Haiku. The Wake.

In the wake of now,
Blessed are the peacemakers
And the sanctified.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

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The Creator’s Call. A poem.

The call of creation
Echoes in my mind,
Oscillates in my ears,
Reverberates in my soul.

This call cannot go unanswered;
It is the call of wild and reckless abandon,
The puissant grace of the cheetah
And the wind rustling the reeds.
Every word and image
Cast upon the page
and melded with my very heart,
Pumping lifeblood and illuminating
Each and every star above,
Pouring into every single
Excruciatingly luxurious ink stroke.

The overwhelming grace
That You have given me
Is clarity beyond simple hope,
And a new day
Every day.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Cast. A poem.

Line cast before the storm,
Sent and received
Let waters churn
Offer up your burdens
And your soothing grace
So that the tide might carry
All concerns beyond
This harbour’s boundaries
And out into the wide
And yearning sea.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Elixir. A poem.

The elixir that drowns
is a draught without measure,
a flood like no other,
an unstoppable well.

‘Tis the sweetest lifeblood,
and an undying treasure
brings me all the more closer
to the place where He dwells.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Merry Christmas to all!

My favourite Christmas carol (okay, it’s only part of it, but I still love it!)

Silent night, holy night,
all is calm, all is bright.
Round yon virgin, mother and child,
holy infant, so tender and mild.
Sleep in heavenly peace,
sleep in heavenly peace.

Merry Christmas, one and all. May we find grace, joy, love and lasting peace in the coming year.

God bless

Steve:)

Humble. A poem.

The essence of humility
Is all I ever need of be
Humble is as humble does
The other side of piety.

I am forever in Your debt,
my honour long impugned, you see.
You paved the road with grace for me
to be remade from aimless sin.

The All or the Nothing

For more of my poetry, check out The All or the Nothing, my first book, available at most online book sellers in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Want to support Steve with a donation? Click on the donate link at the bottom of this page. Thanks!

Tonight. A poem.

Am I mad and destitute
on this anxious road to success?
Or am I lost and found again
in artless vanity and regret?

Is this path I walk alone
of the living and the dead?
Or a marathon that leads me on
far from a shameful mess?

Do you hear my silken cries
or feel my sullen tears?
Do you smile all the while
or simply laugh at me?

Am I selfish or justified
to think and feel this way?
Or is it just another cross
I think I bear, today?

Will you pray for me again
as I walk the quivering wire?
Trying not to glance below
into the waiting fire.

No, You will hold me subtly
each and every time I tire.
You will always ease my pain:
right here, right now, in time.

The All or the Nothing

For more of my poetry, check out The All or the Nothing, my first book, available at most online book sellers in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Want to support Steve with a donation? Click on the donate link at the bottom of this page. Thanks!

Nothing Less. A poem.

I left myself in such a mess,
recovery mode and nothing less.
Drowned my sorrows in emptiness,
succumbed to my own thoughtlessness.

But now I see the road ahead.
You light my way to more than this.
I guess this all was just a test,
Your way of saying “Just do your best”.

Now, I rise above the rest
to face the world, my sins addressed.
I’ve become, I must confess,
a better man and nothing less.

For more of my poetry, check out The All or the Nothing, my first e-book, available at most online book sellers.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Haiku Friday: The Promise. A haiku.

The Promise
Holistic vision:
a promise swaddled in truth.
Future redemption.

Haiku is a Japanese poetic form with a strict 5/7/5 syllable and line structure.

Cheers

Steve 🙂

I write a lot of poems, some from my head, some from my heart. Many don’t appear on this website. For more of my poetry, check out The All or the Nothing, my first e-book, available at most online book sellers.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Your Road. A poem.

Before me is asphalt,
an active metaphor.
My journey’s just begun,
never ending or undone,
upon this path I’ll drive,
forever sanctified.
On the eternal road of life
Your cross will be my guide.

I write a lot of poems, some from my head, some from my heart. Many don’t appear on this website. For more of my poetry, check out The All or the Nothing, my first e-book, available at most online book sellers.
Click here to find out how to purchase a copy

Eternal Grace. A poem.

Upon the cross, through time inured
You gave Your life, so pure and true.
For mankind’s untold sins and strife,
You left this world when time was nigh.
Beyond the pale of man’s disgrace,
bequeathed the world eternal grace.


I write a lot of poetry, some of which comes from my head, some from my heart. Many don’t appear on this website. For more poems, check out The All or the Nothing, my first e-book of poetry, available at most online book sellers.
Click here to find out how to purchase a copy to treasure forever, or at least until some other e-book takes your fancy 😉

Anew. A poem.

All my dreams

returned to dust
whence they sprang,
embittered and tweeted
into the ionosphere.

I am guilty

of a life lived lost,
of times counted down
but launched anew,
in an empyrean embrace.

The All or the Nothing is my first e-book of poetry, available at most online book sellers. To find out how to buy a copy,
click here.

Consequence. A poem.

If I had my chance again,
would I change the things I did?
I am so invested in this pain,
and have lost, yet gained so much,
it was surely
meant to be.

And if I had my chance again,
would it truly set me free?
We only learn from hurt, it seems,
from bitter consequence
and suffering.

God found me there,
alone in my electric chair,
death’s certainty suddenly
uncertain.
I reached out in return
and embraced the grace
that He did bring,
acceptance,
the consequence of things.

Do I need my chance again?
It seems not, for this humbler life
accedes to the betterment
of consequence.

The All or the Nothing is my first e-book of poetry. To find out how to buy a copy,
click here.

Back to Life. A poem.

The sun shone through,
my hope returned,
and I drifted on rays
of sutured miracles that
stitched the dark and light
together. And like the
Creator Himself, brought
me shining back to life.

The All or the Nothing is my first book of poetry, and at just $5.99 for 62 poems, that’s less than 10 cents a poem! To find out how to get a copy, click here.
Support starving poets everywhere!

Night, Again. A poem.

Night, again
and here I am,
pondering the specificity
of my unctuous requests,
enraptured and Heaven-sent
on the backs of clasped palms,
no random incidental
tests of charm.

Every night
I thank Him there,
for faith and hope and grace,
every single day I share.
all part, this humble life
under His long
forgiving stare.

Every night
I ask for love,
that this be finally done,
because without her this life
is lost and never won.
Without her
I am nothing
and no one.

And then
I turn again
to sleep, and join billions
of patient souls who pray
for all their souls to keep.
I dream of love and subtlety,
with those who wonder when
their prayers will bring them
long and
sweet
relief.

The All or the Nothing is my first book of poetry, and if you like what you’ve been reading then you’ll love it! To find out how to get a copy, click here.
Support starving poets everywhere!

Focus. A poem.

You are my focus.
Without you I am a blur,
a hazy remnant lurking
on the periphery of this
sun-scorched existence.

You are the prism
through which I shine.
You are my multiplicity of light,
an enchanted, technicolour spectrum,
illuminating my darkness,
and showing me the way.

The All or the Nothing is my first book of poetry, and if you like what you’ve been reading then you’ll love it! To find out how to get a copy, click here.
Support starving poets everywhere!

Christmas. A poem.

The lights shining on the tree,
the streets filled with gaiety,
presents, goodwill; how it’s meant to be,
not always reflecting reality.

He was born on Earth, a miracle being.
He lived and died, for us, you see.
His loving grace, it set us free,
so rejoice in Him, on this day of peace.

Faith, Hope, Love: is all we need.
Faith, Hope, Love: will always be.

.
Merry Christmas, everyone! May your Christmas and new year be filled with life and love.

Cheers

Steve 🙂

Would you like to read more poetry and prevent Steve from starving at the same time?

Steve’s first book of poetry, The All or the Nothing, is available now as an e-book from most online distributors. For more information, click here.

Crowd Pleasers. A poem.

We all, a crescendo
of broken hearts,
slivered by degrees,
like fractured performance art,
played out in front
of voyeuristic crowds
for residual affirmation
and a single denarius.

Come join me in the circus round
so that we may hug and huddle
and consider matrices of
dulled theatricality:
that every cheering onlooker
should feel as rent and succinct
as the saddest Mozart note.

And we will shine, despite
the shattered dignity we carry
like crosses through the throng
to our private Golgothas.

The King Spoke. A poem.

The King spoke upon
the mount
to thousands who’d come far.
His words would
change
the world.

Did he know how much?
Yes, he did.

The same way he knew
He would be
betrayed,
and on his cross on Golgotha,
His Father would
forsake him,
then raise Him from the dead.

Did He know His
words and actions
would mean so much?

Yes, He did.

And He would do it all
again,

to save us with His
Grace.

Invincible. A poem.

I’m alone against the storm,
wearing custom-fitted armour,
courtesy of the Lord.

I’m a lone wanderer in form,
but my way is assured,
courtesy of the Lord.

I’m a fighter on the boards,
wearing gloves of solid steel,
courtesy of the Lord.

And I’m invincible,
a man of principles.
Courtesy of the Lord.

.
I haven’t written a Christian poem in a while. It’s about time I did. 

Here’s one for the big guy upstairs.

Cheers

Steve 🙂

A Question of Purpose

How do you define yourself? When you have nothing to define yourself with? When your past has been forcibly ejected and you’re holding on for dear life as your plane flies headlong into the ground? When you run out of reasonable and unreasonable metaphors to express yourself?

I hear a lot about purpose. About predestination. As a Christian I’m a believer. But at the same time I find myself purposeless. And I have to ask the question: I’m on God’s path, so what and where is my purpose? (I’m a Christian. I didn’t say I was a patient Christian.)

It’s a simple question, and one that I’m sure has vexed many of you as well. Many people define themselves by their jobs, or their upbringing, or by their education or money. Some by their friendships or achievements. But when you don’t have any of that, what do you do? (Live with your parents, I guess. Question answered? Nope.)

Now, I’m an intelligent man (or so I like to think). I’ve been around. I had a successful career. I’m well educated. I had a loving family. I had the respect of my peers. I did great (and not so great) things. I had purpose. I was fulfilled.

And I lost it all. One day I tripped, fell, and by the time I got back on my feet they were all gone. Like pristine white linen blown from the emotional clothes line during a raging storm. Hmm, that was a terrible simile. How about ‘like a paper boat whirlpooling down life’s storm drain’. No? Okay, I’m out*.

Now, here I am, a creative writing student with no job, no money, no family. Now, I am essentially purposeless**.

I’m searching for the woman of my dreams (is there such a thing?) in the vain hope that with her I’ll regain that missing purpose. But that search has turned out to be more complicated than expected. It seems most women nowadays value men with jobs and money***.

So my question of purpose goes unanswered. I continue to ask everyday. And I wait (less than patiently) for an answer. 

Three years and counting…

Steve 🙂

* I’m not demeaning or making light of my situation. Okay, I am. But if you can’t learn to laugh about your trials and tribulations, you end up going crazy. Maybe I’m there already.

** Except for this blog, I guess. And yes, I do have some family who I love very much, but it sounds far more dramatic and the alliteration works better saying ‘no family’. Stop criticising my creative liberties! Oh, you’re not, that’s me. Sorry.

*** My apologies to any women who think I have summed them up as a cliche–I’m aware I’m generalising. It’s true though ;p

Perspective.

So, what are the rules of life?

I guess, when it comes down to brass tacks (that’s an old-fashioned saying, youngsters, cause, I’m, like, a bit old and stuff), there aren’t really any. Or are there? I’m sounding suspiciously ambiguous and much less wise than I originally thought I would, but bear with me…  

Now I know there are moral and ethical guidelines that we should (but often don’t) apply, and, for those of us who are religious, there are rules for that, too. There are rules established by our upbringing, familial environment, school (don’t run in the halls!), our friends (NOT your Facebook friends, the actual, real ones who don’t talk to you, and never seem to ”like” your Fb posts), our workplaces, the government (you will pay tax and then die, but not necessarily in that order), the local gym we may or may not attend (it feels good to be a member of a gym, even if you don’t use it: “Hey, I just joined the gym.” “You look fantastic.” “I haven’t gone yet.” “Well, it’s obviously working for you.”), the shopping mall (must…buy…more…DVDs of series I won’t have time to watch, but which will look good on my DVD shelf), the label on that opened jar of pickled gherkins you were planning to eat that have been in the fridge for at least three years—the list goes on. All overlayed on each other and forming some sort of reasonable and realistic basis for us to live by (or unreasonable and unrealistic basis, depending on which side of the fence you sit).

Maybe that’s a bit simplistic (but don’t call me simple!). But, then, I’m a simple guy (I said don’t call me simple! What are use-by dates, anyway? They’re suggestive, not obligatory. I wonder why I keep running to the toilet all the time? Can’t have been those gherkins, they were in the fridge…) 

Are there really rules for life, though? I mean, it’s easy to say there are lots of rules that we have to adhere to (paying tax, for instance, for those of us unfortunate enough to. There was a time when I did, but now that I’m a student layabout, I cruise through tax time. Much like I cruise through every other time). But who’s to say that everyone does (for instance, the guy who is arrested for tax evasion at the airport, after the airport fuzz see through his poor attempts to explain the great wads of cash in his overnight bag and his failure to pay tax for the last ten years). 

Those are just rules for playing the game of life (remember the Game of Life? I used to play it with my family as a kid. You almost always ended up as a millionaire. How does that work, exactly? How come I’m not a millionaire in real life? The Game of Life said it would be so….Damn you, Hasbro!!!!!). What are the rules for being alive, for living as good a life as you possibly can? For being counted as a good and valued human being, when all is said and done (rather than being counted as a census statistic, which is usually what we are. Unless you’re homeless–then you’re an estimate).

I suppose only you can know that. Only you can really know if you have done the right thing, led the right life and done right by yourself and others. Everyone has their own moral compass, established by a lifetime of learning and challenges. So, when you get to the end, and you’re knocking on that big white door, hopefully you’ll know if you’ve satisfied life’s rules, or not. And if not, the Big Guy might give you the thumbs down (if he’s feeling so inclined). Or not (that’s what Grace is all about, after all).

It’s all just a matter of perspective.

The Yoke. A Poem.

The yoke weighed heavily
I toiled the fields of my responsibilities
I saw others dance and play all day and night
And I was filled with envy
And I longed to cast it aside
So that I too could be free

And one day I did
I cast the yoke unto the dirt
And my load was lightened
And I joined the dancers in their revelry
But while I danced into the cloying darkness
By the empty light of a sullen moon
My fields grew fallow
And my crops failed
And the subtle pangs of hunger
Slowly turned to starvation

So I picked up the yoke again
It was much heavier now
With the added weight of my failings
On top of my responsibilities
And I toiled once more
Long through the day and deep into the night
Where before I had danced with reckless abandon
Underneath a cold and sullen moon
But my fields remained parched and fallow
And my stomach remained empty and my tongue dry
And as I wasted away, a mere shadow of the man I was
I realised my mistake

Because you cannot always pick up where you left off

And there is always
A price to be paid

The Question. A poem.

It’s a question
One we all ask ourselves
When no one else is there to ask
When we think God is no longer listening

When we feel low
When we feel empty
When we feel betrayed
When we are hurt and in pain

Why?
Why me?
Why is this happening?
Why are you doing this?

But while all questions deserve answers
Answers are not always forthcoming
Because life is not a Q and A session
Life is not a simple straight line
Life veers and sways like a fraying rope bridge over a bottomless chasm
Life gives and life takes away
But whether you believe in God or not
Life is what it is

You can answer the question
And you can make the decision

To move on

Strike Three – I’m out!

I’m taking a break from online dating. It’s just too depressing. Awkward, tiring and depressing. Big sigh.

Aside from all the women I meet not looking at all like their photos (does everyone put their Dorian Gray pictures online?), I’m just tired of the cycle: excitement at the thought of meeting someone, then the big letdown. I end up feeling like a flat tire that’s been beaten with a dead horse (at least I can still mix metaphors, very badly).

Maybe my conversational standards are too high. Maybe my expectations about lonely, 40-something women on the internet, are unreasonable. Sometimes the woman’s standards are too high, or they’re just downright crazy. My last phone conversation ended with me not being a ‘good fit’, because she received messages from the universe which she recorded in an exercise book, and I mentioned earlier I’d met a medium who ripped off sad people who missed their dead relatives. She felt I wasn’t open minded enough (probably a fair call on that one). Oh, and her ex-partner was still in her life, helping out with the garden. What?! Wow, saved by the bell that time.

So I’ve closed off my online profile and waved goodbye, possibly forever (although nothing lasts forever, as divorced acquaintances are fond of reminding me). That leaves the problem of how to to meet someone (refer here for my issues with that).

I guess I’ll just have to be patient and know that the big guy upstairs has it all worked out (we’ve talked about it a few times, but as you know, he’s not in the habit of answering immediately. Big universe to run, y’know).

I’m hoping I don’t run out of hope along the way.

But that’s another story.

Bored, or annoyed, by Steve’s incessantly despondent ramblings? Try some excessively depressing poetry instead – click here.

Dietary Disaster

I have loved pancakes for many years. Although I make no great claims regarding my epicurean knowledge or experiences, I like to think I’m a bit of a connoisseur when it comes to pancakes. I’ve had all types of strange and exotic mixes, with sides too varied and eccentric to list here. During my previous working career, I travelled a lot, and would eke out pancake specialists in every new city to sample the local gastronomic efforts. To ensure pancakes remained special, I made sure I limited the number of times per month I had them. But when I did have them, I tended to take the “all or nothing/Geronimo” approach, which would leave me a sweating, sugar-infused, hyperglycaemic beach ball by evening’s end.

Today, I met with a mate for lunch, and I ordered pancakes for the first time in several years. My financial status as a student precludes me from eating out that often (and when I do it’s generally takeout or bits of cardboard from the local bin). So, today was a treat.

They arrived, an ebulliently fluffy triple-stack, adorned with golden reams of banana and radiant and succulent strawberries, sickly-sweet ice cream and lashings of golden maple syrup. Without a second to lose, I buried myself headfirst in them. They were delightful – sweetly incriminating, melting in my mouth and exploding in my mind like a closeted sugar-gasm. For a moment, I was in pancake heaven, complete with angelic chorus and shining sunbeam illumination.

Within a few minutes, though, I found the whole experience turning sour. My stomach was churning, and I found the taste overly sweet and distasteful. I sombrely left half of the last pancake, claiming I was full.

What had happened? Why was I rejecting what had previously been my all-time favourite delicacy? The ingredients were fine. The pancakes were cooked to perfection – just the right consistency, depth and taste. The maple syrup was real and there was lots of it. The fruit was fresh. Everything was right. So, what was wrong?

It wasn’t until I was walking back to the car, that I realised. For the past few years I had been living an overly healthy life (just check out my training blog posts, for evidence of that). I had been steering clear of fatty and sugary foods and treating my body like a church (literally). I realised that during that time I’d gone off pancakes.

WHAT?! GONE OFF PANCAKES!!!! How could God be so cruel as to deny the one secret, sugary need that I had left in my life?! As my post-modern culinary world collapsed around me (yes, at that moment, I had forgotten that 50% of the world was starving and living in poverty), I fell to my knees with my hands raised to the heavens. “Father, why have you forsaken me?” I quoted (although in hindsight, the context was probably somewhat sacrilegious). Pedestrians gave wide berth to the kneeling, wild-eyed monk with the smeared syrup and light frosting of castor sugar adorning his t-shirt.

I felt sick for the rest of the day, and it served me right.

No, the food wasn’t off. I hadn’t picked up a bad case of streptococcus (although, that may have been preferable. Then I would still be able to eat pancakes). My body just wasn’t used to that concentration of fat and sugar in one hit. I had left the amazingly fun pancake zone and entered the bleary and subdued health zone (not a place I prefer to be, but probably better for me in the long run).

And so, humbled by the experience, I resigned myself to a carrot, vegies and some quiche for dinner. Perhaps one day I’ll have pancakes again. Maybe a little less, next time…

Hmmmmm…Pancakes…

Pedestrian. A poem.

I’m a pedestrian
Story of my life
Knocked down
By rushing cars
At the crossing
And crossroads

Standing, watching
Waiting for impact
Knowing how much
It will hurt
But not moving
Out of the way
I am a deer
Staring down
Interminable
Inevitability

I fall down
Blood on pavement
Get up, rise again
Slowly to my feet
Dust myself off
Wait for the next one

I’m afraid
To cross this road
I always stop
In the middle
The chicken
Who never gets
To the other side
Forgets why
He wanted to cross
In the first place

Time to trust
Faith, hope, love
To hold my hand
Like the baby
That I am
Develop some
Real road sense
And better metaphors

Good luck with that

 

Some of us run wildly through life, without care or concern for the consequences. Some of us tread cautiously, looking both ways, weighing the odds.

Some of us let our fears overcome us, and before we know it, we’re approaching middle age and still don’t know how to avoid life’s oncoming cars.

Waiting for a sign…

So, just what is my purpose in the grand scheme of things? I have to admit, most of the time I’m not sure. Does this make me a bad Christian? No. At the very least, it makes me human.

When I became a Christian two years ago, I truly believed God had a purpose for me, and that he would enlighten me as time went by. I had to be patient, wait for the seasons to change, endure, hope. I’ve done that every day. Some days my faith is stronger than others. But it never fails me. My commitment is rock steady.

I thought, perhaps I have a purpose in my music and writing – I compose songs devoted to my God, and I have found my true self in my stories, poems and other writings. But even with these, I’m still not sure if I have my purpose. Being a full time student, I haven’t got a real job, and while I don’t believe that a job means purpose by any means, my previous working existence strongly equated purpose with contributing in a meaningful way through work. I’ve been feeling guilty because I’m not working. But then, I feel guilty about a lot of things.

My pastor spoke at church yesterday about fear preventing us from walking more closely with God (the process of sanctification). And I do let fear control my life. I suffer from depression and anxiety and I have all sorts of fears controlling me. With regular therapy I’m learning to let them go. But not having a purpose, a real meaning to my life, is perhaps one of my greatest fears.

Am I crazy to think this? Probably not. I’m sure I’m not the only Christian to wonder about their role in the big picture.

I guess I’m waiting for a sign from the big guy upstairs. The problem is that I don’t know what the sign will be, or even if there will be one. And if there is one, will I recognise it (sounds familiar – I have the same problem with women).

I believe in faith, love, and ever-enduring hope. Maybe I’ll discover my purpose soon. I sincerely hope so.

That’s an Online Dating Fail! (Or, Strike One)

I joined a Christian online dating service a week or so back (get the lowdown on why, here). I was contacted by a lovely lady; we emailed back and forth, then texted, then spoke on the phone, and texted some more. We set up our first face-to-face meeting, to have coffee and see a movie together.

Then she went away for the weekend and went silent. I thought I had done something wrong and so I sent an apologetic text (I had no idea what I was apologising for), and she replied with a very nice “it’s not you it’s me” text, advising that she was going through a lot of heavy issues and didn’t want to bother me with them. See you round, and good luck with your ongoing search. I’m trusting she was telling the truth, but maybe I‘m just naïve. We never even got to meet.

 

(“Hah!” says Alpha Girl. “I knew you would bomb! Can I say ‘I told you so’?”

Beta Max shrugs. “Don’t worry, man. There’s plenty more fish in the online sea.”)

 

I’ve read a bit about online dating. I know that on apps like Tinder and sites like Match, some people play the field. I chose a Christian dating site because I’m Christian, and hopefully would avoid that sort of thing.

Being a nest of buzzing insecurities, I can’t help but wonder what went wrong. I was charming, funny, and honest. I’m a fit, late forties student with no job, a blog, and a dream that I can one day write for a living (okay, now I’m starting to see what’s not so appealing about me…). Maybe the age thing and the lack of employment made a difference. I’d like to think that my potential future dream girl would be honest enough to tell me if that were it.

 

(“I’ll tell you,” says Alpha Girl. “People don’t like you because you’re a boring, know-it-all, nerd. I don’t like you. You must have picked up on that by now.”

“Beta Max likes me,” I say.

“He’s an idiot, like you,” says Alpha Girl, smiling.

“Thanks a lot,” says Beta Max, slumping dejectedly.)

 

The Christian dating site I’ve joined is “slim pickings”, to say the least. There just doesn’t seem to be a lot of Christian women, in my age range, in my area. I don’t want to join multiple sites as that may make me no better than a serial Tinder dater (no offense to anyone using Tinder, I’m sure you’re a wonderful person who doesn’t fit the stereotypical serial hook up mould).

Maybe I’m worrying as little too much. It is, admittedly, my first failure (possibly, of many). I just have to get back in the saddle and keep trying.

I’ve been told by several of my previous partners that “I’m easy to love”. I don’t know what that means, but I assume it’s positive. I just need an opportunity to demonstrate it. And maybe then I’ll understand it as well.

 

(“So much for your blog not being about picking up women,” says Alpha Girl.

“I’m too depressed to argue with you,” I reply.

“Good. That’s the way it should be,” she says.)

 

I live in Australia, where we use English spelling. I’m proud of my spelling. It’s not American spelling. And that’s okay.

A Song a Day…

Today was Australia Day. And despite the inclement weather, most people were out celebrating (or protesting) and having fun (or protesting). I, however, stayed home and recorded music (which is my way of having fun).

I haven’t been able to record any music on account of my recording gear being stowed in several boxes (stored under numerous other boxes). Today I decided to drag my piecemeal studio out and set it up, so I could record a song and then put it all away.

Yes, it would be nice to leave my gear set up, however I have a tiny room and no spare space. Think of a broom closet, then halve it, and that’s my room. A bit like Harry Potter under the stairs, but without the stairs, and smaller.

It took me about two hours to unpack and set up (cables, cords and more cables). Once I had everything ready to go, I plugged in my guitar and noodled for an hour or so (as you do). Then it was time for lunch. I didn’t get anything started until well after 1:00pm.

I chose a song I wrote for church, that I’ve played to the congregation a few times recently. Why? I don’t know, it just took my fancy. I have about a hundred other tunes I could record, but I’ve decided I’m going to record Christian music for the next few months, until I have an album’s worth. Maybe I’ll release it.

Recording is a lot of work. Aside from the manual labouring to set up, there’s also the recording and multi-tracking of parts. I use a program called Samplitude that I’ve used for years. It’s not the latest thing, but it supports 24-bit digital recording. I also use a Yamaha USB Audio Interface to carry instrument signals to my laptop. I use Tannoy 60 watt nearfield monitors for mixing and mastering. Guitars and bass run through a Pod Line XT foot pedal unit I’ve had for years. For microphones, I use trusty Shure SM58s (I have a proper condenser mic but no space to set it up).

So, I smashed out a song called “Pray” and layed down some vocals. It sounds pretty good. I do tend to be a bit lazy with my recordings – it it’s okay, it’s good enough. Makes my tracks sound alternative, not so polished.

By 9:00pm I’m finished packing everything away again (why do they never fit in the boxes when you try to put them back? Grrrr…). I’m not sure when I’ll get the chance to record again; lots of commitments with study, reading, assignments and the like.

But it’s nice to know that I can. Even if it takes forever to get set up.

It’s been a long road back. But it’s a start.

The Music of Hope

(“Will you stop that racket,” cries Alpha Girl.

“Nah, turn it up, bro,” says Beta Max. He is quickly silenced by a sharp look from Alpha Girl.

I kick the door to my room shut and keep playing my Telecaster. The distorted notes flicker, whine, twist and turn, each fingering and bend, precise and emotion-filled. I am in heaven.)

 

I love my music.

I’ve been playing guitar for around 25 years, and not long ago I gave my original old Aria acoustic to a friend and updated to a Takemine. It sounds wonderful and I’ve written about twenty songs on it since I got it.

I play guitar every day. Most of the time I just noodle (jam with myself on chords and scales), but often that noodling will develop into a full-fledged song, so nothing goes to waste.

I originally had eight guitars, but after my breakup I got rid of everything bar an acoustic, my Fender Telecaster and a Jackson Bass. I figure, you only keep what you need; excess for the point of excess is wasteful. I also got rid of two guitar amps and kept one, my 100 watt Peavey Transtube twin-cone.

Sometimes I wonder why I used to hang on to all the gear I did. I guess I was a bit of a hoarder.

I did the same with my CD collection. I had around 2000 CDs. When I moved out I got rid of most of them (I had them on iTunes, anyway) and only kept the ones I felt I would listen to regularly in future – I kept less than a hundred. I also went through and deleted a fair few albums from my iTunes to free up hard drive space.

You may have guessed by now that I really love my music. I’ve been a muso for so long I don’t think I really thought of myself as anything else, even when my full time day job overtook the music side of things. Now I have time on my hands, and the music is at the forefront again. My recording gear and electronic drum kit are still in packing boxes, but eventually they will come out again, when I find my own place. Maybe sooner. I cut the recording gear back considerably when I moved out, as well.

 

(“Did you say you’re moving out?” says Alpha Girl, her grin as wide as can be.

“Nope,” I reply. She returns to grumpsville.)

 

There is a change in the air. I’ve been working my way through an emotionally draining season of ups and downs, highs and lows. But I think things are getting better. God gives me hope.

And hope, along with my music and my writing, is what keeps me going from day to day.

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