Tech Lessons

Last year I found I needed a new-to-me Macbook Pro when I poured coffee on the spacebar of my current one.  In a year of cash that trickled rather than flowed, this took some doing, but I did it, and voila – its Faster Better, Quiet, sleek and wonderful.  In January 2015 the crashing began and was misdiagnosed three times before last month the truth was finally revealed to me:  my Faster-Better-Quiet had terminal graphics card failure.  Basically the thing is on life support while I farm it’s guts for the treasures I’d buried there, but it’s definitely palliative.  Bye Bye.

I do not grieve.  We had so little time together after all, in the context of Macbook lifespans.

Nope no grief.  I rage.

My vacated chair as I follow the sage advice to those beset with tech horror:  walk away from the computer...
My vacated chair as I follow the sage advice to those overcome by tech horror: walk away from the computer

There are three books in progress on that thing.  Four short films about making art – none of which I can open on my OldTrustyNoSpacebar.  Many many GB of exploration of the #Water project and the #Paper Works project.  Songs, sheet music, arrangements, new contacts, doodles, rituals, photographs…

In one year, all of that, gathered, pondered, collected.  I thought I had four more years at least.  Rage.

The floor in front of me as I contain my rage, so that I can calmly get back to work...
The floor in front of me as I contain my rage, so that I can calmly get back to work…

All of this can be dealt with, of course.  During one of the misdiagnoses I prudently bought a backup drive – everything is there when and if I need it.  I just need to … dig.  Also, many of the projects require software that OldTrustyNoSpaceBar doesn’t have.  Not a problem, I can sort this out too by downloading updates and freeware from the internet.  I just need to … find the updates, the freeware….


OldTrusty, this morning, looking game.  Bluetooth keyboard solved the garbled writing issue...
OldTrusty, this morning, looking game. Bluetooth keyboard solved the garbled writing issue…

The thing is, I’m writing and recording music for Liz Zetlin’s film, Herons and Monks.  I’m so very honoured to be asked, so excited to mix voice and cello to her images and her poem – as tastefully as she has built the latter.  It’s a lovely film.  Liz has been waiting and waiting to hear what I’ve been doing, and I’ve been busy with concerts, rehearsals, teaching, helping my folks leave the family home, but mostly in denial about Faster Better Quiet, who was getting worse and worse each time I worked – Oh! files lost just before saving, posts gone forever, poems fractured into digital soup… I took It in again to the repair guy.  And again, grim but still hopeful, thinking – when I pick It up next week I can clear the boards of all else and finish…

By then Faster Better had lost my respect and my love.  Well no wonder It died.

Meanwhile, no internet at home.  OldTrusty lives at the studio and can’t connect through the internet provider we have at home (something to do with a Snow Leopard glitch….eih?).

A clever #Selfie, learned after last year's project.  This was the little Rothfuss
A clever #Selfie, learned after last year’s project. This was the little Rothfuss

So, shrug, I read a little perfect book by Patrick Rothfuss.  And then another big one by Donna Tartt, and another by Alice Hoffman.  My insomnia disappeared for ten days.


I took a holiday – the first real, healing one I’ve had in about twenty years.  Just two fantastic sleeps, with books.  I did take OldTrusty, but just wrote journal.

It’s a week since that little holiday, and I sit in the end of the cleared time, writing this on OldTrusty, since Better Faster is written off.  I have laid down at least forty vocal and cello tracks in my begin-from-scratch music for Liz’  Herons and Monks.  Dear OldTrusty has caught and saved twelve of those, but lost the rest because (as my recording software tells me fairly regularly),  cannot record.  disc is too slow.  That’s alright.  It’s making the work better.

It’s making me better, actually.  The film is about many things – stillness, patience, gathering, scattering, dancing and releasing.  All of these things have happened with me and my technology these past three days and two sleeps, while I make music fit for herons, cranes, a monk who, close to ninety, sits for eight hours a day, over nine days, to build a mandala out of sand.  Music also for Liz, so dear to me, who has waited.

Thanks Liz.  See you tomorrow morning.

#Selfie 17: new moon

It’s been a week since the morning after #Selfie’s opening at Gallery de Boer.  That was such a profoundly good time, rich with love and excellence, risk and joy.  We all of us had about an inch of air beneath our feet as we walked through the space and played together on the roof afterwards.  That felt so good I’ve barely touched the ground since.  Thank you thank you to the 150 and more people who agreed to meet in that space & do marvelous things.  To Ron de Boer, Sarah, Jean and everyone at the gallery who jumped on the #Selfie train and rode it, screaming around corners to the station.  Deep deep gratitude especially to my incredibles who held centre:  david sereda, Coco Love Alcorn, Larry Jensen and Kristan Anderson.  That was fine fine work.

playing in photoshop- me layered & floating between two shots of the same painting.
playing in photoshop- me layered & floating between two shots of the same painting.  I’m frowning because I’m not awake yet- this is about 6am…

#Selfie work continues.  I am compiling the oceans of material I’ve collected from social media, written response pieces, research and documentation of my own process into a book, which is coming along nicely.  We hope to have this published and available by the third week of July – write to me here if you’d like a copy or two.  I’ll keep everyone informed about how that project is progressing.  I’d also like to put a couple of new pieces in before the show comes down on August 1 – they are whispering in the back of my mind, and would like to be manifest.  We’ll see how that goes.

An 'out take' from the last #Selfie shoot before the show.
An ‘out take’ from the last #Selfie shoot before the show.

Much has occurred between last friday and today – a noon-hour concert with david sereda in a church with wonderful resonance, a gathering of friends to move me from country to town, a reclaiming of things I’ve not seen for ten months, a sort and file.  I’ve been especially challenged by the process of coming back to normal sleep patterns – by 19th June I’d become accustomed to a 3-hour sleep then work then sleep then work out routine, like some subterranean sleep cycle experiment.  Mostly back now, but that was interesting.  It got the work done, though, and perhaps more importantly it put me in a place where I was open to imagery and resonance beyond what was immediately obvious.  Love that edge.

Me loving the edge.
Me loving the edge.

Cello is calling me to practise this morning – I have two solo gigs this weekend, and need to build that stamina back.  Wonderful.
Life is incredibly, marvelously rich.

more coming, too.