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.
Pursue The Unknown End
When you branch out, you do this.
When you try different things, you do this.
When you thirst for something, beyond the usual.
Beyond the mundane.
You pursue the unknown end.
When you set sail, and plot a course,
beyond the prescribed route, you do this.
It is a route fraught with unseen pitfalls
and often meandering trails.
Yet, it is the route you must take,
when you seek to pursue the unknown end.
Why must you do this?
Why must you leave the comfortable?
Why must you leave the unknown,
and cleave to the unknown?
We must leave, because it is comfortable.
We must leave, because it is known.
And we reach for the unknown,
because it is unknown.
There are things to be seen, that these eyes wish to see.
There are tongues that these ears wish to hear.
And passions to quicken this heart.
So when the shores recede and doubts proceed,
to buffet as we try to make headway.
We cling to this purpose.
We cling to this lifeline.
This line to hope.
Keeps us afloat.
Keeps us fighting.
And reminds us of why we set sail.
We set sail so we might quiver.
We set sail so we might touch
We set sail so we might feel,
the beating heart of this very world.
If we wish to feel, to see,
and become new things.
We must dig deep, take a step.
And pursue the unknown end.
I sort of retreated into myself for the last few months. Whenever that happens, after a while I try to pull myself out by reading some of my old stuff. I found a poem I wrote in 2007:
It’s not an easy thing,
looking back on your own life.
Sometimes you see nothing but trouble and strife.
I’ve seen a little too much for my own mind.
I’ve hardly seen any in the mind of some younger.
So, I look back at my life and wonder;
What can I give?
How can I share with you the life I chose to live?
Was it circumstance or was it choice?
That causes me sometimes to raise my voice.
“I’d like to teach the world to sing.”
It’s a fine sentiment I do agree.
But what song would I teach to everyone,
so they could always dance with glee?
Should I show them what makes me laugh,
and hope that they laugh too?
Or should I show them what made me cry,
so they turn away from view?
This world is a hard place to live.
With many hard lessons to teach.
Sometimes we lose the lesson,
it’s just beyond our reach.
But here’s what I’d love to teach,
to each and everyone.
No matter what you face in this world,
it’s not stronger than you.
You stand up tall and face your foe,
even if it turns out just to be you.
Learn to laugh and smile and sing,
no matter what life brings.
Remember to extend your helping hand to others,
even when you have fallen short.
Always do this even though sometimes you don’t feel you ought.
For you help not them when you reach out your hand,
you help your own heart to cease to reprimand.
This is what causes me to laugh when I should cry.
This is what causes me to sing when I should wail.
This is what brings my smile to greet you when we meet.
For when you smile back, I feel the world is at my feet!
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! 🙂
Another video from Italy:
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!
I was taught a number of things when it comes to dreams. Here are but a few of them:-
1. Have dreams bigger than you
2. Write down your dreams.
3. Guard your dreams. Protect them, be very careful with whom you share them as not all you meet will aid you in bringing them to life.
4. Let some people know about these dreams. those that will encourage you and drive you, push you never to let go of them. they will keep you on course.
With that in mind, last week I sat down and decided to finally write down these dreams of mine. Here are a few of them:
- Sell my poetry. (Frames, on mugs, in cards etc)
- Write a few more books.
- Open a music venue, where known artists can come to perform, as well as promoting local talent.
- Continue travelling to perform.
- Nurture local talent, in local schools and other educational establishments and give them to opportunity to perform on stage at the venue. Thus improving on their performance technique and helping to further inspire them to keep with what they’re doing.
- Motivational speaker
- All of the above would be under the umbrella of MusicTJ, which I’ve begun to cultivate in the last year or so. One large organisation which will include a number of different facets/departments. Educational (dance, music, writing etc), Events, Performance, Poetry, Speaking etc.
- And remain open to other opportunities that may come about.
The fortunate or unfortunate thing about having a lot in your ‘box of tricks’ is that it’s hard to pin down a single thing you want to do. I’ve therefore decided not to stick to a single one. The REALLY hard thing now, is deciding what to start with. One thing I know with absolute certainty right now is that I do not wish to remain in the UK. I’ve been here most of my life and it’s time to move elsewhere. What I now need to do, is put together a model that I can pick up and take with me wherever I go.
There are still a number of things I haven’t put on here. I haven’t mentioned anything about my music as yet. And you know I love my music. I’ve a lot in mind for that. My mind has always been exceptionally full of things, and for such a long time I never actually believed I could do any of it. In the last seven years especially, I come across people who seem to believe I could do absolutely anything I ever set my mind to. It’s absolutely amazing how liberating that is!
I could afford it, I would have bought the MusicTJ.com domain name by now, just to make sure it’s mine at least. I still need to get the MusicTJ logo designed. So much to do, so little time.
Do not tread on my dreams. If you do so, I promise you, I will tread on you.
I don’t close my eyes to sadness.
I don’t turn my ear from cries.
Though I’ll turn my ears to gladness
And turn today’s truth to a lie.
I’ll reach into the ether
And pull out a new tomorrow.
I’ll plunge into my dreams.
So the future turns from sorrow.
Today may tell one thing.
But tomorrow’s yet to be born.
If you dwell in today’s darkness.
You’ll never see the light.
You don’t need to close your eyes to sadness.
To see the future gladness.
But you shouldn’t plunge into the tears
To live away from fear.
In that distant time,
In years yet to come.
Beyond the bridges burnt
Beyond the battles won.
The people who live there.
The people born from now.
Their hope is drawn from you.
They look to you for how.
If you would build tomorrow.
If you would make it bright.
Turn your heart away from sorrow.
Turn your heart to the sunrise.
For when the sun rises
And makes the night flee.
The demons that haunt at night
Will have to let you be.
As it warms your heart
And fills you with gladness
It will let fly your fears
And replace them with light.
Be not afeared
of that which is to come.
For that distant horizon
Holds a bright world, not yet born.
New battles to be won.
New challenges to face.
And a wondrous new adventure
A path you’re yet to grace.
Tomorrow can be bright
If that is what you are.
Tomorrow can be a thrill
If you but have the will.
Tomorrow lies in you
And it’s just beyond your view
Tomorrow holds your prize
If you would just own it too.
So don’t close your eyes to sadness.
And don’t turn your ear from cries.
But turn your ears to gladness
And turn today’s truth to a lie.