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Living with Schizoaffective Disorder


I may have wandered off course,
but I haven't lost my way.

Michael David Crawford, Baritone,

December 18, 2007

Copyright © 2007 Michael David Crawford. All Rights Reserved.

As I looked through my music books this evening, I came across a paper that I printed out a while back. I was surprised, as I didn't recall bringing it from Nova Scotia. I don't remember if I printed it there or back in Maine. I don't even remember who posted the two quotes that I copied to it. They aren't credited on my print, but Google found the two authors:

This is the beginning of a new day. You have been given this day to use as you will. You can waste it or use it for good. What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever; in its place is something that you have left behind... let it be something good.
-- Amby Nic Montage


I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.
-- Jack London

Upon reading these, I realized what I must do lest another day of my life be wasted:

I practiced piano.

It will come as no surprise to any of you that I have a problem with focussing. I'm always starting new projects but finishing few of them. I need to focus. I must not let another day go by, ever, without practicing piano.

I want to compose symphonies someday.

To be accepted into music school in Canada, at least at Dalhousie in Halifax, I must play an audition whose material is at the Royal Conservatory of Music's Grade Nine level. I'm a long way from that.

I know precisely how to get there: I must take lessons, and practice on my own, as well as perform in front of live audiences. (I get terrible stage fright, and know that the only way to overcome it is to perform for the public.)

All of my piano teachers have emphasized the importance of practicing every day. It's better to practice just a little, so long as one does it consistently, than to skip days while trying to make up for it by practicing a lot. Esther Tanner, my teacher in Truro said, "If you practice three days then skip one, you'll have to practice for two days to get back to where you were."

I plan to buy a keyboard amp in January, so I can start playing on the street. I'm also going to start playing Open Mics again, all over the San Francisco Bay Area. (Watch my live performance schedule for show dates.)

"What about Ogg Frog?" you ask. Yes, Ogg Frog is part of my plan. I aim to finance my way through school with advertising on Ogg Frog's website. That's not going to happen if I don't get the software finished.

I'm going to have a lot of time off over the Christmas holiday; I'll be spending much of that time working on Ogg Frog. I expect that will get the project back on track, and that I can ship its first release soon.

I'm very encouraged by the story of a musician named Sufjan Stevens, who I first heard on Radio Paradise. He's self-taught, as I originally was. I recently bought his album Illinois; it quickly became a favorite.

In February, he's playing a benefit at Carnegie Hall - with Philip Glass.

If he can do that, so can I.

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