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September 29, 2021

Wednesday, September 29


Deadlines can be a helpful, if often naggingly self-imposed, tool to bring about what could be long-desired accomplishments. You’d like to purchase a car but can’t decide on a make or model? Well - promise yourself this MUST happen before the end of the week. You’ve yet to have ever written a story ending with the words “the end”? Damn - get that done today! This is the year for your once-in-a-lifetime birthday party? Well, no more than twelve months should transpire before bringing this plan to fruition. The pressure of the deadline will almost always bring renewed energy and focus to your actions.


I’ve had lots of friends through the years who have made great use of “to-do” lists. While the Virgo side of me recognizes the potential benefits to this kind of discipline, for some reason I’ve always rejected this practice in real life. Some people record their own thoughts as a way of discovering which direction their inner voices want them to go, but I don’t necessarily trust stream-of-consciousness from my own brain - unless, of course, I’m writing fiction. I don’t mind my own creations discovering how silly they really are, but I try to keep my own mental shortcomings invisible to myself whenever possible. I also don’t enjoy making outlines, creating back-stories, or composing pages of dialogue that will never see the light of day after the story is complete. Where writing is concerned, not all “tricks of the trade” offer much appeal to what is likely my own inner sense of laziness.


But I’ve made fairly good use of deadlines, I’d say. If I promise myself such and such will happen by a certain date and time, something about the pressure will mandate strict obedience and adherence. Which often results in at least a small measure of partial success.


The only reason I’m musing about this right now is I’ll soon be returning to New York City and find myself looking ahead to the next challenge, which will be to record the remaining songs written during the Covid-19 year of 2020. I was halfway through the recording process when my brothers Tom and Jeff persuaded me to figure out ways to get michaelaba.com back online (which thankfully has happened - no deadline was required). And then I somewhat unexpectedly had another full season here on Martha’s Vineyard. I haven’t played a note of piano - and only a bit of guitar - since. Music-wise, I’ll admit, I’m a bit out of practice…


And so I’ll just say it.


I’m issuing myself another deadline. I’d like to complete the rest of this long-delayed project by the end of the year

There are fourteen songs remaining to be recorded, many of them with unfinished lyrics - and at least three currently lacking titles. Here’s the line-up:


01 - Follow You Down

02 - Sparkling Starlight

03 - Her Arrival

04 - Your Wife

05 - Love Has Finally Come

06 - The Clouds Have Rolled In

07 - The Best Is Still Coming

08 - Old Friend

09 - The Company of Someone

10 - ‘new snippet’

11 - And Away She Goes

12 - ‘new snippet’

13 - ‘newest snippet’

14 - Good Morning


The first three songs of this current collection had been completed along with the “Thank You For Your Letter” group and can be heard on michaelaba.com right now.


01 - Waiting for the Next Surprise

02 - Happy Hour

03 - I Can Dream


By setting this deadline and now glancing over these titles for the first time since leaving New York, I’m already starting to sense a rise in energy level and enthusiasm. I’ll have lots of other items on my plate when I get back so this will by no means be an easy feat; I don’t even know how long my abandoned piano-playing skills might decide to take before magically reappearing (hopefully!). But this feels like a promising first step. At this moment, I’m cautiously optimistic about being able to meet my latest challenge.

And in the meantime, maybe I should post this monthly blog right away. There’s only one more day left in September. I have a deadline to meet.

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