Random Update from Todd
Yes, I am missing in action when it comes to this blog. I’ve been busy. You know…busy with work, busy with family, busy with life. I’ve had to focus much more intensely on the activities that may help my immediate future and push a few of the extra things to the side. As much as I love some of those little extras, like writing this blog, they take time, and time seems to become more and more of a precious commodity these days.
When I say that I need to focus on activities that help my immediate future, I mean that I need to focus on things that make at least a little bit of money. Yes, it is a sad truth– money is necessary in this crazy world. And as far as necessities go, it is something I’ve been lacking. However, in my attempts to carve a living out of one thing or another, I’ve discovered that I don’t find it boring or tiresome. Whatever I do, I end up enjoying it. I must be crazy that way, or maybe I’m just lucky. Let me explain while I give a little…
RANDOM UPDATE FROM TODD…
I’m still working several hours per day on the weekdays to keep A Different Drum up and running. Though business is not nearly what it used to be, there are still a few dedicated music fans and collectors who love to keep up on the newest synthpop releases, so I keep the trickle of inventory coming in, and I keep shipping out the orders. I am slower in the order fulfillment because I’m dividing my time with other things, but I do my best to keep it going. I have a significant amount of debt that still needs to be paid off, so that is yet another reason I have to keep the shop open. Do I love this work? Of course! I’ve worked in the music business for going on twenty years in one way or another, and I don’t think I would have stuck with it this long if not for the love of the work. It is a bit tedious doing the little things like putting CD’s in boxes and writing addresses, but those little tasks are an important part of the job, so I smile and give thanks for every order I must fill and every box I must pack.
I get up pretty early on weekdays. The alarm goes off at 6AM. I stumble out of bed, get lunches ready for my son Dylan to take to school and my wife Myra to take to work, have some breakfast, play basketball for an hour if it is Tuesday or Thursday, and then settle down to get a start on the other part of my regular work day now– stock trading. When I used to think of stock traders, I would say to myself, “Now that has to be a very boring job!” I couldn’t see the thrill of buying intangible items on the hopes of earning some kind of living. The movies always depicted guys in suits screaming and running around like insects on the floor of the New York stock exchange and I thought, “yeah, right. They’re just trying to make a boring job look interesting!” Well, I’m not one of those guys…after all, this is a new age of trading where regular folks like me can sit and do it at our computers in our homes, and there just isn’t much yelling going on when you hit keys on homepages to buy and sell. But you know, it can definitely be a thrill! I suppose it is sort of like the adrenaline rush from gaming or gambling? I don’t know why, but even when I haven’t been winning, I find myself quite enraptured by the effort. I’ve taken a few hours every week trying to learn more. I still have a long way to go, but I’m starting to work out my own game plan, and I think I may even be able to make money on a regular basis trading volatile penny stocks. I’ve made a few friends during the learning process, and I’ve had some emotional ups and downs. I’m excited at the beginning of each new day as I prepare to see what is coming my way. I’m always anxious to see the results of my choices, good or bad. Yep, I know it sounds crazy, but I do love it.
On Thursdays I leave work at my office computer earlier than on other days. I drive a few miles to my mother’s house where I moved my music studio. I needed a place that was more quiet and organized than my own home so I could have students come over for music lessons. I’ve had a couple of fun students that have stuck with the lessons that I began to offer last fall. I help the kids improve their songwriting skills and we work together to play and record their original songs. These are the kinds of music lessons I would have loved as a kid, where it is all based on the student’s own creativity. They can learn music while making it in their own way and expressing their own ideas. Again, it is really fun! I enjoy working with their fun personalities and hearing what they come up with. Really, my “teaching” is just giving my feedback and sharing my experience, but they are the ones that take themselves on the musical journey, and it’s a pleasure to watch. I hope to pick up a few more students this spring and summer when school isn’t filling up schedules.
While I am at my studio in my mother’s house, I usually spend an hour or two working on my own songs, just to let my own creative juices flow. Lately I’ve been working on the mellow, moody songs that are part of my future song collection called “Disciple’s Lament”. The songs are not very poppy and a couple are very piano-heavy, but yep, I love doing it! I’ve always loved melodramatic music. Whoops! This doesn’t make money! It only helps to keep me sane, and that is worth something.
On the weekends I do get a little work in with my writing. Lately I’ve been proofreading my second novel, “Gracie Twofeet”. After I finish each chapter I then read it to my three youngest kids before bedtime. Trying it out on a real audience gives me a sense of whether or not it is entertaining enough and comprehensible enough to a younger audience. This fantasy novel is for younger readers, and it has been fun to change my writing style in an attempt to appeal to a different age group. I should be finished with the process this month, and then I will return to by 3rd novel which is now called “Target” (a sequel to “Trigger”). Whoops again! This doesn’t make any money either, but you know, I hope that some day it does. I’ll call it “working on my long-term future”. Or chalk up another one for my sanity.
That’s about all I have time to write at the moment. I need to start crunching numbers for taxes. Yes, business taxes are due next week and I haven’t really started on them yet. So, here I go, and I will tell you right now, I DO NOT enjoy this part of my work. I hate keeping track of my checkbook and I hate doing taxes. Oh well. I can’t expect to love everything, right?
PS. Since I like sharing music videos in my blogs, take a look at this one that my son Dylan just produced. It is for the song “The Valentine” which I co-wrote together with Marcus Fellechner. Marcus produced this young artist named Susanti in Germany and then asked Dylan to help with a video. Dylan included three of his friends and just finished editing it last night: