Monday, January 01, 2018

Goodbye 2017, Hello 2018

So what happened in 2017?

  1. I finally completed the first draft of my novel The Black Sky. It was a long process converting a frustratedly unfinished screenplay into a semi-readable book, and then having friends and family give lots of constructive feedback that has helped shape it into a much more digestible and entertaining read. More on that in a bit.
  2. Small Stories was self-published in May. Being a collection of short, personal stories I had written for this website, it was fairly easy to put together, but then I had the added bonus of working with DX Ferris and my mom (who is a damn fine artist, incase you didn’t know) to add illustrations. It turned out great – a small (no pun intended) project that I hope to expand upon in future years.
  3. After writing a bunch of short instrumental tunes to accompany The Black Sky, I recorded and released my first solo album, Molokai, in September on Reverbose Records, the old label that my friends and I had in the mid-’00s.
  4. Continued making a fun, entertaining and informative Dig Me Out Podcast with my co-host and longtime friend Jason Dziak. Over the years we cultivated a small but strong and loyal listenership, as well as discovered a great group of folks who indulge us by stopping by to chat. Insane that we’ve just wrapped season seven and it feels like we’re just hitting our stride.
  5. My now 5-year old daughter discovered her first real interest (ballet) and performed in her first recital. I had a proud father smile for weeks after.
  6. My wife continues to be the best thing that ever happened to me. We kept our one-date-a-month plan that busy adults have to do. Hope to expand on that in the coming year.
  7. Thanks to an assist from occasional Blue Apron deliveries, I’ve become a better cook and learned how to make vegetables that I actually enjoy eating. Now about that extra twenty pounds I’ve always got laying around…
  8. I started playing live music again, joining 90s Pearl Jam tribute band RVM on bass (and reconnecting with my former The Stepford Five bandmate Keith Jenkins). I’ve played one show with them so far, and it was a blast. Looking forward to more, as their a great group of guys who allow me to properly nerd out on Pearl Jam.
  9. On a very personal note, in the spring I had what some would call a “panic attack.” I wasn’t really sure what happened, but seeing a counselor after and since has helped me realize I’ve probably been dealing with some severe anxiety issues my entire life that I could never properly identify or verbalize. In retrospect, this has probably damaged some of my relationships and personal experiences, and I’m working on that going forward. It wasn’t easy to come to grips with the idea that I wasn’t completely mentally well, because mental health management has a stigma, and there are certainly people suffering with more difficult and debilitating issues than my circumstance, but I’m working on it, and will continue to do so.

All that said, here’s what’s going on in 2018:

  1. I will have two new albums of ambient/electronic/experimental instrumental music out this year. The first, Sanur, will be released in January, the second sometime during the summer. These will both be out on Reverbose, and my ambition is to release music by artists other than myself. I’ve already reached out to folks whose music I admire and enjoy and hope to work with them on releasing new music in this and coming years. I want to be a part of putting more art and creativity into the world after sitting on the sidelines for almost a decade after the initial demise of Reverbose and my band.
  2. I spent a good deal of 2017 researching, digging through personal and band archives, and compiling a history of the music I helped make with The Stepford Five. A personal passion project, I needed to put the final bow on the decade I spent making music with Jason, Keith and Mark, so in March, on the 20th anniversary of our first show, I will be publishing Are You Making A Sound? The History of The Stepford Five. It compiles our website news, gig, and studio diaries with hundreds of photos and observations not just about the band, but about the music scene we were apart of and the evolution of the internet as it relates to our time in the band. More news on that after the new year.
  3. In addition to a follow-up to Small Stories, currently creatively titled Even More Small Stories, I have two non-fiction books I hope to begin working on for release either in 2018 or 2019. The first is a collection of journal entries my mother kept during the onset of my grandfather’s dementia, along with art she made at the time using found objects and images in his house. It will be an emotionally challenging project, but an important one. The second is sitting down with my 94-year old great uncle Mike who was crew member of a World War II bomber that flew 30+ missions over Germany. What is remarkable is that he kept a journal of every bombing run they made, I believe his story is worth sharing with the world.
  4. The Black Sky will move forward one way or another. Both as a member of an indie band, and as an aspiring screenwriter, I know getting the attention of an agent/publishers has long odds, but based on the feedback I received this year, I’m willing to give it a go. If not, I’ll self-publish. Either way, it’s coming out some time in 2018.
  5. Dig Me Out will be entering into new territory as our Patreon patrons scooped up pretty much every available album review spot available. It’s a good problem to have, because for the first time since we started this thing seven years ago, we’re financially in the black going into 2018.
  6. More time with family, more time with friends. Better, healthier food. Less pounds. Now that I’ve recognized my issue with anxiety, it’s time to face it and aspire to be happier. Part of that means living in and for the moment (not, like, yolo) by not being distracted by electronics and superfluous stuff. That also means making more art, both on my own and with others, as well as supporting the art and creativity of others.

So that’s it, I’m sure I forgot stuff. 2017 was a revelation of sorts. 2018 continues the new direction. Never know what’s going to happen, might as well find out.