In Which I Am Apparently Out Of My Wee Little Mind

So, it’s February, and I have huge amounts of work to do. School has started, symphony rehearsals start up again soon, I’ve got a paper to finish re-writing for submission to a conference, I’ve got a presentation to put together, and I’ve got a dozen projects of all sizes lying around that need my attention.

Obviously, this means I need a new challenge.

I have the attention span of a gnat on meth.

February, as you may or may not know (I didn’t know, until last week, when Bob Boilen’s nice little story on NPR told me so) is apparently the Month For Writing A Whole Album. There are a few different organizations doing this — check out February Album Writing Month and The RPM Challenge. The FAWM challenge is to write and record 14 songs in February; The RPM Challenge is to write and record 10 songs or 35 minutes of new music. I went ahead and challenged Josh to do it, and I’m sure he can (and will) turn out something awesome.

Then it occurred to me: every time I perform, someone asks if I have a CD (I don’t). Of course, while it is possible (nay, even likely) that they are asking just to be sure they can warn people not to buy it, they just might want a CD of my stuff! Shocking, honestly. What if…

What if I try this challenge? At least then, I can have an album of songs, even if they (and the recording quality) mostly suck. It could be fun! It could force me to get off my ass and actually do some writing!



…aaand then I got hit by reality, square in the kisser. This is a lot of work, and I don’t want to follow ALL of the rules (RPM and FAWM prefer unreleased songs written and recorded in February only). I’m not so good with other people’s rules sometimes. So — What if I take up most of the challenge?

Here’s what I’m going to try: I’m not going to sign up with FAWM or RPM, so I can fudge the rules a little and not feel the slightest bit guilty about it. I will write and record as many new songs as I can — but I am also going to include at least one or two already-recorded tunes (I may re-arrange and re-record them so the whole album has a consistent sound).

This means I probably won’t be doing many covers in February, but I AM going to rock some new stuff!

Here are the first steps: one entirely new song, finished and recorded on February 1 using the shiny new dulcimer my brother gave me for my birthday, and a set of older songs that I’ve re-recorded, completed, or rearranged (except “Front Row Seat,” an older song of mine that I just happen to like, damn it!). Now to get cracking on the rest! I’ve got one or two more recently written tunes that I want to re-record, and then I can write shiny new things!


About L. M. Bernhardt

For a good long while (15 years or so), I taught philosophy at a little private university in northwest IA, and occasionally branched out into playing music, dabbling in photography, experimenting with food, and writing nonsense on my blog. The philosophy teaching part ended in 2017 (program elimination via prioritization), but never fear! I've just finished my MLIS at San Jose State University, and I'm currently on the market looking for new adventures in either philosophy or LIS. For now, I labor at a fairly interesting administrative job in order to support my dogs in the lavish manner to which they've become accustomed.
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