Lifetime of Learning

We like to be surprised. If you think of the last YouTube video you watched or online platform you used outside of WordPress (or perhaps within it) the best part was without question when you became enraptured by something.

Why is that?

Why watch a YouTube video of a cat missing a jump and falling out of shot like a cartoon.

I still get caught by those cats, or Simon’s cat.

There was the “double bounce” videos where both kids and cats got shot into the air, or even off camera by a person or preferably two in succession falling on the same mattress.

Someone did this to me on a trampoline when I was a kid. I shot into the air and shrieked.

In all of these cases, maybe even now, we lose ourselves in the thrall of it. In the subject of learning sure, bouncing a cat isn’t exactly a study of the northern Wyoming’s biodiversity but it is still a study nevertheless.

Over the past year I have been more musically focused which is the reason for less of these as I have been over there (pointing to my keyboard, trust me) more than typing these on my phone. But I’ve been enjoying the study of that and I’ve noticed my own growth over the past year. I’m almost 45. Like in two days. I know, it’s scary lol!

But I’ve been making music “seriously” since about the age of 20 or so. (Got my first bass guitar quite late). Anyways I can promise that I am still absolutely enthralled by learning and there is lots to tuck into. My playlist just went to Teru by Wayne Shorter off of his album Adam’s Apple which seems appropriate as listening to that level of musicianship speaks to how much there is still to explore.

Even if it’s what you watch of YouTube. Now some documentaries on there are pretty bland (if there is lots of animations and ‘exciting’ noises it’s probably less of a heavily academic work) but there is some really good ones too. Even though his stuff is a bit of a British cliche by now I would suggest anything hosted by Tony Robinson who has gone from actor to amateur archeologist with programs like Time Team and Walking Through History.

Here’s episode one as a sample.

There’s also Hoopla Audio which is an amazing app you can connect to your local library and can get you music, audio and even plays. For a writing project I’m listening to stuff on Shakespeare including acted plays that are on there.

There’s NPR of course and the Ted Talk series, How I Build This and a variety of other programs on there. I have to mention Car Talk as that has become a early week tradition for me at work laughing along with the episodes by Tom and Ray while I learn about cars. Or at least feel like I’m learning about cars.

And then of course there’s the public library.

Maybe this all starts to get you as you get older but I never was that jazzed about library stuff as a kid. I remember me and my older sister being part of a library kids club back then and she did way better at it than me.

Anyways later later on I wanted to write my first real book based on Lord of the Rings and so I did all this research on everything I could, trying to step up to Tolkien’s level (trying being the key word) and even though, no, I failed to create any languages I really had fun learning about things like archery (which I also did physically-awesome!) and some botany subjects and other things. I remember getting really excited about anything I could tie in like the history of wine. See my Georgia blog for more about this.

So, how to wrap this up! I’d say browse. Browse one of these platforms or the library for something you’d like to know. Make some tea and settle in. No this won’t be something to entertain friends with straight away. Take a quiet moment to settle into this kind of journey.

The world is out there.

Explore!

🙂

Tom

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The Things You Said – cover of Depeche Mode

Little music Monday idea I just went with. Lots of very special memories of this song.  If you want to hear more and are near Victoria, I’m playing Wednesday, March 6th at Gorge-ous Coffee 8pm so come along, say hi and grab a new copy of my CD The Goldblacks!

Songwriter’s journey

In the early days the very idea of making a melody that went with guitar chords seemed like something only people could do if they were raised by Andrew Lloyd Webber and they were descendent of Jean Sibelius.

So my first attempts were only after I had seen other people playing their songs as a bassist…a long time after that. I had also already played lots of other songs on my mom’s old classical guitar. Eventually my first attempts started. And they never used much more than four chords.

This song I released today was actually one of those. I was at a friend’s place and couldn’t sleep even though she and her baby daughter were. The guitar was there and I just started doing this “E minor” and “A minor” riff back and forth.

I was making music with a mod player called Scream Tracker which played sampled sounds in order and I tried putting the song there, ending up on my first 3 song demo CD.

Now twenty years later and hundreds of songs later I decided to try it out. That’s really my favorite thing. Give a song a real try and see the reaction.

My new album “The Goldblacks” was made up of mostly media favorites.

But yeah, if you have wanted to write just have pen, paper, instrument and maybe something to eventually record your ideas (way easier today with what devices can now do). Social media is a fun way to share your ideas and from the start you can grow your ideas by learning from the masters and just experimenting. I still do. Each one is me trying things out. It’s exciting, which you get swept up in.

Anyways here is my lastest as of literally this morning, Tattered Sails based on how my friend and I had gone through so much in our recent years.

Enjoy!

And if you want to write then find time you know you will be productive and go to it. As I said previously…just show up to the page. And again. You will be surprised!

☺️

Cheers,

Tom

☺️

Belief – The Great Gift

This is a simple little thought I have wanted to post for quite some time. Even though it’s almost obvious, the idea of having someone who believes in you can’t be overstated.

There’s also the great bonus to this. This is something we can all get involved in.

Michael Jordan didn’t make his varsity basketball team. But he had a coach who told him to meet him every morning and they’d work on it…and that’s it. That’s all it took. Having someone who did not dismiss him but gave his dreams a place set in motion the beginnings of a career of absolute mastery.

I write lots about creativity and one of my main themes is knocking back against anyone who told you that you couldn’t do something. It’s all nonsense. I have people now who say I’m talented at what I do and how lucky that is. Twenty years back pretty much nobody said that.

I’m the same guy.

The difference was lots of practice, push and a few people who helped me believe that I was moving forward. It wasn’t massive stuff. It wasn’t gushing but it was a little belief that “don’t give this up” and that’s huge.

To me any creativity is just beautiful, contrasting the harsher sides of life and making something from nothing. As Sting said “We’re not building cathedrals, we’re building sheds.”

And like the photo, or Michael’s coach, sure, if you can directly help someone that’s amazing. But never underestimate the power that positivity towards someone’s first steps can have.

And of course, you can’t miss the global metaphors that can come from this outside the world of violin bows, watercolors and ink. In work, in life and in relationships having someone who makes you feel like you’re doing it right is amazing.

How we treat each other ripples out and ripples back.

We are a communal creatures, even ones off in there own world, working on that thing that some told them they should keep doing.

Cheers,

Tom

🙂

The Potential for Magic

One of the biggest mistakes ever has certainly got to do with dreams.

We tell people to follow their dreams but that is it, which inevitably has them either fail and think not for me or they actually move forward. The second case is sadly more rare.

But the point here is how are you learning something?

To me the classic has got to be when I was in scouts as a kid. We had to learn knots, as in all the different kind of ways of tying two ropes together (or one in the examples) like the bowline, reef knot and so on. It’s been a while since this all happened. I will also admit it is not super magical but bear with me.

I couldn’t do it at all. I could tie my shoes but even then only just barely. I remembered left over right, right over left, but that’s it. (Or was it the other way around? Anyways)

Years later I wanted to help fix up my dad’s boat and have everything perfect and for some reason I decided to learn the same knots by myself. In one hour I could flip through the same knots, the exact same ones, over and over.

What happened? Well, it’s the same as with music. I did take guitar lessons once as a kid and got bored. Years later I’m studying bass, then guitar, then keyboard and I have an album coming out.

What happened was the way I learned. The person is the same. The material is the same. The difficulty is the same. But now as a Adhd person who deep dives into subjects, my self teaching makes it actually work.

That’s the magic here. It isn’t limited to guitars and reef knots. Our approach to anything including how people learn can be opened up. You can become literally what ever you imagine.

If you have the dream you have what’s in you to succeed.

Cheers,

Tom