I'm a freelance writer by day and a working jazz musician by night, and often I am able to combine my two lines of work. This blog is for posting gigs & various rants about music and life in general.

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Location: Central Illinois, United States
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Friday, May 28, 2004

Things have been really busy lately so I haven't had a chance to post much. That's ok...there haven't been any overly exciting developments around here, anyway.

Played last night at Panache and had a smaller but appreciative crowd. I was happy to drive to and from Peoria on a near-full tank of gas. Last time I had to fill up on the way home and it cost a whopping $38. Ridiculous...I don't know what the deal is with gas prices...but I'm not hearing anyone really question this obscene level of financial commitment for vehicular freedom. I'd take public transportation but it's pretty piss-poor around here...and besides, what choice do those of us who travel as part of our working livelihood have but to succumb to the oil fiends and pay the price they demand? And I'm not even driving an SUV, which I understand costs much more than 40 bucks to fill. I'm driving a Nissan (which is having problems right now and sucks down gas as a result) and a mini-van right now. I've pretty much quite driving around town unless I absolutely have to. Fortunately, we've got an excellent bike trail system that winds through a good part of town, particularly the parts we frequent. (libraries, post office, restaurants, bank, coffee shops, etc)

Enough complaining. It's Friday, it's a holiday weekend, and I've got stuff to do. I'm even gonna ignore this stupid headache that's threatening to take over my day and forage ahead with a couple of projects I've been working on. One of which I should mention...I'm getting ready to launch an Ezine called WriteTips (issue date: June 1). It's free and anyone who is interested can sign up to receive it on my website.

It'll contain tips for those who have to write as part of their jobs, volunteer positions, etc. I'm excited about this...it's a big step in my marketing plan for my writing biz.

Have a great weekend, y'all, if I don't check in again before it's over.

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Monday, May 17, 2004

I feel better.

Got a lot done today. Whereas last week my time was monopolized by household and yard chores (some were admittedly frivolous, but others were indeed time-sensitive) today I managed to cross off everything on my to-do list. Today's to-do list, anyway. Tomorrow will be another story!

I don't really have much to share today, since I made myself sit at my desk all day and crank out copy, do research, catch up on email, etc. So I'll spare any readers I may have the dull details. Is there no happy medium, where I can be productive and entertaining at the same time? Must I be a slacker to provide glorious insight to my own little world?

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Saturday, May 15, 2004

I've often wondered if there is any possible way to combine music and writing and find a way to make a decent wage in the process. I don't mean doing what I'm doing now, which is writing (about anything) and performing (primarily jazz) and balancing essentially two separate careers. I mean writing about jazz, like, most of the time. And getting paid to do it. (Getting paid well would be a plus.)

A friend of mine and I tossed the idea around about putting together a book discussing the jazz history in Peoria. He's a photographer and would handle obtaining old pics and taking new ones while I would interview locals about the scene "back in the day" and cover the writing duties. All we've done, however, is talk about this. And there wouldn't exactly be a huge audience for this sort of localized project. So, while it would be fun (and who knows, maybe it'll even happen one day) it isn't exactly pension material.

But I did have a meeting yesterday with a fellow musician who's looking to put together a PR kit for a couple of groups he leads/plays in. Although the job would involve more than just writing--it's basically a project management situation, coordinating photo shoots and graphic design work--I think it could be a fun project and possibly even one that could open up doors in the future. I'd get to talk to musicians to learn about their bands and write biographies, brochures, and other informational pieces for the media/booking personnel. I'd even get to do some basic design work, which--while I don't have a ton of formal training in this area--I enjoy doing and am fairly decent at it. So, this should be a great learning experience. If there's work to be had in this area for a freelancer I just may eventually be able to specialize. But who knows. I like diversity, too. I enjoy learning about new subjects as I research, things I never would have thought to read up on on my own.

I've no gigs tonight and Kevin's playing out of town, so I think I'll use the down time to catch up on a few things. If I were 21 and home alone on a Saturday night I'd think I were a big loser, but anymore I'm thankful for the time lie low once and again. Does this mean I'm getting old???

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Friday, May 14, 2004

Ahhh, Friday. It's been a busy week, but once tomorrow hits things will slow down a little and we can all relax. TGIF!!

It's been a good week for gigs. Two of them were actually in town! (This is rare...most times I'm driving to Peoria for work.) The first was on Wednesday night at Fat Jack's, a club downtown. The owner has been booking jazz groups on Wednesdays since February, trying to establish an early crowd--and preferably a jazz crowd. So far, it seems to be a struggle. I hate to sound pessimistic but I'm truly beginning to see a very narrow window of opportunity in this town for jazz outlets. There are a few gigs here and there, but aside from a few local folks that enjoy the music and a handful of other musicians, there just don't seem to be many people who like what we're doing. It's not difficult to listen to at all...but then again, it isn't loud and obnoxious like the stuff most places blare from their sound systems, either. *sigh* I guess we're just old school, even though most of us aren't yet "old." Born to the wrong generation, I think.

On the other hand, Kevin and I played a duo gig yesterday afternoon for the Rotary Club. We played one tune while the members were getting their lunch and two more at the end of the program. Several people came up afterwards and said they liked our music selection (we just played a few standards), which was nice. And later that night we played at Panache and had an appreciative audience. But then again, we usually do at Panache. It's an unusual place (in a good way). Coffee house settings usually go over much better than bars, anyway, if you're playing jazz.

I could analyze this forever but I don't want to sound grumpy so I'll quit. Maybe it's because of the rain that I'm feeling cynical today.

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Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Ohmigod...I'm becoming a blog addict. Three posts in one day. One each for morning, noon, and night. Maybe it's just because this is new for me? Procrastination seems to be the cause, blogging the remedy. Not that a cause requires a remedy...that doesn't even make sense. But...you know. Who's reading this, anyway? Probably no one but me, so it's ok.

Three posts in one day and I still don't really have anything to say. Did a lot today. Edited an assignment, taught a sax lesson, went to a picnic, dropped by some friends' gig, and the kicker...missed tonight's Gilmore Girls episode! I've been a GG fan since season 2. Love the show and its snappy dialogue and great characters. I set the VCR to record it and something happened and it didn't record squat. Anyone out there get it on tape? Care to loan it to me? Puh-leeze??

I need to get off the computer and read a book or something. Tomorrow I'll reek of discipline and dedication. Have a gig tomorrow night with the Swing Daddies, so I can talk about that. I'm signing off now...g'night.

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It's later and I'm much more awake now, thanks very much. I resisted the urge to play--uh, work--in the yard and I even managed to get some real work done. So I'm feeling pretty good right now.

Got word from my friend Derek yesterday (hi D--if you're reading this since I gave you the link!) that he's (1) getting married and (2) getting a new job. You go, guy! We haven't seen each other much in the past--geez what is it now--11 years, but we were great pals in high school. Did all the crazy, stupid stuff that teenagers do. We were band dorks and cherished the moments we spent annoying our band director in rehearsals, concerts, band camps, basketball games, trips to Disneyland...the list goes on. Derek drove the coolest eggshell-blue Fairlane ('66 if I remember correctly) and I bummed rides because I was too broke to buy a car. Hey D, whatever happened to that car? (I need to figure out how to let people make comments on these postings.)Anyway, congrats again, man!

I tried to post a pic on the blog today, but it didn't show up. Hmmm. I'll figure it out eventually, and I need to add some links, too.

Break's over. Back to work. Ciao....

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Ugh. 6:30 am. Very early. Ummmgh. Coffee? Not yet. Very soon. Good coffee? Probably not. Free coffee is rarely good coffee. Even if the taste is up to par, it's likely that the staff will put out only enough caffinated stuff for 2 whole cups. The rest will be decaf, which won't do a damn thing to help me function. Grumpffurghm.

That's what I get for joining a networking group that meets at 7:00 am every Tuesday. It's a great group; don't get me wrong. But 7:00 is a bit early. And I was up until midnight watching 2 more episodes of Sex & the City last night. Don't have HBO, so hubby and I are catching up on the past 6 years of Sex. Uh, the series, that is.

See, I really am tired. And I'm late. And my hair is still wet. And my eyes aren't yet open, which will make it difficult (and dangerous) to drive to the meeting. Ummgh.

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Monday, May 10, 2004

I'm sneaking in a post here in between work I should be doing, phone calls I really need to be making, and in impending trip to Menard's with my husband. We're renovating our yard this summer. Moved in last year about this time and aside from planting a few perennials that didn't seem to winter very well, we didn't do anything to add a personal touch to the exterior. This year, however, I've got big plans. Already killed the dandelion infestation but now the grass needs to grow. And I need tomato plants (guess it's safe to plant since the temps have been in the 80s the past several days) and topsoil and a new rake, because the head keeps falling off the one we have. And a number of other things, many of which I'll get to the store, see the prices, and postpone purchasing until absolutely necessary. I'm quickly learning about the joys of homeownership.

And off I go. To the store and then...I promise...back to work. Talk 'atch later.

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Saturday, May 08, 2004

My first blog post. Wow. I can't help wonder, though, will anyone actually read this? I suppose it doesn't matter. I'll write for me. It'll be a break from my professional writing, which I have to ensure is devoid of typos, misspellings, and meaningless phrases. Here, I can post all the meaningless phrases I want. Whoo-hoo!

All rightie, then. I'm off to see how this blog posting thing works. Stay tuned for other rants and ramblings. Complete with meaningless phrases.