I. Love. Fluenz.
This past week has been so encouraging, it's unbelievable. I've been going through a lesson a day of my Fluenz software and this program is perfect. My grammar is solid, I'm building a steady vocabulary (that DOES NOT involve memorizing long lists of words!) and my pronunciation has improved immensely. If anyone out there is interested in learning a new language, I'm convinced that there is no better way to do it than with Fluenz, not even in a classroom setting.
In light of my success this past week, I've decided to modify my goal a bit. My original goal was to be able to have a mostly fluent conversation with a college level French instructor. I still intend on doing just that, but I now have a "side-goal," shall we say.
I intend to CLEP test my way out of French I and possibly French II. For those of you that aren't familiar, a CLEP test is a standardized test in which one can "test out" of having to take certain classes in college, and it's offered for most major subjects in school. The CLEP test would be a great way for me to quanitify exactly how well I've done and just how much I've learned. Now, I don't have the details set in place yet, but I'm sure I will have more information soon. This should also give me a smart kick in the pants to keep up with the schedule I've made for Fluenz.
So, in short: Fluenz is the bomb. I have my motivation back. I iz happy.
To read Kaylynn's story from the beginning, click here.
All my friends are so talented. In the past week, there have been so many strides that have been taken by people I’ve known for years. My friend Spencer Walters’ band The April Year holds the top spot for most listened to song on Purevolume. If you don’t know what Purevolume is, it’s essentially the medium through which Panic! At The Disco and other large pop bands got the most exposure. So it’s a huge deal that The April Year as achieved that. They’re currently beating Yellowcard and Panic! At The Disco for that slot. Incredible.
But all that success leaves me feeling vastly under-accomplished. I didn’t write the song I intended to, but I did write more music to it, a few lines of lyrics that are giving it a direction, and through a few scattered ideas, I reconvened with my friend Stu over a song we worked on during summer. So, although I didn’t exactly meet my scary goal, I think that I met my criteria for the week regardless.
Will sent me a few video clips last week so I’ve been piecing the video to Reservation Blankets together this week. I should have probably taken advantage of the time that I had this week better though, because the few upcoming days I’m going to be super busy rehearsing for Jazz Week.
Jazz week is a cool thing my high school does where every Jazz ensemble rehearses in order to perform several formal concerts, all accumulating into the Swing Dance on Friday. So I’m going to be busy. Hopefully I’ll be able to get more of these songs done this week. Wish me luck!
P.S. I've got to say I'm really excited about the new Spire members, Carl and Lexie!
Hi there! It's Shay. I want to introduce you to the very first of our newest additions to SpireSpire. Look out Saturday, Lexie Dorsett is here to rock you. I'm pretty sure Lexie will be mowing down her goal by sheer force of will and energy and I'm very VERY pleased that she is joining our little family. I'll let Lexie do the rest of the introductions and stay tuned for our second introduction coming up soon! - Shay
Hi! I am so elated to be joining these fine people here! Early on, I randomly stumbled upon the blog and have been tracking everyone's progress from the beginning. When I saw the post about joining the group I had to jump and emailed Shay and BAM here I am!
Well we have a lot of catching up to do so I will try my best to quickly try to acquaint myself with you so we can move on some serious goal achieving!
I am originally from Birmingham, Alabama. My family has two dogs (dachshunds- or more commonly referred to as wiener dogs) that are treated like my siblings..frightening I know. I also have two HUMAN siblings who are twins. We are all incredibly different sometimes I cannot believe we all came from the mother. More on them later. I also have two incredibly supportive parents who I talk to on a regular basis. I just graduated from a college in Cincinnati where I received a BFA in musical theater. The day after my graduation, (also interestingly enough my birthday-April 4- and yes I love gifts)I made the what was supposed to be 10 hour drive from Cincinnati to New York City. So as you see. I am usually a person who wastes no time in going after what she wants.
I went to an incredibly competitive conservatory program in which I was in class many times from 9am until 11 pm. Sounds crazy to you? I LOVED IT! I have been known to turn in assignments weeks early, have a calendar that is so micromanaged that it allows me to do 1,000 things in one day, and study while on the treadmill. I am a multitasking fiend. So what am I doing on here if I am so good at making everything happen? A fascinating thing has happened to me since graduation. With no tests, or assignments, or grades I have found myself lost with no physical proof of work. I often am exhausting myself with my creative energy before I even begin a task. Basically, the REAL world in many ways has been easier than school. It's not that I lack the motivation to get things done, it is that I cannot organize in my brain what I want to do next or how to proceed from here.
As I aforementioned, I now live in New York pursuing my dreams of being a professional actress. Some fantastic things have happened since graduation, like my boyfriend of seven years and I are finally in the same city..I know FINALLY..and being fortunate enough to find work in my field almost non stop since April. However, since graduation I have had a hard time figuring out where I fit in the artist world. I am a 22 year old who is very tall- 5'11” that's right you should see me in heels- leaving casting directors a bit confused as to where I fit in the casting world. If I had a leaf for every time I heard, “Oh, I think you are funny and talented, however, I'm not sure where I would use you” I would I be a tree. I know that really didn't seem to work but I didn't want to use the dime thing. To make my issue into a pop reference, in the professional vein I seem to be “not a girl, not yet a woman” to quote the ever-crazy Brittany Spears.
But that is all about the change fine people of the internet! No, I am not going to take some sort of horse pill to magically make me grow older and into what in my field is commonly referred to as my type, and no I am not going to get on some torture contraction to squash me down to a height where I would no longer have to pay extra for the tall jeans. I am going to star in a show that is perfect for me. And you want to know how I know it's perfect for me? Because it is a show ABOUT me. BAM! (two Bams in this one post so far!)
You know when you have that goal in the back of your mind that you simply have never found the time to put into action? Well for the past four years I have had this small idea of creating a one woman show. I have attempted and presented half attempts here and there performing small under rehearsed versions at school. But at school, I was so busy I didn't have the time to ever fully develop what I wanted. And now, outside of my performing job, all I have is time. Also, being honest I think there was a small part of me that was scared to really go for it. It is scary to create a show, but even scarier when you are trying to hold an audience's attention with a show about your own life. However, I found this wonderful quote a few months back. The quote is “Fear cannot take what you do not give it” -Christopher Coan. So this project does not belong to fear. Simple as that.
Anyone who knows me knows I love to talk and tell ridiculous (but true) stories from my wacky life. I AM FINALLY GOING TO CREATE A SHOW AND PERFORM IT IN A NYC VENUE BY OCTOBER! Narcissistic? Maybe. But what I really hope to get out the experience is more of a understanding of who I am as an artist. I think it will be an incredibly therapeutic and self exploratory experience with an end result of an awesome show and those who have supported me along the way there to see it! I also hope to make people laugh which I think is fantastic idea.
Don't worry though, I am not going to follow the usual themes of “girl from small town finds her way in the big city.” My show is going to be much more comprehensive and chalk-full of wonderfully absurd true stories from my life. Like the time I was a witch in 3rd grade and put a spell on a small girl in my class, or the time I burned down my kitchen, or even the time I peed my pants in a public GAP store, or went to school for Halloween in a homemade jellyfish costume. That's right. Take it in. Grossed out yet? Intrigued? Or simply wondering what in the world is wrong with me? It is all good.
Ignoring the problem doesn't make it go away. Profound, no?
While last week I got nowhere from trying too hard. This week I got nowhere from ignoring the task completely. I feel like I should be past the experimentation level of this project. I should already know what kind and amount of push and shove works for me, but I don't. Last week was wrong and this week was really wrong.
I look at myself in this project and think – wow I'm 4 months down with no real proof to show of any progress. Have a I made progress? Personally, I know that I am three songs in on my goal. I am three songs further than I was four months ago. Are they absolutely perfect and worthy to record? FRACK NO. And, because of this, I'm in 4 months on my goal with no tangible evidence I've accomplished anything thus far. I've not sucessfully recorded one single piece. I'm a tad frusterated with myself but at the same time I'm not fully convinced that lack of trying is to blame. I try- a lot.
I knew this goal was going to be a stretch for me. I knew it from the start. So, right now I'm lacking the passion due to frustration to be really honest. I had greater expectations for myself by the end of month 4.
I know I'm not failing and I'm not defeated, by any means. I'm just disappointed.
Like my photo? Hahaha. That's how I feel. All smiles...:)
I've lost 19.4 lbs since starting HCG. (read my last post to get caught up). Is it difficult? Well, there are days that are difficult and days that I cant believe how easy it is.
I'll be finished with HCG on Feb. 5. I'm hoping to be down a total of 25-30 lbs. (so an additional 6-11). What an exciting feeling to be moving at warp speed towards my goal of 75.
I know that once I finish HCG, the weight loss will be much slower. But I'm aboslutely fine with that. Since I know that successful weight loss doesn't happen overnight. It happens with time. Once I finish this round i will continue to eat 'clean' and start back up with my workouts. (HCG encourages no working out during the detox).
One thing that is kinda annoying-I developed a wicked sore throat and pounding headache within 3 hours yesterday. I went home and it got worse. I feel like I cant swallow thoroughly. I am worried about having to take medicine's that are high in sugar, so if anyone knows of any medicine that is all natural (but not something I would brew in my own house with: the twig of one branch, a handful of fresh rosemary and the tail of one rat), I would appreciate the suggestions!
I hope I get better soon. I have more weight to lose.
It’s been an interesting couple of months. I’m still currently sick; whatever virus is going around is a doozy, so I would advise you all to use all your personal and sick days and quarantine yourself inside of your house until March. I cannot hear out of my right ear and will be grateful when this returns to me.
So we lost Matty. HUGE bummer. And we’re on the hunt for not one but TWO new Spires (that way nobody is lonely). If you are interested in being apart of what we do here, and have a goal (or an idea of a goal) email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
or facebook me. The only nerve wracking thing for the new Spires is that we will still all want to finish at the same time, so you’ll have to run hard and fast for your goal for the Oct. 1st deadline. We’re also looking for at least ONE of those new peeps to be a guy to keep Christian from being drowned in the estrogen. This is your moment! Do it! Don’t hesitate, because we won’t wait long to decide.
As for myself and my progress. As I said last week, I reorganized my book flow and know the EXACT way that it is going to end, and everything that is happening between then and now. Holy exciting! I’ve always had my general idea, but to know the flow and interplay of scenes and to have walked around the “north forty” several times to see if I’m missing things or dropping threads has been a true pleasure.
The other things that’s been a true pleasure? Often, I get inspired on scenes that occur much later in my book than the one that I’m currently working on. This happens at most inopportune times like when I’m doing dishes or trying to sleep. It’s like this chapter or scene just shows up in my head and the characters are talking, and they’re saying brilliant things and I’m doing the dishes and staring into space because I’m basically experiencing the movie version in my head of this scene. That and I start shushing the people that try to talk to me.
Because of the walk-thru that I have of my book, I’ve pretty much stopped writing linearly. I’m able to capture the scenes as they inspire me, knowing with precision where the characters are coming from and where they are going. I had always scoffed when I heard of writer’s doing that, but truly, I get to ride the waves of inspiration much more freely because of the organization I have. That’s pretty cool.
As for the book agents, I got an email that basically said “We’re on tour and going to get back to everyone at this point in time (naming a few dates)”, so I’m pretty sure of two things a.) they’ve got a lot of people trying to get their attention b.) I’ll get a chance at a conversation at some point here and c.) It’s all good.
As for my heart on this whole thing, I’ve been wrestling with a few things. First, in learning more about the publishing system…it’s an intense beast. It could take a year alone to get a book accepted, or a year alone to get it edited and published. So…trying to do it all in a year is, well, I feel like it’s impossible. So, there’s that. Ha! I’m not worried either way. I’ll either blow past expectations and get it done, or, I’ll lay the framework for it happening and need to extend the goal for awhile longer. I’m cool with that if you guys are.
The other thing I’ve been thinking about for awhile is this sense of “pushing yourself on others” or “trying to get ahead.” To be perfectly honest, I don’t like it. It’s too American culture or love of money and it bothers me. However, as I was falling asleep last night (aka my best time of thinking/no way to capture anything.) I was thinking that what we’re doing at Spirespire isn’t trying to elevate ourselves above anybody else—at least, I don’t think so. It’s more of a downward movement. I know I’m supposed to tell stories, that Christian and Nicole are supposed to be musicians, that Julie is supposed to love how she looks, and that Kaylynn has been whiz with languages since I’ve known her (which is since she was twelve…think about that!) I think Spirespire is about sloughing off the dead stuff that is keeping us from doing what we were made to do. It’s a process of scraping off fear and getting rid of the stories that we tell ourselves that keep us from really looking at how we were created in the face. I thinking losing some of that excess is going to result in a natural buoyancy. I think that if we’re working in the vein of who we are, we will naturally shine a little brighter.
I hope if anyone gets anything out of reading this little site that it is worth your time to dive into trying to figure out who you are and what you are made to be doing. Cocoons are cozy but they will stifle your wings.
This is one of my favorite quotes...often wrongly attributed to Nelson Mandela.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not
to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
I am enthralled. I am so thankful to have such amazing friends. Some of you may have heard that I have some exciting news, so here it is:
In seeing my frustration over the last few weeks, our dear friend Shay took a leap of faith and wrote a brief letter to a contact at Fluenz language programs asking for any advice and support. To my astonishment, Fluenz has offered to sponsor me in my endeavor, asking only for good word of mouth in return. I just recently received ALL FIVE levels of Fluenz French...for free. Yes, for free. Free of charge. $0 balance. I'm completely amazed by Shay's kind heart in thinking of me, as well as the quick generosity of the Fluenz team.
I have yet to be able to utilize my new program, but rest assured, there will be LOTS of studying going on this weekend. I'm completely over the moon with excitement! I'm sure next week's update will be full of over-flowing success!
(An aside from Shay: Major thanks to Sonia and the team over at Fluenz
for being so openhanded with their superior product and knowledge. I use their Spanish programs and they are stellar (one of the reasons I really wanted to hook Kay into that language system because I've benefitted so much from them!) but their staff has been consistently warm with an obvious desire to help people learn and become enthusiastic students of language. So, ha! While Kaylynn might have been surprised...I was more thrilled than surprised, because the generosity that they showed is 100% true to the character of every interaction I've had with Fluenz. That and I can talk to my awesome Latino neighbors now. Fluenz rocks my socks!)
I am a wimp. I suppose it’s a lot easier for me to aspire to things while sitting in my room rather than actually doing real life scary things. Many of my scary things through spire have been about writing and recording, which are both pretty solitary deals for me. I haven’t yet been pushed to genuinely be vocally courageous about my music until last Sunday. And I blew it.
I was thinking about giving Sean Carey a CD of the new song I’m working on with Will, but it’s just not ready for distribution and I’m not okay with that. And there’s not really anything else I could have given him. So at the end of the concert, (which ended around 1:00) Connor Boyle and I waited for a little bit, shook his hand and told him he did an excellent job. He remembered us because we were front row (as you see in this picture) and we were doing loud clapping at parts that, in the record, were important. and then we and went home. I feel like a failure.
My life has been so filled lately with school activities and homework, which is weird because I’m now a second semester senior. I’ve had little time to do work on music, so this week’s goal is a rough one. Because I disappointed myself last week, I’m going to have a spurt of productivity. I’m going to completely write another song. I’m trying to follow the advice I got in the beginning of this project, which was to write a bunch of songs in order to be more valuable to the bands I want to record with.
I’ve got one song already in the works, and a couple more fragments that I can piece songs out of later. But I’m going to focus on one this week, and its goal is this: to write honestly and bluntly. Not Nickleback style though. I’m going to attempt to emulate the style I achieved when writing Mornin’ Storms from my last record. This will be rough, but hopefully it’ll work out fine.
In other news, I lost a capo, so if anyone has seen it, I need it back. Thank you.
Hey everybody! I hope all of you are doing well and staying warm. I just wanted to give you a heads up that Matt has decided that with his current schedule and life stuff, SpireSpire has become too much of a stressor and is pulling out of the experiment.He's still doing a lot of really great things with his comedy, and I hope that you'll all check in with him on Facebook or at his website to see the updates
on his life.But stay tuned for some exciting news with some of our current participants and maybe
some new faces around the corner :D--Shay
I feel like my life for the past 8 months has been one big rollar coaster. Graduate, married, move across the ocean, sink into depression, "raise" to become mundane, find an unbelievable high in Disney Land, "lower" back to mundane, have a week of awesome things happen (a.k.a. My last blog), and then suck. All week.
To top the "suck" week off- this week was a major blow to my self confidence. Last week, when I posted, I had plans to record this week. I was so excited because I had just figured out how to use the programs in the piano my husband gave me! So I decided to take a break from my classical piece (which was being a jerk to me) and pull out a piece that I had considered "mastered" a couple months ago. Yet, everytime I sat down to play the song I tripped, fell, and landed with a smack right down on the the piano keys. This whole week, I could neve get through the song well enough to record it. Its not perfect anymore.
The triumphal climax of my failure was yesterday when I sat down for 2 hours trying over, and over, and over, and over, and over. Recording over, and over, and over. Thinking, "Why can't I get this? I HAD this." Then these words popped into my head and I had to stop.
The definition of insanity- "Doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results."-- Albert Einstein.