Writer’s block. It is like being 9 ½ months pregnant and nothing you do puts you into labour. It is like seeing something in your peripheral vision but when you turn your head there is nothing there. Have you been in this place?
Maybe you have decided that you want to add your own compositions to your repertoire of cover songs but the muse isn’t speaking to you. Maybe you have written songs already but you have hit a dry spell; the music is just not flowing. What have you done to get past a writing stalemate and re-enter the creative current?
Post your tips below for breaking out a song – the first few get a limited edition Open Stage Adventure guitar pick (apologies to my non-guitar playing friends).
This week I took my ukulele to Toronto’s TRANZAC for the Monday Night Open Mic. Host Sarah Greene doubled on sound and kept the evening moving along (hosting duties rotate weekly). While the TRANZAC (Toronto Australia New Zealand Club) has a Main Hall for concerts, this event takes place in the smaller Southern Cross room which provides a relaxed and welcoming ambiance. The club’s origins date back to the 1930s and the Brunswick Avenue location has been home since 1971. No one could say exactly how long the open mic has been running – “a long time” was the consensus.
Thanks to Genny, Matt & Andy for their moral support. I fully expect to see them move from audience to microphone in the near future.
[Monday Night Open Mic at TRANZAC, 292 Brunswick, Toronto; Mondays starting @ 10 pm ]
Of all the performers that take the stage I believe spoken word artists to be the bravest. No guitar to hide behind, no chorus to encourage the audience to tap their toes and sing along. Naked words conveyed directly from the poet to the listener.
Thursday night I attended Wordfest, a twice a year celebration of poetry and spoken word that has been happening in Elora since 2007. Hosted by writer Donna McCaw, the event attracted a wide range of ages and experience levels. From sentimental to intellectual, nervous neophyte to astonishingly great performers (thank you Harry from Caledon!), simple reading to multimedia presentation, there were many styles and personalities represented. While most read or performed their own work, some read from other authors.
I usually participate in the events I describe, a way of engaging in the adventure. But tonight I knew my place: in the audience. I tip my hat to the courage of the poet.
[Wordfest, Elora Centre for the Arts, 75 Melville Street, Elora, twice/year:
next event is April 2012; contact the Centre for more details]
This week our trio (Pete, Trish & I) decided to try out our harmonies on some new ears in the charming hamlet of Glen Williams. The Copper Kettle Pub has been hosting an acoustic jam for 7 ½ years. When we arrived, the only other musician in evidence was Phil, the host of the evening, but before we had our instruments tuned and our glasses filled by Brenda several more joined us. The chance to lead a song moves around the circle and players are welcome to join in.
It is a relaxed atmosphere in a charming old building (circa 1856) just minutes away from the main street of Georgetown. We were surprised to find that there was no food served (not even pub food or snacks) so don’t arrive at this event hungry!
The acoustic jam happens twice a week (Tuesdays & Fridays) starting at 8 pm. There is also an open mic hosted by James, usually the third Saturday of the month but he recommends calling ahead to confirm (905-877-5551).
[The Copper Kettle Pub, 517 Main Street, Glen Williams, Tuesdays & Fridays 8 – 11 pm]