Sunday, October 15, 2006

Closing off a mini-sabbatical

I'm in the final day of a five-day "stop and smell the roses" break - a little tough because the roses don't bloom in October, but the most important part of the equation was "stop" anyway. I've taken three or four sick days in the last couple of months, and finally I diagnosed myself with the early to mid stages of burnout.

This was to be my time to do what I please and get re-oriented. It's been a fair-to-middlin' success - about a half-day of the five will have ended up being devoted to the day job after all. Can't seem to get away from that thing.

No surprise that pretty close to a full day was spent on my new podcast, "Uncle Warren's Attic." I love talking about, sharing - and making - music, and this is an outlet I think I've been needing to create for a long time. Even if nobody listens, it's therapeutic, and it's gratifying that some folks have not only listened but come back for more.

The "re-oriented" part included cleaning up the basement work area where I write and such. This will come as no shock to people who have seen the desk at my workplace: It was piled high with papers and junk. The articles I'd printed up off the Web to save for future reference filled four binders. The papers I sent through the shredder as no longer important filled two grocery bags. Those are just the papers - I still have to figure out what to do with the piles of books, CDs, wires and miscellaneous electronic stuff that I pulled off the desk and onto the easy chair and floor. But I have a mostly-clear desk - at least here at home - for the first time in a long while.

And I picked up my guitar and played - just like yesterday - for the first time in a longer while. The motivation was a song I want to share in the next "Attic." I plan either to play the recording I made of it in 1986, a few months after I wrote it, or a new recording (in progress) that will incorporate a fuller arrangement and a three-minute coda I composed over the ensuing 20 years. I still don't know which version will fly; it depends on how the next few nights work out. I'm a bit nervous in either case; putting forward a five- or eight-minute song for people to digest is asking a lot. I have a couple of friends encouraging me to put this one out there, though, and that helps.

The time off has served its purpose for the most part - I'm feeling a bit calmer, relaxed and "centered" than I did when I walked out of the office just before midnight Tuesday. The challenge will be to avoid damaging that calm first thing Monday morning.

Cross-posted to Green Bay Free Radical


ReidR said...

What an incredible 'attic'! This partial list shows how incredible your attic is...
- "Wait Until Dark" trailer
- "The Shadow" opener
- "Devil With a Blue Dress"
- Hurtado Brothers Royal Marimba Band!?
- Jean Shepherd's Rover TC ad

Randy Bachman's "Not to Return" was excellent. Where did you find this eclectic (and wonderful) collection of sounds, music, speech, advertising...

By compiling these gems of 20th century media you reveal the foundations of 21st century life! Thank you.

Kirsten said...

I would like to hear both. A couple of weeks ago I heard an episode of Mixed Bag Radio with Pete Fornatale during which he had his guest play the original version of a particular song as it was immediately after he wrote it, and then he followed that up with the final product as recorded. It was really interesting to hear the two versions back to back.