The Space Between the Notes
Feb 17 2013

musical_note_4188“Music is the space between the notes.”  ~ Claude Debussy

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Everyone is so busy these days. We fill our lives with things that take us from here to there in minutes, when even just fifty years ago it might have taken us hours or days to do something.  The infrequent times I get to work on my music are the times I get to exercise a different part of my brain.  I’m in the middle of getting two songs produced with a professional named Ron Wikso. I’m learning a ton about the process, and he has been patiently explaining it to me.

The phrase “between the notes” has come to my mind often these last few weeks as I’ve found myself with a little more time to work on my songs, but I struggle with enjoying the space…the temporary lull in some of the noise…because there are so many other pressing daily life details that need to be attended to with the kids, job stuff, house stuff, etc.

I think that not only in “music,” but also in life the most poignant moments can lay in the space in between the noise of our daily lives.  The times when things in our lives are on pause (or change dramatically) while we wait for the next great refrain or chorus to start are often ignored, because we are waiting for the “silence” in one part of the symphony of our lives to end and the activity/music to begin.  Unlike an already written sheet of music, we don’t know if the next refrain in our lives will be a joyous beat, a steady (a.k.a. boring) rhythm, a pleasant melody, or the background music from a horror movie.  We don’t know, yet we often live in the anxiety and can’t enjoy the space…the space to explore other options or even to take a nap!

True learning, profound connection, and great discoveries have been known to happen in the space between thoughts, yet most of us are afraid of that space.  We don’t often choose the space or if it chooses us, we don’t know what to do with it.  It has been proven that meditation has many benefits when you can stop the thinking and sit still in silence, but it’s not easy.  “I think therefore I am” could have easily been said “I am therefore I think, play, laugh, feel, love, etc.”

The more we are able to quiet our thoughts and live in that space, the more peace we seem to achieve and the more positive impact we have on those around us.  The challenging nature of that endeavor mixed with the constant flux of our lives is why I believe there are very few gurus and prophets in this world.  Most of them are men who did not have kids or had someone else taking care of their kids.  Many of them also did not want or need money and were fine with sitting under a tree or in a cave meditating most of the time.  If I had no kids, I might try that life for a while. :-)

May the space between the notes in your music or the choruses of your lives become great defining points in the stories you tell.  I already know I’ll be a grandma or teacher with the best First World “war” stories based on the space between the notes of my life…

Author: | Filed under: FYI, networking, random stuff, working mother | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off

How To Copyright A Song
May 5 2012

Well, we finally did it.  Brett Jason Wintermeyer, my songwriting partner and fellow Metaphor Maniac (link to facebook page that we haven’t actively publicized yet, but hope to soon), finally filed a copyright on 4 of our songs last week.  We were trying for a 5th, but we kept getting stuck so we gave up in the hopes we’d be inspired later.  4 is a lucky number, right?

It’s important to keep in mind that all artists own the rights to their works and have immediate copyright protection even if they don’t submit for a copyright registration.  Having a copyright registration just helps the artist in case some legal issues or unfair usage claims arise.  We might submit them to some songwriting sites so I thought it best to do the legal thing.

The creation of the 4 songs took much longer than we thought given we met on average one night every 2 to 3 weeks.  Over 1.5 years later, we finally felt they were in good enough condition to “finalize” and file.  I’m sure we’ll continue to tweak them as we practice and perform them live.

The process of filing wasn’t that difficult.  You go to the US Copyright Office page and create a log in with tedious password requirements.  I heard that within the last year they implemented the ability to do it all electronically so you can now upload your files.  It’s $35 per song or compilation.  If you wanted to register 9 songs as part of a CD compilation, you could do the entire compilation for just $35!  We chose to file separately after I conferred with a music attorney in town, Christian L. Castle Attorneys.  We don’t know if we’ll ever make a CD or if we will just play/sing them socially.   Rob Wells, their Director of Artist Relations, walked me through the process quickly, and I was able to do most of it on my own.  It’s a little tricky the first time to know what items to check, what category to select, and what info you need.  It takes 90 days for the copyright office to review submissions.

There are two different things you can copyright when it comes to songs.  One is the music & lyrics and the other is the sound recording.  It’s important to understand the distinction to figure out when or if to file for one or both types of protection.  It’s best to talk with an attorney as to what’s best for you.  The chances of our songs making it big are pretty slim for many (7 billion people on the planet and millions of songwriters doing this full-time) reasons, but it’s kind of neat to potentially have an official, documented claim to a piece of work.

The songs range from pop, jazz, to rock and their titles are below.

  • Save Me From Myself – my favorite  (Jason created this amazing “sweet” guitar picking intro to the song that makes me smile & tear up at the same time)
  • Look At Me – Jason’s favorite based on chords/melody he created many years ago that happened to fit my lyrics.  We also affectionately refer to this one as our ‘elevator musack song.’
  • Fatal Attraction (or Soul Mate) – a jazz piano song (think: grand piano/lounge singer) about the foolishness of love and its often mistaken identity
  • Soul Escape – a rock song based on wanting to escape bad, noisy (and sometimes silent) connections with people

Hopefully, we’ll get a chance to perform these live some day.  The lyrics were inspired by many things but mostly my kids and a few people & experiences that profoundly impacted me at critical junctures in my life.

Author: | Filed under: music, singing | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

SXSW Interactive – Sunday, March 9, 2008
Mar 9 2008

Although I’ve lived in Austin for quite some time, I have never made it to SXSW but now since a big part of what I do for my company is social media related, I finally had a great reason to go.  Most people associate SXSW with music, film making, bands, and people partying all night long.  For those visiting from out of town and attending the music pieces of SXSW that might be true, but for those of us attending SXSW Interactive who live in town and have kids to take care of, we aren’t able to party (or should I say not interested in partying) all night long.  Although tonight I was tempted to stay out late after having been asked by a couple of people to join some after parties.  But since I just got back from Los Angeles, I figured I should get home and give my husband a little back-up break with the kids.  Here are some brief overviews of the sessions I attend.

Mark Zuckerberg, Founder of facebook
sxsw-zuckerberg.jpg

Mark who is a 23 year old billionaire, seemed to be more comfortable during the interview than what I’ve heard he has been before, but he seemed to say some of the same stuff over and over again.  I forgot my regular camera and my cell phone camera is not that great, hence the not-so-great picture above.  However, here are some interesting things he said:

  • He mentioned that facebook was going to change their incentive system to one where the more invites you send out that are accepted, the more opportunities you have to invite others to join your network.   
  • He also said that at facebook, they begin with the premise that everyone is fundamentally good and not trying to do evil/illicit things. 
  • He felt that all of the mistakes they have made so far have had to do with them not giving their users enough control over the process.
  • He believes terrorism stems from people not feeling connected to each other.

The interviewer, Sarah Lacy, from BusinessWeek.com, had a strange interviewing style.  Sadly, much of the audience was wondering why she was asking the questions she did and why she was asking them the way she did.  Honestly, it seemed like she was a teenage girl flirting with a billionaire 20 something entrepreneur and many of her questions weren’t really questions they were statements.  After, the audience turned on her, I thought she might wonder why but apparently she thought she did a great job and said Mark told her she did a great job.  Omar Gallaga, who blogs for Austin 360 Digital Savant did a post-panel video interview with her that you can see HERE.  Check it out, it’s a good interview.  She believes that since she is one of the few women tech journalists that she always gets flack and is misunderstood.  Since I’m a woman in tech, after seeing her today I wouldn’t agree with her assessment of why the audience didn’t like her, but kudos to her for putting herself out there and trying.  I know she is being flamed on the Internet for the interview but if she can bounce back from this and learn & grow from this experience, she will be on her way to achieving great things.

Thom Singer, Author and Speaker on Networking

I tried hard to make it to Thom’s book reading, but after getting out of the room after Zuckerberg spoke, it was something like a 3 block hike from one end of the convention center to the other.  I arrived as he was wrapping up his Q&A.  Thom is an author and blogs at Some Assembly Required.  He’s about to release a new book called Some Assembly Required for Women.

Kathy Sierra, Author and Speaker

Kathy Sierra was a very interesting speaker.  She gave tips and advice on how to get your customers (and employees) passionate about your products.  The room was packed and since I was coming back from the other side of the convention center they wouldn’t let us in!  As I came up to the front of the line to ask what was going on, they said they couldn’t let us in because of fire code violation stuff. I was in line with Francine Hardaway and we along with a few others made some noise about how full it had been at the Zuckerberg talk and surely they can let us in since there weren’t more than 20 to 30 of us waiting outside and we had seen some people leave.  After a few minutes, they let us in.  Since I haven’t been blogging for a year yet, I didn’t know the back story on Kathy’s blogging stalker weirdness almost a year ago.  She indicated that she might start blogging again, which I look forward to.

The Super Collider: A Hero of the Social Network

I attended this panel briefly and it wasn’t what I thought it would be.  One of the panelists discussed how she was using the various social networks and social media to promote her business.  It was interesting, but nothing new so I took off to the Entrepreneur’s Lounge at Fogo de Chao Brazilian restaurant for a short after party.  It was hosted by ATI and uShip.  Ran into Bryan Mennell of Austin Startup blog there.

Hearing these people speak was fascinating but what was even more exciting to me was meeting face to face with many of my blogging friends and meeting new friends including Wendy Piersall of eMoms at Home, Liz Strauss of Successful Blog, Tamar Weinberg of Mashable, Gina Trapani of lifehacker, Laura Mayes of Sk*rt, Annalee Newitz of io9 (she blogs on sci-fi stuff), and Tim Walker of Hoovers Business.

Stay tuned for more of my SXSWi experiences on Monday and Tuesday.

Author: | Filed under: blogging, conferences, entrepreneurship, social media | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »