The Bobby Rock Newsletter #38 (12-16-2021) - An Extraordinary Gift!
The Bobby Rock Newsletter #38 (12-16-2021) - An Extraordinary Gift!
Hey gang -
The Holiday Hustle is upon us! I hope everyone is hanging in there and navigating any and all seasonal activities with joy and mindfulness—or at least our best attempt at it! Thanks for taking the time to scope this Newsletter. I always try to make it worth your while. Let’s dive right in this week...
In this Issue:
Heading back to Arizona this weekend with Lita Ford for our final show of the year.
(Pic circa 2013.)
An Extraordinary Gift!
There’s an old adage among writers that goes like this: Writing a book is like raising a child… you can influence how they turn out, but they will have a mind of their own and evolve into their own unique identity—often in ways that might surprise you.
True, indeed. But the most poignant part of this adage, to me, is in the overriding comparison. Yes, our books are kind of like our children, and we will sweat blood in the process of their creation and development. My closest friends know this about me—and in many cases, know this about themselves—and the revelation of such led to a most extraordinary gift I received from two of them this week.
Mariana Tosca and Chris Johnson are long-time friends, creative juggernauts, fellow vegans, and exemplary humans. They dropped in on me this week with a Christmas gift of their own creation: a miniature, exacting replication of four of my books, stacked together in a holiday theme. Scope this shit out:
To see this thing in person is truly astounding. The details are crazy accurate:
The opened-page inside of The Boy is Gonna Rock reveals an exact replication of those printed pages; The back cover of Zentauria (on the bottom) is also to spec; and there’s even steam coming out of the mug. Insane!
Anyway, just wanted to share it with you guys here, first. It has somehow been a bit emotional for me to relish this incredible gift, given all that it represents: enduring friendship, love of the work, and the joy of creative process.
Happy Holidays, no doubt!
Expanding your Creative Output with "Visions and Digits"
In an article from Newsletter #29—Super Mind Power Via Both Sides of Your Brain—we talked about the two distinct aspects of the brain (left brain: more analytical, right brain: more creative) and how the development of both sides can benefit us greatly in all of our creative endeavors. The general visual of the concept is this:
Now, let’s look at how we can actually use this stuff in the real-life application of whole-brain thinking. For a quick jump-start into the whole-brain experience, there is one fundamental element for each attribute of the brain that will really get things moving in that area if you’re stuck, or if you’re just looking to jack up your overall mental mo-jo. Here they are:
Digits – For the Left
Most of us think about the expansive, free-flowing right-brain when we think of a highly productive, creative output. This part of the mind is steeped in the inspired, intuitive aspects of the process, and it’s generally the aspect of the brain we most associate with our creativity. But even when the right-brain is fully firing and reasonably productive, we can still hit a wall and either not feel especially inspired with a project, or not be able to finish one. When this happens, there’s an effective left-brain trick we can do to get us back into our whole-brain; add digits (numbers) to the process.
Example: if you’re working on a book…
♦ Create a deadline for when it has to be finished
♦ Challenge yourself with a certain daily quota of words or pages to complete each day
♦ Commit to working on the project for x-number of hours per day and record your progress with a stopwatch
♦ Solidify the structure of the piece by creating a detailed outline, and/or deciding on the number of chapters, page count, or any other “numerical” element of the work
All of these ideas involve some kind of numbers, and this will automatically provide additional structure to the process and create some forward motion, guaranteed. In fact, any time I’ve made my most serious strides with practicing drums—or actually finished a manuscript of some sort—it was because there were some real numbers attached to the process.
Visions – For the Right
On the other side of the fence, there could be times when our work ethic is high and we’re on a diligent, regimented schedule of engaging our respective creative activity. And yet, the work itself might feel uninspired, lacking vibrancy and spark. In these cases—since our left-brain is working well—it might be time to get back in touch with some inspiring visuals surrounding the process.
To use our original example of a book, you could visualize…
♦ What it might look like in its finished form (including size and dimension, cover art, and interior layout)
♦ How it will feel in your hands upon completion… what the ink will smell like as you rifle through that initial copy (one of my favorite things!)
♦ What it will be like to promote the work publicly through any of a number of different mediums, and how it will feel to have your story or concepts out there in the world
♦ How people might (favorably) react and personally benefit from the book
All of these things involve the creative, visual, right-side of the brain…the heart of your inspiration, which is where most creative things emanate to begin with.
So if you’re feeling stuck, or are just looking to improve your productivity, ask yourself the following two questions:
1) What are the most compelling and inspired visions that I have for this thing (whatever it is you’re working on)?
2) What are all the different numbers in place to ensure that I have the structure (and motivation) to finish this thing?
On a personal note, I have to bring in some digits if I ever want to make real progress, because I have a tendency to live in the timeless, creative cocoon of process and practice. I love it there… engaging the muse (or muses) as I want, when I want. But shit simply doesn’t get finished like this. So I have to force some digits into the equation. And I find this to be true with most creatives… especially writers. Books usually don’t get 100% complete until a release date is established!
The Bobby Rock Newsletter #26 (9-22-2021) - "Nelsonmania!” - Bringing our 20th Century Brains into the 21st Century: The Woes of Our 20th-Century Brains!
The Bobby Rock Newsletter #29 (10-13-2021) - Blow Your Mind & Melt Your Heart! - Super Mind Power Via Both Sides of Your Brain
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Which all indirectly leads us to a style of drumming born out of the left-brain/right-brain concept. If you notice the graphic at the front of this article, you will see “Language” to the left and “Rhythm" to the right. My whole Alphabet Drumming™ trip came about as a result of merging these two Left-Right elements.
Let’s take a peek at the latest example...
Alphabet Drumming™ some Sabbath!
In this week’s trip to the Drum Vid Vault, we have an interesting groove. The song is Black Sabbath’s “Supernaut,” which is set to appear on my next solo record: a Soundtrack for my book, The Boy Is Gonna Rock. And since it will be "an adventurous instrumental tribute to songs that inspired the story," what better way to make the tune’s infamous percussive middle section more “adventurous” than by playing an Alphabet Drumming™ groove that utilizes two relevant words: “Sabbath” and “Supernaut.”
Actually, this groove is indicative of how I usually stumble into new ideas on the alpha kit. In this case, I was jamming around with a Latin-linear funk-rock-type beat with the cowbell, thinking about the song… and the band… and I thought, Wow… Sabbath… Supernaut…. cool… hey, wait a minute. S-A-B-B-A-T-H. I played it. It sounded interesting. Then I incorporated it into the groove. Same with S-U-P-E-R-N-A-U-T. Took a little wedging at first, but then, the two words brought in an interesting call-and-response kind of feel. It sounded very musical to me, so I kept it. Here is the original notation:
Scope the video HERE (at #6).
Thanks again, everyone! Connect next week...