Another year gone.
Another day is done.
Another revolution around the sun.
New dreams born.
Fears, hates, desperately spurned.
Did you cry last year?
Did you laugh last year?
Did you cling to simple hope last year?
Did you hurt last year?
Did you tickle a rib last year?
Did you lift your face to the sky last year?
Then, maybe you have lived this last year.
In what is to come.
There is much to fear.
But then, there is reason for hope,
in this new year.
Lift your face to the sun this year.
Lift your voice in song this year.
Don’t forget the strength of your heart this year.
There is hope to be found this year.
If you but know where to look this year.
As long as you live this year.
There is hope.
Look deep within, that which is you.
Find your bliss, and then go pursue.
The thing that makes you jump for joy.
The things that cause you, your heart to employ.
The things that challenge,
And sometimes cause you to rip out your hair.
These things are things to reach for this year.
Ignore the things, that are far too big to handle.
Rather, look inward.
There you’ll find things, that life cannot dismantle.
There is hope this year.
If you but have courage this year.
Believe me, you can this year.
If you but have the will this year.
Believe it or not.
It’s in your hands.
Despite all you see,
that might reprimand.
Have faith and believe,
in all that you are.
And you will accomplish much this year.
Welcome to 2017!
Happy New Year!
I’ve been ill for the best part of the last fortnight. As a result, I’ve spent a lot of time watching movies. I haven’t written anything in quite sometime, beyond my #startright memes that is. And to me, those don’t really count. Mainly, because they’re not a balm for me like writing poetry is. I don’t feel like I’m releasing a great deal of myself at all. I never realised I was seeking any sort of release until the movie I watched two days ago, Batman Begins. I can’t begin to count the number of times I’ve seen it, but there’s a line in it that always, always gets me: “Why do we fall?” I did what I always do, thought about it a great deal. Then this piece was born:
Sometimes We Fall
Sometimes we fall.
Sometimes we trip.
Sometimes the fear takes over,
And we give in to our baser nature.
Sometimes we fall.
Sometimes we forget.
Sometimes we forget that we are stronger.
Sometimes we forget what came before.
So, sometimes we fall.
We forget, we repeat.
We repeat mistakes that should never be repeated.
Sometimes we fall.
Sometimes we’re silent too long,
We forget to speak.
Sometimes we crawl too long,
We forget to stand.
Sometimes we fall.
Sometimes we don’t realise we have fallen,
as we wallow.
Sometimes we fall.
Sometimes we fall.
This is our lot.
Sometimes we hurt.
This is our lot too.
Sometimes we fall.
But, we must not be defeated.
Sometimes we fall.
But we cannot stay lost.
We all fall at some point.
It’s part of our humanity.
And yes, we all hurt sometimes.
This is life.
Another truth that we ca never deny…
Yet, must we rise.
The thing with following your dreams. The thing we never document when we encourage people to strive for and pursue their excellence, is the pain that comes with it. When we document the journey, we want the world to see our triumphs and we post our pictures online with smiley faces, living a tremendously joyous existence. We proclaim, we hashtag, that we are “#livingthedream” and we tweet about the people we’ve met, the places we’ve gone, and the many wonderful things we may have done. Somehow we happen to miss out the heartache, tears and the loneliness that can come with it.
While all that we share is no lie, those who read, or look at these pictures always forget that this is only a part of the whole story. A truth nevertheless. I am reminded of a movie called ‘Just Married’ that starred Ashton Kutcher and Brittany Murphy. The lead man (played by Kutcher) was being advised by his father about marriage. He pointed to pictures in a photo album, and he spoke of those joyous moments. Here’s the quote from that scene:
“Some days your mother and me loved each other. Other days we had to work at it. You never see the hard days in a photo album… but those are the ones that get you from one happy snapshot to the next.”
I am caused to think on the quote above. A while ago I wrote a blog about making it a year in Berlin. I’ve had a number of months that were more than a little difficult. These are not documented in pictures, or with tweets, or even Facebook updates. In time to come, I will look back over many of these tweets and status updates and think on all I lived through between those pictures. When I look at those tweets or pictures, I will remember vividly the difficult times, without need of documented words or pictures. I will remember the tears that came during the absent updates. I will remember the fears and loneliness only too easily. So why, oh why do I need to document them physically? Their emotional toll is clear for me to see.
A close friend of mine messaged me a while ago, having read my blog post ‘Letter To A Friend‘ and I found myself touched by her message.
The message was simple:
“I just wanted to tell you that whatever happens, don’t lose hope….Even when/if you lose yourself…Even when/if nothing means anything anymore. I know you know this, but I still wanted to let you know.”
This is part of what helps me to continue moving on when things get difficult, as they tend to do.
In more recent past, I attended my sister’s wedding in the UK. I am happy to tell you I was beyond proud. I was asked a few days before I left Berlin, if I would cry at the wedding, I of course proclaimed that there was little chance of this happening. I am far from ashamed to tell you I cried as I watched her walking down the aisle. It has been many a year since I last shed a tear, so I didn’t anticipate it. But, seeing her walking down the aisle, with tears pouring down her face was too much for me. Later at the reception, I had cause to tear up once again when the time for the first dance came along. I recollect querying what they would be dancing to, my sister’s response was that it’s a surprise. I presumed twas a surprise for the audience, so I was happy to wait and see. They took to the dancefloor and the song began. I remember all too well, recognising the guitar intro, but uncertain as to the song itself, then the voice…and it was my voice! My song Weathervane, was the song they used for their first dance. I was beyond surprised! I looked to my other sister, in utter shock. I couldn’t believe it. Both were singing along. I hugged her and wept like I haven’t wept in forever, as she told me
‘Never doubt yourself. Ever’
The reason I share this? In time to come, as you go about pursuing your unknown end, you will go through what can only be called trying times. These are a part of our lot. I see them as almost a necessity. These help us to decide exactly how much we want whatever it is we are chasing. Whatever this unknown end may be, the trying times are an essential part of the journey. It is at this point that we ask ourselves if we really want this thing we seek. These trying times have the ability to break many. You have to ensure you are not one of those many. Reach back to something that will help to sustain you. For me, hearing my song at my sister’s wedding, for her first dance to boot, will stick in my mind for many a year. For me, this is a huge achievement. I intend to achieve more in my little life, but I’m uncertain that anything else I do will top that. Hold to the ‘little’ achievements. Let these encourage you as you move forward. I have come to learn that everything I want won’t come all at once. It may seem an obvious thing to many. But if you’re anything like me when it comes to dreams, you want it all at once. And you want it now. And with every little setback, we wish to curl up and die. But you always get back up, you will always keep going, because you simply have to seek the unknown end.
It’s that time of year again. And to welcome you into the near year, here is my new offering. My first in many months. Though I started this tradition of mine many years ago. I plan to continue it for many years to come:
The New Year
We talk of new seasons, we talk of new days.
We talk of resolutions, in beautiful new ways.
We build relationships, we tear them down.
We reach through the ages, to dispel a frown.
This year gone, oh what joy, what pain.
So many songs, I still hear the refrain.
But as I look to tomorrow, to see what’s to come.
What’s apt to follow, considering what’s begun.
There is excitement, there is fear.
Trepidation, but a veneer.
A stronghold insistence, on resisting the persistence,
That life is but an existence, to be tolerated and endured.
Forgetting the laughter, the joy.
The love you could deploy.
In this new year, despite aggravation.
My sole recommendation is to live in the joy.
For happiness is a choice.
So, every day, from now till ever.
Make a vow, ties with bitterness to sever.
For that future place, the thing that you dream of.
The path to that place, something to lean on.
The way that you see.
The way that you think.
The way that you hear.
These will pull you from the brink.
Be the light when it’s dark.
That single solitary spark.
Be a voice when silence screams.
Even when all would burst at the seems.
In this new year, in this new day,
be the reason for others to say,
here is one who would not lean on excuse.
To lend a helping hand, he would never refuse.
So, as we talk of new seasons, we talk of new days.
As we talk of resolutions, in beautiful new ways.
Let us build relationships, and seek never to tear them down.
By all means, let us reach through the ages, to dispel that single solitary frown.
As this new year dawns.
As this new day begins.
Reach deep down inside you.
Find that love.
Let it shine!
Happy New Year!
At the end of every year I write a new poem to usher in the new year. Last year, for the first time in a number of years, I neglected to do so. I shan’t do the same this year.
2014 has been a year of change for me. In January, I graduated from my Masters degree in Music Performance, with a fairly clear plan for the year. I was going to travel to Italy, as I had done during the summer for a few years. I had planned to spend a few months there, then possibly head to Ankara, Turkey for another few months. Italy fell through, and I had to change my plans. Halfway through the year, I moved to Berlin. I write this on Christmas eve and I’m sitting on my bed (I’ll type it up later)
It’s my first Christmas away from the UK in over two decades. Though I’ve spent the season on my own in years gone by. It feels quite different to be in a new country that I am yet to be able to call home. And as I prepare to celebrate my first Christmas away from home, I gain new respect for the many international students I have known over the years. I don’t know how you did. Though, I’m glad you did, and I am richer for knowing you.
As I sit here, I think on the future. For the last decade, I had followed a plan. I’ve come to the end of that and I have no plan now. And I’m not ashamed to tell you that it’s a scary place for me.
A new year beckons.
A new day begins.
As this new sun rises,
A new season begins with it.
A season of hope.
A season of joy.
A season of fulfilled dreams.
A season of new drive.
A season of new challenges.
Just like any other.
But a season with new determination.
So you need not run for cover.
As we open ours eyes.
To face this new day.
We think new thoughts.
We dream new dreams.
We see new faces.
To guide us on our way.
We step into new phases.
And in joy, our heads we lay.
Purpose must drive you.
And circumstance, not beguile you.
You need to be clear,
on who it is you are.
Be that one,
who believes in dreams.
Be that one,
who knows dreams can come true.
Lean not on excuse.
Don’t let fear stop you.
Negativity, you must refuse.
Else your tears proceed to drown you.
And when dark days come.
As they tend to do.
Reach deep inside,
To the strength in you.
Forget not, who you are.
Neglect not, your distant star.
Rather, stand firm for what you believe.
Reach far and you may yet receive.
Be brave and you’ll achieve.
Be true to you and in yourself believe.
As the new day begins,
see in it, a new hope.
See in it, a new chance.
And don’t be afraid.
Look back, to see where you’ve come from.
Then look forward, see where you’re going.
With a smile on your face, and hope in your heart.
Know that the future is indeed bright!
Happy New Year everyone! Make 2015 amazing! 🙂
Of late I’ve been thinking. In truth, I never seem to stop thinking. The thoughts lately are generally centered around dreams and having them come true, or otherwise. And the question is always ‘Do I Dare Dream?’
On my last day at Kingston International, as I was leaving the office, I said goodbye to a friend of mine. While doing so I confessed being rather afraid of the unknown next step. To which she responded “You’re not scared of anything”
Now, I’m thoroughly glad that I come across as fearless and full of confidence, even cocky to many I come across. To a friend that I trust, I have no qualms in confessing being daunted. I told her that I’d felt the same fear before many of my major life changes. I was quite afraid when I left my job and Vodafone on 05 to return to full time education. I was beyond scared when I stood for election to the post of President of the Kingston University Students’ Union, both times. And before leaving Kingston International, I was petrified. All that did not stop me from moving forward anyway. In truth, I hope it never stops me. I hope it continues to empower me. Every time I seek to take a step outside of that which I know to be me, there is fear. And the question is always ‘Do I Dare?’
I often get asked about my writing process, and how I write a song. What is your process? I’m often asked. As each song is different, I always try to look at it in retrospect and write from there.
This time around, as I’m in essence still writing the song, I will try to give you a more play by play description, if I can.
A few weeks ago at the end of a band rehearsal, the guitarist I’m currently working, started playing the beginnings of what he tells me is an old Brazilian song. The first 4 – 8 bars were some simply chords, played in arpeggio with a flattened fourth or fifth, giving it a very modal sound. I latched onto that with a simple melody and lyrics that came to me on the spot:
This is a new song.
That I’m writing right now
It’s a new melody
And it’s not quite the blues.
I told Joao (guitarist) that I didn’t want to hear the rest of the song, and just to let me use that beginning as a springboard for the rest. Walking down the road that night, I started singing it, adding to it, trying to let the melody flow by itself:
At the next rehearsal, we started working it. We started by listening to the above audio and going from there. In trying to find the rest of the song, I kept the first few lines and made stuff up to work with the chord progression that was being created. I added words as the melody was coming to me. The words were just filler, so that I could nail down the melody. Though, the chorus worked as it was, so I knew that was a keeper. I went away, worked on lyrics some more, to fit the melody. And by the end of our last rehearsal, this is what we had:
From the above you can see what we kept from the little audio snippet and what we threw out. There is still a little way to go, work things in properly. Some words I still wish to change, and I will allow those to come to me as and when. Tis just a little glimpse into what is sometimes my writing process. Sometimes, I bring a completed song to the band to work through. While other times, like with this song (still undecided whether to stick with ‘On My Mind’ or the original title of ‘New Song’) it starts with the tiniest bit (4-8 bars) and the song comes from there.
Then I saw a status update by River Ram Press run by a friend of mine. And it said something along the lines of ‘Just write!”
So, here I am writing. As I begin, I haven’t a clue what I shall actually write, but write I shall nevertheless. Walking home from work and my randomised playlist started playing a song I very much love ‘Details In The Fabric’ and it got me thinking. It’s one of those songs that encourages you by evoking the tears if they need to come out. When you’re feeling a touch melancholy it can sometimes help to listen to an emotive song. It’s one of motivated me to write my song ‘Sunrise’
I’ve a friend who tells me it’s song that helps her feel better when she’s feeling somewhat morose. It always makes me happy to know that I’ve been able to write a song that actually comforts her when she’s feeling bad.
I somewhat amateurishly created a little video for it. I shared it an age ago, but here it is again:
I hope you enjoy it.
As I write this just after 5.30am. I’ve been off work ill over the last few days and the joys of being ill mean I can be at my laptop now trying to write a blog. Of course, the good thing about being ill is the alone time and the time to think that I have. I remember writing a while ago about my my best songs/poetry coming from honesty. Well, I think I shall give that a try now with this blog entry. I generally don’t talk to people much about what’s going on in my mind. I think I shall use this blog for that. So I ask that you indulge me for a while, as I work through one or two things going through my mind.
It’s been over a month since my last written blog. I’ve been trying ever so hard over the least few weeks to write something, and on Facebook I even got friends to give me suggestions as to what I should write about. As I walked home from work about a fortnight ago, I started thinking about it. In trying to understand where I am now, I considered the last number of years and my progress.
As soon as I finished my undergrad degree, I started work as the President of the Students’ Union. The very day after that finished, I traveled to work in Italy for 4 months. On my return, also the very next day, I started studying for my Masters degree. Recently finished that and I haven’t started something else that’s quite as all encompassing as yet. I have a good job, I’m comfortable. And that’s the problem.
I’m itching for another project. Itching isn’t quite the right word. Desperately seeking else I drown in comfortable, might be a better description. One of the reasons I left the 9-5 life many years ago was the feeling that has recently returned to me. The living for the weekend, the ‘loss’ of creativity. The hunger for something beyond the monthly paycheck or the occasional gig with the band.
I like my job. I love meeting new people and doing what I can to help them. I love the people I work with. Everyday I tell them that the only other place I’ve worked at that mixes the same blend of insanity and professionalism is the Kingston University Students’ Union. It’s unlike any other office I’ve worked at prior to coming to Kingston. That’s one of the reasons that I wanted to work at the International Office in the first place. Despite that, it’s not enough. I’m glad I will only be there until the end of July. I don’t regret taking this job. In truth, I’m happy I did. It’s reminded me that the 9-5 life is so not for me. I managed it for almost 10 years before coming to Kingston, only because the jobs were mundane enough, that my mind could be elsewhere all the while. I wrote my book while at work and I dreamed dreams of grandiose achievements while there. 10 -15 years later, and I have managed to scale some of the heights I had my eyes set on.
While I have indeed have set some new dreams/targets for myself, my current life means I have nothing left of myself at the end of the day, to create. The part of me that creates seems to be blunted, and try as I may to ‘sharpen’ it, I come up with naught. Now, as I sit at my laptop, I can feel things percolating again inside this little cranium of mine and I remember that I used to do my best writing at night. When all around is still, the sky is dark and number of those walking the streets counts in the single digits. Once or twice I would take a walk around Surbiton at stupid o’clock and breathe in the air. Walk to the river and watch its calmness and come back home to create. I would know it was time to stop writing when it started to get light out. My aim now, is to find a way that my optimum hours of creativity can be used to create, instead of trying to sleep. And my weekends need to be used on more than just trying to relax and recuperate in time for the week to come. Which means that when this job is done at the end of July I need to grab the bull by its proverbial horns and hold on tight. A new project is beginning to form in my mind. And this is good. I hope this will quell the gnawing feeling of disquiet and dissatisfaction that has been plaguing me these last few months. And that gives me cause to smile at 06.53 on this Wednesday morning.
Syfy am always consists of Smallville, then Buffy. Smallville’s just finished. Buffy next, then sleep. I’ve decided I shall return to the office tomorrow. Things to do etc. So, until next time people, have a great day!
On Friday I graduated from my Masters degree in Music Performance.
I don’t do pride much, as those of you who read my blog about my single release and other ‘achievements’ will know. But as I look back over the last number of years, I do feel a touch of pride indeed. I am no academic, I am horrendous at academic writing. My writing style is colloquial to say the least, not the approach required for academic writing at all. I still remember thinking the Under Graduate degree was a trial. On beginning the Masters degree, I came to a new understanding of the word stress. So, despite being a tad disappointed with my final grade, I am very happy indeed to have gained my Masters qualification. In the years to come, I hope I can make my family and Kingston University proud.
My graduation weekend began with the ceremony itself on Friday 24 January at The Rose Theatre in Kingston. Eason Chan, a Cantopop megastar received an honorary PhD at the ceremony, which added a certain glamour to the whole event. And I must say, getting to talk to him afterwards and asking questions of him at his press conference just made the day even better.
With family and friends in attendance, the day was beyond amazing. From Eason’s speech, to the vote of thanks by a ‘mature’ student, and then being awarded my degree by Julius, a man I know and have a great deal of respect for. He actually plugged me at the press conference! It was an amazing day. 🙂
With all the pressure I was under and the fear I wouldn’t complete the masters programme, I now ask myself if it was all worth it. My answer is yes, it most certainly was. Attending that ceremony did more than mark the end of of something. It helped to validate everything that I had to deal with over the last two years. My love for performance and for music, were the reasons I decided to extend my study in my field. Higher Education remains the way forward, no matter what certain papers may tell you. It is because of this value that it remains a bargaining piece in the political games that have been played over the last number of years in this country. And why the Liberal Democrats have much to worry about come the next general election. But, this isn’t a blog about politics. This is a blog about hope and belief. I will continue to advice others to study their passions. Seek to learn more about what you love. The PG course, as ardous as it can be, will question your understanding of your subject. It will make you question yourself and it will give you a better understanding of why you love what you love. So, it is important to know that the value of the degree isn’t in the money you have to pay for it. It is in what you get out of it. And I have always held the belief that if I want something badly enough there is nothing that will stop me from getting it. I am hardwired to try and keep trying until the final bell tolls. I worked two jobs to pay my way through my masters and didn’t get much by way of sleep. And once again, I ask, was it worth it? YES it most certainly was. Find out what you want, then go and get it. The first part of that is important. As once you know you want it, there’s no stopping you. In his speech, Eason Chan said that one should always have a kind heart. I’ve tried to keep with that motto. It’s harder to do at sometimes, but I still try. And will continue to do so.
I once told myself, when all seemed lost almost fifteen years ago, that I either fight or die, no middle ground. I’ve been fighting ever since. For me there has only ever been one option. And that is to win. And so I will, by nook or by crook. There are too many people to thank and continue thanking. I love you with all of me.
What’s next for me I hear you ask? Well, I’m currently working at Kingston International, with an amazing team of people. Will be there till the end of July. At this point I shall head to Italy to work till the end of Sept. Yesterday, I met with the MD (Musical Director) of the band I work with over there. Looking forward to working with them again. Afterwards, the next chapter in the adventure that is my life shall begin. To say I’m excited for the future doesn’t even begin to cover how I feel right now. 🙂
My graduation weekend concludes today, with a performance with my newly formed band ‘TJ and Friends’ at the Rose Theatre. So, if you’re in and around Kingston Upon Thames today, head to the Rose Theatre, where the 1st Annual Kingston Arts Student Festival will be taking place. The day begins at 12pm, till about 6pm. I will be on stage at 4.30.
Look forward to seeing you there! 🙂
And once again, thank you all for your support and your strength!