One of the challenges of touring is fatigue. While I always have loved travel, it certainly takes a mental and physical toll.
This exhaustion typically sets in around the three-week mark. In this case, I've only been on the road two-and-a-half weeks but I'm already feeling it. And I'm not surprised. The Fest last weekend took a lot out of me. Plus, this current tour comes immediately after my February tour to Florida, and my March tour to Arizona. Of the 75 days since 8 February, I've been home just 12 days, compared to 63 spent on the road.
This weariness does not effect the quality of my programs. There is a certain "on" feeling when presenting that overrides any lethargy. Rather, I notice it most in between speaking engagements.
It takes a mental toll, as well. Normally I work on analyses or blogs during down time. Returning readers might have noticed that my blogs throughout the early days of April were rather lengthy and detailed, but my blogs of the past few days have been brief and cursory. Additionally, I've been hard at work analyzing harmony in Beatles music. I've conducted Roman Numeral analysis of every chord in all 211 Beatles songs, and now I'm tallying up how each and every chord is approached (what chord comes before) and progresses (what chord comes after). It's extremely slow and painstaking work. When I'm mentally fresh, such tedium is no barrier to productivity; when mentally fatigued, however, it makes the process even slower and more laborious.
There are, of course, many ways to combat this lethargy. The best way is by delivering energetic and authoritative programs. But the rush of presenting eventually dissipates. Another is by blasting my favorite music and singing along at the top of my lungs. But while that's easy to do in a car on the highway, I'm hesitant to do so in my hosts' houses! So yesterday I tried a new approach.
A few years ago, before I committed to a full-time career as a Beatles scholar, I taught many classes at adult education programs in Connecticut. Browsing dozens of adult ed catalogs, I noticed a dramatic increase in the popularity of creative drawing courses such as Zentangle and adult coloring. Though I've always been fond of drawing, I've never been terribly talented at it. I've always leaned more towards origami, at which I'm much more competent (though still not great). There is a certain Zen-like stress relief from folding, especially when making the same design over and over again. (I remember coming home from a particularly stressful day of work at Grace Academy and folding dozens of sharks over a span of about six hours. It worked!) It appears that the recent popularity of adult coloring is largely due to the same stress-relief properties. I, however, had never tried before yesterday, when I bought a book and a set of colored pencils from Michael's.
Given how well these two worked, I think I'll be coloring a lot more!
The tour continues tomorrow with one of my favorite presentations to give:
Friday, 22 April 2016, 6:00-7:30 p.m.
Kent County Public Library, 497 S. Red Haven Ln, Dover, DE
Let it Be: The Beatles, January 1969
January 1969, in which the Beatles recorded what would ultimately constitute the album Let it Be, is paradoxically both the least understood and most well-documented month of the band's entire existence. This 90-minute multimedia presentation will explain what happened during that fractious month through quotes from the band members and “fly on the wall” excerpts from the recording sessions.
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This blog is a workshop for developing my analyses of The Beatles' music.