood I've been in. And one cannot be perfect all of the time. Also, as badness goes, it's hardly of the beelzebub variety. So I'm not freakin. I've got other bigger fish to fry. Or vegetables to steam. Or something. (You know what I mean.)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Day 298: here we go again.

You may remember I tried to start a home recording demo-ing thing a while ago, and had a little trouble with my equipment. It has taken until today to get anywhere near sorting it out. Today I went round to Ben's and borrowed the piece of equipment I have needed all this time and which so far the stupid frickin shop has not managed to deliver in working order. This box works. Who knows what might happen next?

Day 297: sticking it out.

It is a weird little thing this non-drinking experience. Firstly, there are innumerable benefits to being alcohol free. You feel and look better in so many ways. Things don't get on top of you so much. You wake up feeling clear and fine. Etcetera, etcetera. And then there are the tough bits. But here's the weirdness: the tough bits, as far as I can tell, only actually stem from other people's dependence on alcohol. The tough bits are when you feel like the odd one out at a party because not another single soul is anywhere near sober. The tough bits are when you find yourself having to do things alone because no-one else can fathom going a Friday evening with any less alcohol than they would usually sink (note I'm not saying zero alcohol here, just forgoing the extended 14+ drinks boozing session once in a while to do something less mind-obliterating). The tough bits are when you feel unbelievably alone because the entire frickin world runs on turps, and no-one can even contemplate socialising without filling up first. The very interesting thing too is to be in a position to see that the world is addicted to what is largely a bad thing, but to start readying yourself to re-enter the badness quite a lot because the world's addiction is so overpowering. Adult humans don't know how to have fun without alcohol anymore. If you give it a try, the force of the drinking masses singles you out and muscles you out of normal society. They make you a loner. They tell you they feel sorry for you because you're doing it so tough. They constantly point out through their actions and words how awkward you are in their liquored zone. And they do it enough that if you do want to be an accepted citizen of humanity, you learn that you had bloody well better front up to the bar. And so I find myself wishing myself back in to the easier zone that is getting casually pissed, but not really wishing to revert to the mass ways that are so obviously flawed. Surely people, there must be something more we have to offer than this?

Day 296: Fridays are for drinking.

I just realised something a little bit crazy. I've mentioned it many a time before that for me, as a non-drinker, Fridays have lost a bit of their shine. They're another day, happily sitting next to two days off, which is good, but they don't promise the same dizzy excitement to me that I know they do to others. The crazy bit is that, as I have also pointed out on occasion, since not drinking, Mondays have lost their sense of doom. It's like Monday's borrowed a bit of Friday's mojo, leaving Friday at just fine and Monday at a-okay too. Weird. Anyway. While I sometimes go along to the pub on a Friday, other times I just don't fancy spending hours watching people sink piss and get wasted. At times like these I usually go to the movies. But I generally have to go on my own. Because sadly when it comes to Fridays most people, when given the choice, will choose their best friend the bottle every time.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Day 295: staring you in the face.

An upside to publicly (or privately) analysing your life and feelings on a daily basis, especially in the bright, honest light of unadulterated sobriety, is that you start to realise things about yourself. Now, there are things that come up that are kind of expected. They're not really surprising because you pretty much knew they were there all along. The discoveries I'm finding interesting right now though, are the ones where you realise that the answers you have been searching so diligently for in the vast universe and the depths of your soul, might just have been sitting in your top pocket the whole time. Very very recently (kind of like in the last ten minutes) something has become extremely clear to me, that before has only revealed itself in intermittent droplets. Let me try and explain. My whole musical endeavour over the last however long has been a mission of creative fulfillment. It has been my quest to find my purpose, and the people who share my view of the world. In a band you have a group of like-minded people working together towards a common creative goal. In its best form, a band is a very communal, supportive and comforting thing. You are a gang fighting against the forces together. In the process, if you're lucky, you produce music you're proud of that other people recognise as being great. The whole experience is creative and communicative, and brings with it a real sense of connection with others. I used to think that being in a band was my only gateway to this kind of satisfaction. But now I think I may have been missing a trick. The work idea I have been yabbering on about in recent days, is quite simply a group of like-minded and similarly motivated individuals working together towards a common goal. The goal is to produce shit hot advertising communications through projects that are genuinely fun to be involved in. It's not an earth-shattering concept in itself. But what is rather earth-shaking for me is the idea that my work may now be capable of delivering the same satisfaction I have sought from rock 'n' roll. And unlike the rock 'n' roll in my life right now, this project actually has the like-minded individuals on board. We've got our gang. Now all that's left to do is go forth together and conquer.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Day 294: magic socks.

Today I arrived home to find a parcel waiting for me from New Zealand. Parcels are always awesome, but even more so when they are surprises and not just your latest delivery of internet shopping (although those parcels are pretty ace too). This one came from Helen, a very good friend of my Mum and Dad's, and also (rather flatteringly) an avid reader of My Year off The Piss. And do you know what was in it? An amazing pair of socks! They are beautifully hand knitted (they put any of my wonky adventures with knitting needles to extreme shame) in a very pretty and frickin cool combination of colours and patterned stripes (they're the kind of thing that could easily hold their own coming out of a high and chunky Miu Miu heel), and they fit me absolutely perfectly. Add delicious coziness to their charm parade and you have socks nothing short of magic. So thank you Helen. I love them. Embodiment of truly caring thoughtfulness, thy name is knitted socks.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Day 293: seven steps more.

Buoyed up by yesterday's good reception to my idea, today I took it to a few more people. And they all liked it too. It helped that two of those people were my Executive Creative Director and my Head of Planning. With them on board, what was an idea has now become something to be put into action. Wahoo! If only my company were in the business of forming bands and making them famous, maybe I would have got all of my music stuff happening a lot sooner too. Never mind. A cool creative project is a cool creative project. It's the stuff I love. And this time, I might just have the help I need to get something really cool across the line.

Day 292: one step closer.

Today I floated my special work idea past a respected gal work pal. She really liked it. In fact she's totally on board too. This was a relief because in the cold light of Monday morning my idea, which basically involves a group of people doing extra work in their own time, felt like it might have been a great heady hallucination conceived in the midst of post inspirational speech drunkenness (not the alcoholic kind mind you, just idea drunkenness), but maybe not such an attractive prospect to your sober and already hard-working co-worker. Anyway, thankfully my misgivings were misplaced. That's one cool, clever and creatively-minded person on board, and as many more as it takes to go. We will pave the road to awesomeness, one brick at a time.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Day 291: pleasantness all round.

Today I fell asleep in my hammock in the sun with my book in my lap. It was just one of many very pleasant things I did during what turned out to be an extremely relaxing weekend. Other activities included doing yoga and going jogging, buying amazing dusky pink coloured roses at the organic market, getting my nails done, having coffee with one of my favourite girlfriends Kristie and her unbelievably cute baby boy Max, watching an amazing All Blacks rugby game at 1am with my brothers and mate Ben (so much fun!), and going out with some other gal pals to a nice bar and actually chatting to some very pleasant men. So life is sweet. My relationship with alcohol is slightly peculiar in that I feel no deep desire to drink and no envy of others who do, and yet am still really looking forward to re-entering the realms of normal drinking folk. I think at this stage I really don't fear alcohol anymore. I know that when I return to drinking I will be far more aware of my behaviour and more conscious of when and how much I imbibe. I am looking forward to being able to make the decision to go out and get a little bit tiddly knowing that (hopefully) overdoing it is less likely to be the outcome. Anyway, I really did have a fun, relaxed and entertaining time this weekend even without the aid of tiddliness. Hurrah. Good times all round.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Day 290: a crystal vision.

Holy shit, I think I've seen the light. The sun is shining, the sky is blue, and I know exactly what lies ahead of me and what I need to do. Now I'm not claiming an ability to predict the future. I'm sure there will be many unexpecteds along the way. But today I feel like I have truly stepped out of the cloudy fog and into clear vision. If you've been reading closely over the past 290 days, or if you have a knack for themes, you might have noticed I have a pattern. It goes something like this: new idea, great enthusiasm, excited extra ideas flying all over the place, attempts at execution (of idea), some set-backs, further attempts, further set-backs, despondence, pouting, frustration, depressed fog, yoga, regaining of hope, dawning of new idea... and we're off again. I repeat this over and over and over again. It's how I roll. Being aware of the pattern makes it bearable, because when you're in the less fun bits of it, you know it's only a matter of time before you'll be back in the zingy, exciting ideas bit again. And I guess the hope is that at some point one of the ideas will actually take off and the despondence, pouting, frustration stage won't get a chance to happen. Anyway, the vision as of today. The music: a solo recording project utilising existing material and co-produced by me and others (I have people in mind). Work: pursue new ideas project with a team of like-minded individuals to produce truly cool shit in the "advertising" space. New York: the work project will help me produce the work I need to get a job in the big smoke. Yah! And now I'm excited. And I have to go do stuff.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Day 289: excited about... work?

Yes this is me talking, and I know it sounds insane, but today I got truly, genuinely excited about my job. Working in advertising for me has always been a bit of a tug of war. It's a creative industry so that's good, but a lot of the time you're working on churn and burn bullcrap that doesn't make the world a better place. I guess I've mainly viewed my job as a good option for a creative person while one works on other creative projects designed to one day catapult you out of the industry. But today I think I had a little epiphany. A new guy has started at our place - the head of planning. Planners are usually a very smart and interesting bunch. This guy is all that but cool too (he wears the best threads), and inspiring. Now if you've been in advertising a while, you will necessarily have sat through your fair share of seriously bullshitty inspiring speeches. Whether it's the new agency direction, the new Creative Director, or just an attempt at bolstering morale, at various points in time people will get up and talk at you in an impassioned fervour, usually spouting a string of the latest buzzwords from the industry magazines. Sometimes it does actually gee you up for a while, sometimes it's just depressing. But this guy didn't sound like a bullshitter. He felt like the real deal. Whether this is true or not, his little speech (notable because it wasn't full of buzzwords and was full of understated coolness, as opposed to uncool, bawdy posturing, which you get a lot of in advertising agencies) triggered something in me. I had an idea. It might be an idea that comes to nothing, but it's one I want to pursue. It was an idea that could see my work actually become a true creative outlet. You see, if I'm really honest, all these years I've been focusing my creative powers on finding ways to get out of advertising. Maybe what I should have been doing is working out ways I could really get in to it. I've always wanted to be someone truly inspired by my work. Maybe instead of waiting for my work to inspire me, what I really needed to do was take my inspiration to the work. I'm sure this latest revelation of mine is something other advertisers have probably known all along (the ones who love their jobs that is). Oh well, never mind. Better late than never.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Day 288: hints of happiness.

Today when I stepped out onto my front steps, the air was unexpectedly warm. Instead of the chilly, grey and wet I have been greeted with most mornings recently, a beautiful Sydney sunshiny day looked set to unfold. At work there was minimal agro, and my lunchtime was adorned with the presence of my Aunty Chris, a classy, cool and gorgeous lady who gives us the cuddles and caring interest our Mum would if she was still here, and who is truly a pleasure to be around. My little bro came to lunch too, and we had a very nice time. And then my afternoon passed pleasantly without any undue stress. And as I was walking home, listening to the new songs I had bought on iTunes, I just thought, why the hell am I freaking out all the time about stuff? Why am I so hell bent on being better and better all the time? Why am I always looking for a better place to be? It's true that there are things I would like to do with my life. It's true there are people I want to meet. It's true that I don't want to stay in the same spot my whole life without moving forward. It's also true that I don't want to disappoint you guys by not achieving anything I set out to do in this insane little year of mine. But from what I can tell so far, life isn't going to let me do anything until the time it's going to let me do it, so I might as well calm down and enjoy things a little bit more. I will keep on keeping on, I will not move my eyes from the prize, but I will carry out my missions in a way and at a pace that ultimately makes me happy. Relax darling, have a good time. Otherwise, really, what on earth is the point?

Day 287: yoga to the rescue.

Sometimes I think this should be called My Year Espousing The Virtues Of Yoga rather than My Year Off The Piss. In any case, I went to yoga this morning (bright and early at 6am), and it definitely energised me in the right direction. I felt calmer, more directed and more infused with positivity. And that helped me think more clearly about my little music conundrum. Obviously, the band idea isn't working. I could continue to push things in that direction, finding new band members, but that feels like the hard way to go about things. It feels like I'd be working against the flow of things. And I've been doing enough hard stuff this year, wading upstream against a torrent of sauvignon blancs, beers, Champagnes and vodka tonics, without adding another impediment to my achieving an easy life. I don't want to make a rash decision on this one, because I feel like it needs some decent thought, but here's where my head is today on my future music activities: I think I need to pursue a solo project, focusing on recording at first, and hopefully drawing on the occasional help of some of the people I know already. Nobody has to commit to a band, and I don't have to rely on anyone sticking with me to make the project work. Cool. And I also need to really push my NYC mission. Living in that city, for a time at least, is a dream I can't drop. And it needs to happen soon. The beauty of a solo music project, is that I can take it with me wherever I go. So yep, looks like I'm on the lone road again. But that's alright. Today, I feel pretty good about it.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Day 286: are you fucking kidding?

Sorry for swearing (hey Claire, here's an idea: just stop swearing and you won't have to apologise for it all the time.) but I can't fucking believe this (oop, there I go again). I got an email today from my keyboardist saying she can't be in the band. Now first of all, I don't blame her in the slightest. She has very, very good reasons for not being able to be a part of it, and I think it was good of her to let me know earlier rather than later. But seriously. Is someone trying to tell me something? Do I smell? Am I giving off some kind of mega repellent that is making my fellow musicians run from me? Honestly, God, Buddha, Allah, whoever you are, is there something you want to say? Never in my life before have I encountered so many difficulties in getting a project off the ground as I have in the past two years. Now, any sane person might have thrown in the towel by now. Is that what the Universe, in all its wisdom, is telling me to do? Well as much as I would love to be able to do that, it is simply NOT AN OPTION. Do you hear that forces of the Universe? I cannot back down until I have managed to DO SOMETHING. I have some REALLY COOL SONGS that need putting out. If my angels could please just gather together and help me instead of throwing obstacles in my path, we might all be able to leave work in time to catch the latest episode of the Hills (I hate that show, just for the record. Spencer Pratt is a scary, raving, lunatic weirdo. And I hope Heidi's H cups pop.). Anyway, apart from angels, there is still one person who seems to be interested in pursuing the project. Guitarist Ben (a different Ben from drummer Ben). I know. It's a frickin miracle.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Day 285: a familiar feeling.

This is probably not the best news for the shiny, happy image of my sober crusade, but I've told you everything else about me, so let's wade in. You remember I said that once upon a time I was frustrated with everything, and that after a while off the piss I noticed a miraculous turn around? Natural happiness started surging through my veins, and things that had seemed awful suddenly seemed okay. No more frustration, no more unhappiness. Well I'm afraid to say the frustration is back. I don't know why it is, but I can feel doubts taking hold, dead ends forming, my confidence waning. I feel like I am doing the wrong thing somehow, like I am not where I am supposed to be. I feel like lucky breaks happen to other people. I feel like no one is helping me get to where I want to go (why should they? They have missions of their own.). And I know that negative thoughts like these aren't going to help me get anywhere better. So I need to snap out of it somehow. I have considered getting my blood tested to see if my vegan diet hasn't robbed me of my happiness nutrients. But until I do that, I plan to exercise my way back to positivity. Yoga tonight (done), running tomorrow. And whatever comes after that.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Day 284: always go to the party.

Did I mention yesterday that I had a party to go to, and didn't really feel like going? Yes. And for a while there I really was teetering around thinking lying with my head under the sofa at home might be a better option. However, because it was the 30th birthday of an all round top lad, and because I had promised I was going, and because yesterday, in the mood I was in, hanging in my own company would have been truly unbearable, I went to the party. And it was really fun and cool. The music was radical, the crowd a group of kids who know how to party, and the place just the right shape and size for what was going down. It was great. And by the end of it, after much dancing, yabbering and munting around, I actually felt good again. The moral of the story? Always go to the party.

P.S. It should be noted that at this stage of my non-alcohol development I am actually very bored of going to parties or similar events stone cold sober. People at pissy parties are very wary of the soberly aware, and in general I think I would prefer to be more a part of the socially lubricated and easily mingling masses. However, I still have absolutely no desire whatsoever to be one of the obliterated females messily slathering kisses on boys they found not nearly so attractive only hours earlier, or just grazing themselves as they bash into walls. Not pretty. Not hot.

Day 283: turning anger into music.

My internal freak outs about the state of my everything lately have left me feeling a little frazzled and exhausted. Today I woke up in a general mood of over it (hilariously, (hilariously?!) my fug feeling was something akin to a hangover. I kind of felt a bit stuffed up, and bleary, and tired and intolerant. Watch out world, here comes Stormcloud Falloon.). To deal with this I elected to do only what was absolutely required of me, or whatever happened to appeal to my contrary mind. Lucky it was a Saturday. And so I showered (didn't wash my hair, couldn't be arsed), ate breakfast (toast, minimum effort), drank some tea, and happily ignored the enormous pile of clean washing begging to be folded and put away. And then my big sis called, and I went on a mooch to meet her at some of our favourite shops. The sun was shining, so this was all okay. I lazied my way into various places, tried on shades (cool ones), picked up a soy latte, and eventually met my sister and helped her pick out some threads for hubby DK. And while this was all actually very pleasant and just the kind of untethered blah-ing around I was after, I just couldn't shake my mood of lo fi anti attitude. I just kind of couldn't give a shit about anyone or anything. But as I was strolling home in my grizzly fuzz, my mood formed into a lyric. I wasn't home more than half an hour and my angry lyric had become a fully formed song. A really cool one. So while my crap mood really still hasn't dissipated, at least I got something satisfying out of it. Such is the awesomeness of music. And now I have to go to a party, which, while not really what I feel like doing, is a much better option than staying home and grizzling around the house.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Day 282: getting nowhere.

Do you remember, quite a long time ago (on day two in fact) when I committed to a hypothesis about what I might achieve from my year off the piss? No? Let me refresh. Here's what I said: By removing the distraction of alcohol and the fallout that goes with it, my mind and waking hours will be free to be used productively. This new clarity of mind and ability to focus will see me achieve amazing things. Right. Well here, exactly 280 days later, I think I'm in a position to at least partially assess the validity of that little statement. By removing the distraction of alcohol and the fallout that goes with it, my mind and waking hours will be free to be used productively. This much, I believe, is true. Having removed alcohol from my life, I do indeed have more hours in which to do productive things. And I probably have done quite a lot more over the past however many months than I have in previous years (I've changed jobs, got into shape, discovered and maintained veganism, saved for and gone on an amazing overseas holiday, read copious books, written and demoed plenty of songs, disbanded one musical group, played around with other musical projects, and finally started to put together another band). But let's take a look at that other bit. This new clarity of mind and ability to focus will see me achieve amazing things. Clarity of mind and ability to focus. Over the last few days I have been quietly feeling like I have been losing my shit, precisely because of the number of competing goals, projects, motivations, standards and opinions clamouring for attention in my overcrowded mind. I want to go to New York, have a successful band, be a better singer, get a book published, do amazing advertising work, find an amazing partner, be an attractive, healthy, relaxed, sociable girl, all at the same time. When I list it all out there, it doesn't actually sound like that much. But it is. Each and every one of those goals is an enormous, time and energy consuming project in itself. Each one needs complete dedication. Each one needs complete focus to be achieved. If I continue to hold all of them front of mind all of the time I will remain in a useless limbo and nothing will get done. What troubles me is that I discovered the need to focus on one thing and one thing alone, over 280 days ago. Why am I still faffing around with this scatter-brain approach? Was that the gods just speaking to me (my Mother?)? I just heard the word "prioiritse" echo through the outer hallways of my brain cavern. Yes. Prioritise. Forget what other people expect. Do what needs to be done now. Keep moving, and stop feeling so pathetic. After all in yoga, we only focus for an hour and a half. And within that we only focus on each posture for a minute or 30 seconds or so. Maybe if I break things down into smaller bits. Maybe if I allot say even one hour of every day to focused activities (working towards my top priority projects) I might feel better about things. Maybe then, I might start getting somewhere.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Day 281: yoga boy II.

So last night, instead of having a band jam, I went to yoga. It was a bit hit and miss as to whether I'd go because I had to go home first to grab my gear, but I went anyway. And yoga boy was there again. Now, I'm so sick of myself at this point, that I really, truly resolved to talk to him after class. I mean, here's a totally masculine, heterosexual, unhippyish, hot boy who likes doing my favourite kind of yoga, and I'm ninnying around wondering what if? Better to dive in, get completely slammed (or pleasantly surprised) and then move on with my life, than keep being a gutless loser right? So I did my class, full of renewed conviction and focus (it was awesome), and then left the yoga room determined to casually and charmingly make yoga boy contact. Naturally, he'd chosen that night to shower in record time and leave before I could get a fingernail to him (he probably had a date). However. Before I had the chance to be sad about my thwarted mission, I noticed something. Another yoga boy. This one was darker of hair, deeper of voice and slightly more evil of general demeanor. In a good way. And he was talking about drinking alcohol. Didn't I say just the other day a drinker was in my future (now I'm not only a genius, I'm psychic too!)? Well looky looky here...

Day 280: slow mo.

Confucius said "It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop". Apparently. According to some website. Well that's lucky, because my new band is progressing mighty slowly. At least now I know Confucius will still come to our gigs even if they happen to be happening in the year 2039. We were meant to have our first jam tonight, but due to completely legitimate and important family issues that needed handling by one band member, we didn't do it. And this is the thing. None of the hold ups are happening for want of enthusiasm, devotion or desire to reach our goal. But hold ups are happening. Just like they've been happening for the past two freakin years. Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy? I have seriously been starting to wonder whether things have been getting in my way for a reason. Maybe rock stardom is not the destination for me after all. But every time I pick up my bass, or plug in to listen to my demos, I am reminded that I have some really cool songs that simply must be taken to other ears before I die. It's almost starting to feel like a curse. Like if I could just record, package up and release these bloody songs I would finally be free to relax and pursue (or not pursue) other things. But until I do it, I'm stuck in this holding pattern of having to keep chasing the muthaflipping dream. Gosh darn it all, bother and flip! (I don't know why my language has gotten so sanitised all of a sudden. Is this another sign? Am I galloping wildly in the opposite direction of all my rock 'n' rollish tendencies?) Oh well, what can a girl do? Keep bashing her head against the door until the bastard gives way (at least that could be construed as being a little bit punk).

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Day 279: this is getting ridiculous.

Last night I went into the yoga room and put my mat down next to another mat, the owner of which was elsewhere. And then the owner came back. It was yoga boy. And so we did our class next to each other, which was fine. At one point we even got eye contact, when he was checking it was okay to move my mat a bit so he didn't sweat all over it (I really wouldn't have minded). Then after class, I went into the change rooms, got my showering stuff and went to queue for the showers, and who should be directly in front of me in the line? You guessed it. And then the person in front of him went into one of the showers and there was no one else behind me, so we were the only two people waiting in line. And then what happened? Absolutely nothing. There was definitely some kind of nervous tension, but it's quite likely that was all coming off me. And he did kind of twist in my direction at one point (am I a teenager now?!). But all I could do was drink studiously from my water bottle. I mean seriously, this is taking shyness to a new and ridiculous level. Add to this an acutely embarrassing session answering questions on eharmony this afternoon (I think it's humanly impossible to come off sounding cool on that site) and you've got a recipe for me feeling like a complete dick. As open-minded as I wanted to be, I think eharmony has to go. And if yoga boy could just step into the breach, that would be ace.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Day 278: a telling moment.

Okay, I need to fess up about two things. First thing: because I think it would be wrong to complain endlessly about there being no decent men in Sydney without having exhausted all the options, I have subscribed to eharmony.com (It's a dating website that claims to use almost scientific processes to match you with truly compatible partners. Yup, whatever.) Second thing: while filling out one of their extensive questionnaires, I lied. Instead of checking the "never" box when it asked about my alcoholic drinking habits, I lied that I drink about once a week. Why did I lie? Because I knew that no man in his right mind would be attracted to a girl who never drinks at all. Not drinking says no fun, no party. Not drinking says not relaxed. Not drinking says some ominous reason why not, lurking in the past. Better to be moderate right? It says something about me though, and my attitude to drinking at this 278th day point, that the man I want in my future is a drinker. But I guess that's not so strange. Let's face it, with tastes like mine, to narrow the choice further by removing all drinkers would be a sentence of lifetime celibacy. And at this stage I am definitely not anti alcohol. As an occasional social relaxant, I see it as an entirely appropriate and pleasant addition to civilised human life. And as for eharmony? Judging by the candidates so far, signing up might be a moment I come to regret. Only time will tell. I'll tell you how I go.

Day 277: things are fine.

My weekend kind of got hijacked by work on both days, which basically bummed me out and prevented any true relaxation. But I did manage to squeeze in a few me-time moments. I managed to do yoga (extremely necessary) and go to the organic markets. I managed to watch the All Blacks beat the Aussies again in the Bledisloe Cup match on TV around at Ben's house. I also managed to go out dancing until a quarter to three in the morning, aided only by two cranberry and sodas and a bottle of water. I even spotted one cute boy. And I managed coffee, brunch and a movie with my good friend Niccola (including receiving confirmation via headache that I have developed a caffeine addiction - clever girl - and blubbing quite uncontrollably in the movie.). So despite being plagued by agitating dreams of work, everything really is fine.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Day 276: pieces of progress.

Did I mention that I had a meeting with the prospective guitarist for my new band? Well I did. I think it went well. He seemed to be into the project, is a fan of the proposed genre (50s-ish rock 'n' roll), and was generally quite impressively knowledgeable about music, the crafting of it and other things too. Or he was just acting confident. Either way it kind of freaked me out. I suddenly got a bit worried about my own not so extensive knowledge of anything, and being exposed as being what my little brother refers to as "a bit limmy" (that's "limited", for the uninitiated). I think that, combined with too many buffetings at work and depleted energy supplies, is what triggered my little confidence crisis the other day. Anyway, on further reflection I decided knowledge doesn't matter as much as the ability to feel and express the music. And I can't magically become a different person or conjure learning I haven't done, so I might as well face the reality of things and just see what happens. Yes? Let's keep moving.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Day 275: sucked in.

I used to love that saying as a kid. "Ah ha, sucked in." Now, as an adult, I feel like it's a phrase that should be applied to me. Because sucked in I certainly have been. Sucked in to giving a shit about material possessions, sucked in to a system where money really matters, sucked in to equating a part of my self worth with the work I do, sucked in to the rat race where we can be cornered into working like dogs by some ill placed sense of duty and honour. It's very fashionable these days to be passionate about your work. If you don't love your job and live for your job, it's seen as some kind of failure. Not in love with your work? Quit then! Go and do something you are in love with. Ah yes but there are bills to be paid. Expensive ones. Doing what we love doesn't always cover these. And if you don't have what other people have, you are made to feel your inferiority. And so the cycle continues. And you find your life hijacked by the pursuit of making other people money (and yourself of course, but the other people always seem to be making more). I had a tough week. Can you tell? And it still hasn't finished. Working on a Saturday? Sucked in.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Day 274: confidence crisis.

Why is it that on one day you can feel completely confident in your ability to conquer anything, and on another you feel like a talentless fraud? Well actually maybe you don't feel that way, but I certainly do. I don't know if it's me misreading things, or if it's just that I hang with people completely out of my league, but I generally get the impression that just about everyone around me knows a million times more about what they're doing than I do. They seem clued up, knowledgeable, dedicated, decisive, focused - everything I'm not. Next to them (everyone?) I feel like a scattered freak, with my head dabbling in far too wide a range of areas to know any of them very well or do any of them any justice. Why could I not have been born with one simple goal in life that I could thoroughly and diligently pursue? Why couldn't my ambitions and standards have been set a little lower than impossibly high? Why couldn't I have been blessed with one enormous and undeniable talent, instead of a handful of questionable ones? And why must I continue to doubt myself? That's too many questions, and no energy left for answers. Maybe I might find some in dreamland. Good night.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Day 273: welcome criticism.

The writers of inspirational advertising books have oft recommended that the creative individual be open to criticism of their work. The general argument is that criticism or outright rejection of one's work is an opportunity to go away and come up with a better idea, or improve on the original one. This isn't always strictly true. Sometimes people kill great ideas just through lack of taste, or wreck lovely ones with their ugly alterations. Such is life. But today I went through a process that proved the theory right. After another long day of writing and idea generating, we got the unwelcome news that a client didn't like the headlines on an urgent job. It was back to the drawing board and a race against the clock. Pulling energy from already depleted stores, we managed a pressure session and produced more lines which we were happy did the job. Great. But at the very moment we were pinning down our final selection to be presented in the morning, the founder and owner of the company enters the room, sees the lines and says: they need to be more fun. And he's right. They would have done the job they needed to perfectly well, and they weren't without charm, but there was room to make them better. So even as exhausted as we were, we set about writing them again. And low and behold if lighter, funnier, more appealing lines didn't start coming out. But of course this process wasn't easy. It felt a lot like hard work. And I noticed in myself plenty of resistance burbling readily to the surface at each suggestion that we start again. It's problematic as a creative, because being able to endlessly come up with new ideas is not only a requirement of our job, but also a point of pride. The only acceptable response to the rejection of an idea is to come up with more. And yes, a lot of the time, you do end up coming up with better ones. I know this. I only wish I could learn to react with a little more calm and grace, and welcome the criticism as the opportunity it so often is.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Day 272: the value of a manicure.

I have had a couple of days of intense writing at work, and a lot of other stuff too to occupy my mind, and as such I am feeling a little brain drained. To balance out the brain work, a little vacuous moron time has been required. So this evening, after yoga, I watched The City (the not quite reality TV show about pretty, air-headed fashionistas making their way in New York) followed by Australia's Next Top Model (displaying frequent deliciously entertaining examples of spectacular denseness). And now I'm going to tell you about my very special manicure, which I had done on Sunday and is still going strong. The shade is a fantastic, 50s, tomato red. I have very short (due to intermittent biting) and quite tiny fingernails (no one knows why). Because of this I have very seldom thought it appropriate to get my fingernails done (they're more excuses for fingernails than things you parade around proudly in bright colours). However, having been persuaded (quite easily) to go the manicure route by my very good friend Kristie, I am now a total convert. My nails look hot. The shortness is perfect, the shininess is dazzling and the colour is chic. At least that's what I think. And any time I paused from my fevered keyboard tapping over the last couple of days and saw my happy, red nails smiling up at me, it gave me a little fascinated rush of meaningless joy. That, my friends, is the value of a good manicure.

Day 271: calling in the lawyers.

Today I called a guy called Larry in New York. He's a lawyer, and an expert in immigration and working visas. He had a lovely accent (it's embarrassing how much I am in love with all things American). He was also very courteous and helpful, as I keep finding Americans to be (I'm sure there are some foul, bastard ones out there, but I just don't seem to be meeting them). Anyway, he told me some useful stuff but also confirmed what I already knew - that a job offer is my best way to get through the golden arches. Hmmm. There's also a thing called an artist's visa, which got me thinking. As an artist, would one be allowed to say, work on a second book in the states? Record an album? Oh but there I go getting ahead of myself again. Form band first, record album in NYC later. Get book one published first, write dream second book later. And meanwhile do the most arse-kicking advertising work I've done in my life to try and secure the haloed job in the big smoke. Challenging? Yes. Impossibly so? No way.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Day 270: call the rocks Ludo, call the rocks!

Me and my flatties just had a lovely evening. Tanya cooked dinner, James lit the fire, and we had dinner at the table then watched the Labyrinth by the fire sipping honey green almond tea. Kind of ridic for three fully grown adults, but it was cool watching a favourite movie of my childhood and actually getting all the metaphors (they're pretty obvious. As a kid I was aware there was something else going on (why do they keep saying "you take too much for granted" all the time?), but not exactly what.). I particularly liked the rocks this time. The mates that were willing to dive head first into the bog of eternal stench to help a friend, and that could be relied upon to come and help every time Ludo loosed his heartfelt yowl. I also liked the false alarms, the big faces in the rocks telling Sarah she was going the wrong way. It had a particular relevance for me, even at this decidedly un-teenage state of my development. Fuck the doubters, fuck the haters, I'm heading to the Goblin City.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Day 269: what it means to follow your dreams.

I'm slow, a late bloomer, whatever you want to call it, but it's taken me quite a while to cotton on to something. Before, I was under the impression that "following your dreams" was something that could be done within the constructs of normal life, like, something you work on in the midst of doing other normal stuff. I suppose I believed that you could pursue your dreams while maintaining a cosy little suburban existence with all the lovely trappings that come with. But now I think things might be a little different to that. To follow one's dreams means exactly that: you clamber in a fevered fashion along the path your dream leads you down. It takes you wherever you have to go and it doesn't much care if that suits you or not, or if it feels happy, easy and nice. If you want the dream, you just have go where the dream takes you. I have been thinking about this, because over the last day or two, it has come to my attention that some people think some of my choices are, how can I put this, weird? They think there must be something wrong with me. They think I am doing things they wouldn't like to do, and wouldn't enjoy, and because of that they can't understand why I am doing them. They wouldn't like to do them, and they don't like me doing them. Mainly it's the not drinking and the vegan food choices people seem to have a problem with, but I also discovered that certain men I work with (I haven't yet pinned down exactly whom) have a problem with the fact I don't fawn all over them and flirt and flash my boobs around enough (I think they also have a problem with my not drinking because that might lead to more of the aforementioned lacking behaviour). Now, what I think is interesting about all this, is that in fact I don't always like doing the things I'm doing, but I feel compelled to do them because it is where my path needs to go. I know, for example, that not drinking makes it more difficult to mingle socially with people and loosen up and behave the way other people want girls like me to behave - and honestly, sometimes that's exactly what I would like to do - however, I don't care that that is the case, because I am going somewhere with this. It's like I'm on my own little bullet train, and my own set of rails, and regardless of how comfortable or convenient for me or anyone else it is, I am fucking going to my destination. That's what's happening and I couldn't give a shit if anyone gets it or not, even if I wanted to. It's a bizarre sensation. I don't feel like I'm being a very normal human being right now, and I don't care about being a normal human being. I have some things I need to follow and get done, not all of which have even completely come clear to me yet but which are pulling me along even so. So there we are, and where is that exactly? Not sure, but what can you do? Go with the flow and keep on doing what you gotta do.