Monday, January 31, 2011

Time to write

I've been working 7 days a week for the past couple of weeks, sometimes until 10 pm or it's been hard to write anything as of late.  Tonight, however, I find myself with the night off and can think of nothing better I would like to do than blog about recent happenings. 

I really like to write.  Like, a lot.  It is a skill that comes in mighty handy when trying to woo a potential employer into seeing all of the greatness that is ME :)  I work in a business where networking is vital.  Who doesn't, really?  I mean, I can't think of any work trade where networking doesn't create positive results.  In my contact with directors, artistic administrators, etc, it is pretty hard to relay the point that I'm dying to be hired without coming off as desperate.  I mean, we need to be wanted, right?  But who wants a desperate brown-noser?  I sure don't.  

So in the countless emails I write, day in and day out, it is important to use the writing skills I have secured over the years.  A special shout-out is necessary here to an insanely talented group of English teachers and professors I have had along the way.  Vicki, Sandy, Pete, and Jolly have meant more to my educational years than you could possibly imagine.  (Yes I'm on a first-name basis with my high school English teachers because we are tight like that.)  I still keep in touch with a small handful of teachers who made a difference in my high school career, and for that I am thankful.  Why, just over Thanksgiving holiday, I had a lovely dinner with one of those former teachers.  Always supportive.  Always happy to see where life is taking me these days.  THANK YOU.  

Anyway, if I learned one thing from them, I learned this in my writing: grammar is IMPORTANT.  I had a professor (who shall remain nameless) write a recommendation for me.  He/she (seriously I'm not giving any hints to who this person is) gave me several copies so I could use them as-needed.  Of course [with permission] I opened one and read it.  The grammar was horrifying.  How can I submit a recommendation where some sentences don't even end with a PERIOD??  It's embarrassing.  Or at least it should be.  And misspelled words?  How does that even exist these days?  I mean, even my blackberry has spell-check...

I am quite happy to have developed what is, in my humble opinion, an eloquent sense of writing.  I think it helps these people who read my emails/cover letters know that I am both sensible and engaging.  And OF COURSE that translates to the stage!  Ha!  I'm an exhibitionist for crying out loud!  I don't like to present a product that is sub-par, so I scrutinize until my brain hurts.  And the moral of the story is: it pays off.  I've always received positive feedback from letters or emails I've written, even if the subject matter is, shall we say, dangerous?  Ballsy?  Courageous.  That's it.  I mean, ask and ye shall receive, right?  What's the worst that can happen if I ask someone to hire me?  They may say "no."  And at that point, I'm no worse off than if I had never asked in the first place.  Say "thank you for your time and consideration" and request to be kept in mind for future employment opportunities.  Fin.  

So tip of the day, kids, is this: love your teachers.  (Or at least the good ones)

In other news, I am happier at this moment than I have ever been in my entire life.  I'm recently coming off of a couple months of being sick...or really, being un-well.  Tired.  Burnt out, really.  November and December taught me a lot in terms of dealing with this career when I'm not feeling my best.  Unfortunately, I had a string of pretty unsuccessful auditions.  [sh]It happens.  Singing ill, however, is rarely a good idea.  No one I know or ever will know can be perfectly healthy and at his best at all times.  It's impossible.  This was simply a case of bad timing.  

Or was it?  I am actually really thankful for the experience of the "terrible auditions." And, more importantly, I am thankful for everything going for me at this exact moment.  I'm feeling healthier than I have in years.   I'm working out 6 days a week (so long, holiday weight!), eating healthy, and singing better than I have ever sung.  What I have rediscovered in myself since December is my love for what I do.  I'm sorry to say that I lost that [a bit] toward the end of the year; but I am happy to report that my love for what I do has returned in bounty.  

God, I'm a lucky guy.  

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I fell in the snow.

In my never-ending attempt to add a little humor to life, I would like to begin this blog post with a [true] story:

Last week it snowed in Boston.  And snowed, and snowed, and SNOWED.  We had quite a mild winter last year, which was my first in Beantown, so I have not yet had the pleasure of the heavy snow experience.   I know my brother may scoff at this, but we got somewhere around 15 to 18 inches, I believe (he lives in Minnesota).  Anyway, when this much snow falls, the immediate course of action is to start shoveling.  As a result, the sidewalks become walled in by feet of snow on either side.  In addition, a bush or tree will  occasionally become so heavy with snow that will fall over, creating an obstacle on a sidewalk.  And this is where my story begins...

I was walking home from rehearsal, and I was on the phone (a shout out to all good sons who call their mom).  I was walking along the sidewalk when I came upon said bush blocking my path.  Of course, the daredevil I am, I figured I would simply climb the 3-foot wall of snow to my right to go around the tree.  As I started to climb, my foot sank into the snow, and I went down.  In a valiant effort to not drop my brand new Blackberry Torch in the snow, I made a snap decision to let my body take the brunt of the fall, and I rolled down that snow like a fat kid stuck in a tire on a steep hill.  Imagine, if you will, the younger brother from A Christmas Story falling down in the snow.  Yep, that was me.

But I didn't drop my phone.  Yes, my clothes were covered in dirty snow (you know, the gross kind that you end up with a day or two after the beautiful white stuff).  But I didn't drop the phone.  AND I don't think Mom had any idea it even happened :)

As an ardent fan of videos of people falling, I only wish there was a camera on when I took the plunge.  It would have been epic.


I feel very fortunate that I am able to laugh at myself.  I know I can say stupid things.  I know I don't always know what I'm talking about, despite any attempt at fooling someone that I do.  But I also know that what I have to say can be worthwhile, and I am thankful for the confidence that has been given to me to LAUGH.

I've come across a lot of people in my [short] life, and it is always curious to me when I meet a "stick in the mud."  How can we go through this journey in life without laughing at ourselves from time to time?  It makes life, as the Irish would say, GRAND.

And finally, I would like to end this post with a bit of financial advice.  After all, my blog is somewhat designed around my self-made art of frugality...

Don't put dollar bills in your mouth.  You don't know where they've been.  

Happy snow hiking, friends :)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

And so it begins...

Well friends and followers, after reading so many of my friends' [pretty terrific] blogs, I have decided to venture into the world of blogging.  Strangely enough, however, it was a blog I read of a complete stranger which inspired me to begin writing myself.  I read a blog of a father who took his nine-year old daughter to the Harry Potter World in Florida, and it was simply touching.  He spoke of the magic of a stranger's kindness to his child, and it made me thankful that I was able to have a look on what would typically have been a more private, intimate moment that made him look at the world differently.  So here I go.

This is not a singer's blog...even though I am a singer.

This is not an educational blog...even though I am educated.

This is not a political blog...even though, well you get the point.

This is a liver's blog.

Wait.  That sounds as if I have a body part struggling to get its point of view across to the world.  Dang.  It sounded so much more profound in my head.

Correction: this is a blog of someone who is in love with living.

In 2010, I lived, studied, sang, worked and/or traveled in Boston, MA, New York, NY, Atlanta, GA, St. Louis, MO, Tanglewood, MA, Dallas, TX, and Wexford, Ireland.  There is a slight possibility I am missing one or two, but you get the gist.  I love to travel.  I have to love to travel in order to do what I do.  I am a professional singer [more or less], and this requires I be available to sing in many different places.  And I love what I do.  In my [extremely limited] career so far, I have met some amazing people, seen some incredible sights, and shared some awesome memories with some wonderful folks.  And I am thankful for that.

So why the title?  Frugal Rock: The Life of a Stingy Traveler.

In trying to think of a name for this blog, I almost tried "sorry, but this blog name is not available."  But even that one was taken.  It's pretty hard to think of a name to represent myself, and there are a lot of really great names already taken out there.  However, with not too much effort, I came up with this title.  Anyone who knows me knows that I am pretty tight pursed, if you will.  Stingy? Eh.  Frugal.  YES.  With all the traveling I do, this is an important character trait to have because otherwise I would be BROKE.  It is very easy to spend a LOT of money when you travel as much as I do.  Why, just in November/December of 2010, I purchased 5 one-way plane tickets.  That's some moolah, folks, and I don't claim to make a lot of that.  I simply spend it wisely.

Back to the title.  In my never-ending attempt to try to apply a clever wit to everything/anything, I thought of the old kids' show, Fragal Rock.  Ha!  Frugal...Fragal.  Play on words.  You get it.  I'm clever [sometimes].  At least I will try to be as I express some simple things in my life that I find to be worthwhile.  And if I am [ever] able to touch the heart of all of the ardent readers I am sure to have, then that will simply give me one more thing for which to be thankful.

Let the blogging begin!