A Recovery Blog

This blog is about my continuing recovery from severe mental illness. I celebrate this recovery by continuing to write, by sharing my music and artwork and by exploring Buddhist ideas and concepts. I claim that the yin/yang symbol is representative of all of us because I have found that even in the midst of acute psychosis there is still sense, method and even a kind of balance. We are more resilient than we think. We can cross beyond the edge of the sane world and return to tell the tale. A deeper kind of balance takes hold when we get honest, when we reach out for help, when we tell our stories.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

My First CD

I got my portable studio last Tuesday. I managed to re-record many of my best songs from 1995 to 1998; thirty one songs--well, sort of, some of them are just song ideas. It comes to about 67 minutes and so I burnt them down to a CD. My first CD!! Guess what I'm calling it? Yin And Yang, of course! Which is my way of saying thanks to the powers that be that govern balance in our lives. I'm going to send it out to my friends this week. I gave one to my brother yesterday, but he may not have listened to it yet because I haven't heard from him. I've got the music on my iPod now, so I've been listening to it a lot. It sounds good to me on the iPod, but less good on my boom box. I couldn't get my CD player and stereo to work, so I don't know what it sounds like on a good system.

The music is bare bones: me singing, a guitar, either electric or acoustic and, off and on, some effects on my voice and guitar, sometimes some inexpensive percussion. Most of the recording were done on two tracks, but there are a few that I fill out on three or four tracks. I didn't fool around much with that, though I'd like to in the future. What I'd like is to spark the interest of a few musicians. That would be so cool to have someone play bass or lead guitar or drums or keyboard or vocal harmony or the whole deal. At least, I think it would be cool, well, only if we were all into the music. I don't know if I'm ready yet to be social, but the music might act as a bridge in that direction.

Personally, I think the music is good, which is a little surprising considering I was making up songs without knowing what I was doing. I still don't know, except intuitively I guess. The songs are not perfect, but they have merit even so. If anything, they might be a good starting point for something more complex, more subtle. But really, the essence, the heart of things is basic stuff, what makes it good is a kind of earnest commitment and a surrender to the creative force that is within all of us. I was able to do that at some points and record it. So, regardless of the response I get, I should sit tight with myself and say, hey, Good Job!

I think I should copyright my songs, you know, take myself and my work seriously. Now that I have an actual CD to hand out to people, I feel more serious about it all. It was so great to burn the master CD and then put it on my computer and then on my iPod. Now, I've got to continue working on new songs and reworking old songs so I can do another one of me a decade after my first psychotic break. The songs I've been writing these past three years have been much more about living with mental illness, which I think is a very important subject for me and all of us. So I'm challenged to reach out to people with my music. If I can strike a chord with people, maybe I can do some good. If not, it will still be worth doing and I might actually make friends with people I normally would have had no contact with--musicians and music lovers.

I posted some of my fliers and cards advertising my online support group in town, but not on the campuses. It took courage to just do that and I felt a bit vulnerable after I did it, but also good. No response yet online; I still have to push myself to ask for permission to post the cards on the campuses.

I have continued with my diet. Last week I lost three and a half pounds, but this week only half a pound, I think because I didn't exercise as much. I have to push myself to continue with the exercise on most days. I'm positive it helps with boosting my metabolism, so I can lose weight and with boosting my mood, so I can do some good work.
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