What Are You Going to Do When You Grow Up?

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(photo by James Skinner)

When I was a child, I had a wide variety of interests. It didn’t seem weird at all to be simultaneously athletic, outdoorsy, artsy and scientific. I had it all. I had no reason to think one was better than the other.

Then the question “What are you going to DO when you grow up?” was posed. And as time passed, that question became more and more pressing.

I knew I was a good athlete but I probably wasn’t going to “turn pro”. I knew I was a decent singer and guitar player, but I probably wasn’t going to “make it big”. I knew I could paint pretty well, but I wasn’t going to “be an artist”.

So that left science. It was a “respectable” profession. I started in computer science, but couldn’t see myself being in front of a computer all day, so I thought I would meld my interest in athletics with science and I went on to complete a Masters degree in exercise science (yup, I’m over-educated).

I went on to teach at a highly respected university, but I was miserable. I was writing and playing music on the side but I dreaded going to work every single day, to the point where I would often drive past my office and keep driving until I had the courage to face the day.

Finally, I left. It’s hard to believe, but it has been almost 15 years since I left that life behind.

I still haven’t “made it big”. In fact, there have only been a few short stints where I have been able to support myself fully with music. There have always been other sources of income.

But there is absolutely no doubt in my mind, heart and soul that this is my profession. It is what I profess to do. It is my soul’s contribution to the world, for better or worse. It is what I do now that I have grown up.

I Suck at Social Media

I suck at social media. I really do.

I have somewhat of an excuse over the past 8 month because I’ve been on satellite internet that is roughly equivalent to the dialup of the late 90s and early 2000s. But when I look at people like my #1 idol, Steve Poltz, I know I fall very short of what a modern artist should be.

He posts something pretty much every day, even about going to the toilet. And it’s stuff that helps him connect with his listeners and shows him as a cool human bean.

I keep saying I’m going to keep my cell phone in my pocket and take more pictures. But I have to admit, sometimes I’m just too busy living to take pictures. I always promise myself to try harder, but it’s difficult for me to get in that habit.

I went on a casual date with a woman recently on a beautiful Dominican Republic countryside. She spent so much time either taking selfies or asking me to be her photographer that I began to wonder if she was actually enjoying the place. It’s like she lived inside her phone.

I know there’s a balance and I know I will find it, but for now I hope that you appreciate my occasional posts. Here’s a couple of photos form that Dominican excursion, so that maybe I can suck a little less at social media. 🙂

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Plugging Away

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Like any job where you are isolated, there comes a point in the contract where it becomes really hard work. Staying motivated is a real challenge. But I only need to remind myself of how fortunate I am to be playing music in paradise! When I am playing Take It Easy for the millionth time, when my back hurts, when my voice is shot and my throat is sore, I remember there are so many worse things I could be doing. And I remember that this is a stepping stone to making a living playing my own songs.

Thank you to everyone who supports not only live music, but ORIGINAL live music!

Writing, writing, writing

img_20161014_155807Hey y’all,

So I’ve been super busy writing new tunes down here in the Gulf/Caribbean. The beautiful weather and the homesickness have certainly affected my writing, and I can’t wait to share some of these new songs with you. This will be happening soon, I promise, as I am just waiting for the Amazon mail gods to deliver a camera to me 🙂

I set myself the goal to write 30 songs during the 5 months I’m here. I’m about a third of the way to that goal and working hard every day.

Keep an eye on all the usual channels and keep on truckin’

Mike

Showing Up and Doing the “Push-Ups”

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Jack Canfield has this saying: “Nobody can do your push-ups for you.” There are just some things we need to do for ourselves even when we don’t feel like it. Sometimes we just need to slog it out even if it seems like too much effort or we don’t seem to be making progress.

Lately I made a commitment to write every single day even if I didn’t feel inspired. At first I felt really blocked, but I showed up and did my “push-ups”.

One thing I did, in case I didn’t feel inspired to write anything brand new was to assemble all my partially finished songs so I could pick away at them.

To my astonishment, I had almost 30 unfinished songs!

For almost two weeks, I showed up every single day, even if just for ten minutes. And still nothing to show for it.

Then yesterday, I had a day with no commitments and sat down with my guitar. I struggled for a while. I took my notebook with me to lunch and pored over lyrics. Back to my room and my guitar. Several hours later, eureka, I had a song finished (looking back, my first in almost a year I believe)

At point, it was about 6 pm and I thought, wouldn’t it be great if I could finish one more song tonight? I was on that indescribable high that you get after completing something that has been blocked.

Well, to make a long story short, I finished THREE more songs.

The “push-ups” I had done for two weeks paid off all at once! Working through frustration sometimes leads to leaps and bounds.

A Little “Down Time”

It’s so great to be home in Nova Scotia with a bit of “down time”. I use that term loosely because there is so much to do and so many people to see. But I am very thankful for this vacation before I head back out on the sea.

Starting August 12 I will be playing on Carnival Splendor, a bigger ship than the last with more ports throughout the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. The adventure continues!

Until then however, you can catch me at Paddy’s Pub in Wolfville July 23 and August 1, and at the Windsor waterfront August 5.

Have a great summer!

Living the Dream…

I haven’t posted for a while, which is not that unusual. But this time, I have a good excuse in that I am limited in my internet access because I am usually in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico. Here is a picture of my “office” docked off Grand Cayman. Playing music 6 days a week and living the dream!

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