soundhexby Amber Goodwyn

Most of the musicians and artists I know, being of the underground, non-state-sponsored variety, ply their craft on a part-time basis. Even professional artists in my circles spend a lot of time on administration with only sporadic bouts of creativity. The urgency that artists have to make stuff, coupled with not having the time, energy or resources to do that — often compounded by the common anxiety of self-doubt — is a potentially drive-petrifying concoction.

What to do?


There’s comfort in the commonality of these dilemmas. Daily Rituals: How Artists Work is a new book published by Knopf and edited by Mason Currey which describes the creative habits of great writers, composers, artists and thinkers. Like the rest of us, many of the artists identify as either morning or evening people; some chase the lightning strikes of inspiration while others work steadily within structured routines. Most have struggled to find a system that works for them, and all are creatures of some kind of habit, be it drinking copious amounts of gin or regular morning exercise.

Franz Kafka described his practical limitations in a letter thusly: “Time is short, my strength is limited, the office is a horror, the apartment is noisy, and if a pleasant, straight-forward life is not possible then one must try to wriggle through by subtle manoeuvres”. I find his words comforting because it makes me feel a kind of solidarity as I try to balance the busy-ness in my own life. The best advice I gleaned from those pages was cumulative, coming from many voices: if you can only work for minutes at a time each day, that amounts to a lot of work completed in a year — an unsexy truth, but a comforting one all the same.


So, I’d like to pump up the tyres of one particular show that’s going down in the next couple of weeks: Homo Monstrous are launching their first cassette tape EP, Nothing Without My Scars, at the German Club on Tuesday, Oct. 22. Also on the bill are Vancouver’s Screaming Queens, another queer punk/garage/grunge band, with whom Homo Monstrous will tour the Western region for eight dates or so. Also on the bill are The Faps and yours truly, who will be DJing as Natural Sympathies. Doors at 8 p.m., show at 9 p.m., $5 ensures your entry.

In my ears: Unintelligible whispers and sinister scratching sounds coming from my attic, which has been locked (without a key) since I moved in.

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