Minor Desperation on the Internet

I prefer to reserve my blog for expressing thoughts or anecdotes with some vague point.  I don’t like to update with personal stories unless they go somewhere outside of the realm of self, and I shelve many drafts that do not meet my personal standards of quality (whatever that means).  But I haven’t posted in a while, my drafts have been subpar, and I’m desperately afraid that my readers, who have absolutely no obligation to read my words, are going to lose faith that anything I’ve said has ever been worth something.  As it is, sense of self-worth is a fragile thing, and more than I’d like to admit, I actively seek affirmation from strangers such as yourselves.  As much as I’d like to pretend to be an emotionally independent human being, let’s be honest – I have a blog, and I write in it. That pretty much pegs me as needy and insecure.

…which is why I’ve decided to post neither thoughts, nor anecdotes, but music.  In real life (outside of the internet) I study music composition, and on rare occasion, I actually compose.  Perhaps some of you might enjoy listening to what I write beyond the words in my blog (assuming you don’t just scan through all the words in search for the elusive picture I occasionally post).  For those of you who hate it or don’t care for my style of music, please forgive me: I’ll post a real entry soon.  I promise.

I’m not necessarily looking for praise or criticism, but if you have praise or criticism you want to provide, I’ll be most receptive to it (for the record, criticism is more useful than praise [but praise is good too]).  In any case, this is what I do, and if you actually listened to this clip of my most recent recorded work, I am most appreciative of your time and ears.  Thank you.

About Doctor Quack

Just another bonehead with an internet connection.
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20 Responses to Minor Desperation on the Internet

  1. amanda says:

    I’ve never read the book but it seemed to me – from listening – that Helena’s character is rather larger-than-life, mysterious (and maybe even devious), but there’s a quiet side to her as well. Or, I could be way off base. I liked what I heard though. Good job!

    • Doctor Quack says:

      Thank you.

      This could actually be a good experiment to figure out whether the music actually embodies the character to people who aren’t familiar with the character. Helena is actually somewhat of a bipolar maniac. She narrates in long run-on sentences simultaneously expressing the greatest joy in life and her deepest miseries in life. Her self-professed love for certain other characters drives her to near suicide.

  2. Christina says:

    As I have no musical knowledge whatsover I can offer no criticism and you’ll probably be disappointed with me when all I can say is that I liked it…sorry I’m failing you as a reader. The only other comment I can add is that for someone who claims to be “no specialist” you seem to have quite a good knack on composing music. Perhaps you’re hiding your light under a bushel, no?

    • Doctor Quack says:

      You have not failed me – knowing that you read my blog is more than enough.

      I suppose I don’t feel comfortable calling myself a specialist in anything until I have big fancy degrees and a business card. I’m working on those degrees as we speak (but between you and me, I’m not actually a doctor in anything).

      In any case, I don’t often post about composition, so when I say I’m not a specialist, it’s more about not being a specialist in anything I post about.

  3. poppito says:

    I like the song, I think it’s good! I might suggest taking out those two short quiet parts near the beginning, I think they don’t really fit with the rest of teh song well. But then that’s just me.
    Also, what program do you use? It seems like a very good one.

  4. poppito says:

    I like the song, I think it’s good. I might suggest taking out those two short quieter parts near the beginning, they don’t really fit well with the rest of the song I think. But then that’s just me.
    Also, what program did you sue to compose this? It seems like a good one.

  5. Hi Dr Quack. Listened to this piece, it is worth listening to. What came to my mind was an idea I can only express as the thought of a Tennesee Williams narrative set to a score, so perhaps a modern opera feel. I am no expert, but I am old enough to have listened to a wide variety of music, and in fact my stepson composes and plays. (he is studying music tech in uk ). I cannot provide any guidance re criticism, but I listened carefully, and there is not a point at which I think ‘that’s not quite right’, which can only be good! And don’t stop writing, but do stop drafting and throwing away, The writing is the point, ;the readers are a bonus. Writing will inform your composition, and not everything you write or compose will be good, there is always alot of chaff!! Write what you want to write, not waht you think readers will read or want to read. One suggestion? Have you read George Orwells essays? When I find writing really difficult because there is nothing more to be said, I go back to reading, and it normally triggers a response in my unconscious, then my conscious starts to come out to playl Good luck .Anne

  6. themoonandme says:

    Hmmm needy and insecure…I thought about that for a while. Then I asked somebody else to think about it with me, because I didn’t want to be alone for fear of where my thoughts might take me. Reason for blogging #62 to eradicate that dry scab on your soul. If it bleeds all the better, but something needs to shift.
    Over and Out.

  7. jessicajones9876 says:

    Opinion: It definitely sounds like your description. I think that my favorite part is that the piece is never quite “happy” or “sad.” Instead, it’s just on the verge of either of the emotions. And definitely dramatic. It reminds me of a convoluted carnival of horror…askew merry-go-rounds, maniacal Kewpie dolls, etc…exactly how I picture the mental state of a bipolar maniac.

    Critique: If we went to school together, and you had asked me “is there anything else I can do to make this sound more Helter Skelter,” I would have suggested switching up the time signatures at key moments. It would make the piece sound even more unsettling.

    I applaud your work, though! I’ve been writing a capella song arrangements for years, but nothing like this. And it sounds like it would be fun to play if I were in the orchestra, which is always important.

  8. Pink Ninjabi says:


    For some reason, this article made me think of you in terms of the questions of what to do after graduation.

    For your blog, the most famous ones are in fact the meanderings of our minds, which really, we find fascinating, and is what I found to be most interesting of your blog. And, according to Orson Scott Card (top New York Selling Author of “Ender’s Game”), “you can write it a thousand different ways, and a hundred different ways would be write. Just WRITE!”

    With that, please deprive us no longer of your wonderful writing, whatever topic you like, we’re here! 😀


  9. Lol. yes, I’ve been waiting for your next thought-provoking post (that shows how much I like your writing). Ps. the song was a good company :).

  10. Rick Bailey says:

    “As it is, sense of self-worth is a fragile thing, and more than I’d like to admit, I actively seek affirmation from strangers such as yourselves.”

    Most people who perform or write, do so for an audience. Certainly those who publish do it for an audience. It’s the nature of the beast.

    “As much as I’d like to pretend to be an emotionally independent human being, let’s be honest – I have a blog, and I write in it. That pretty much pegs me as needy and insecure.”

    I don’t agree. The audience response to your writing (sound and words) is part of the reason you write. The fear of having a piece rejected makes you feel insecure (I know this feeling well). You write (words and music) because you have something to say. Many, many others who write cannot claim this.

  11. Rick Bailey says:

    Dr. Q – who conducted your piece, and how much rehearsal did they get before recording?

    • Doctor Quack says:

      One of the graduate students at UT Austin conducted the piece, and the orchestra got about 25 minutes of total reading, rehearsal, and recording time.

      It’s a pretty damn good recording considering.

  12. Rick Bailey says:

    It’s a very good recording, considering. Very nice to hear your work played by breathing musicians, vice Finale playback.

    • Doctor Quack says:

      Oh, believe me how grateful I am. Finale playback, while the best a playback can be really, sucks the life out of everything.

      It’s easy to believe that computerized performers will replace real performers, that is until you realize just what sort of humanity a real live human being can bring to a set of notes.

  13. desi83 says:

    Wow, I could feel the emotions while listening to that song-like that is what is going in the mind of a very emotionally disturbed person. I liked how it brought me up with madness, down with sadness, then up again with joy…beautifully executed. I don’t know a lot about composing because the extent of my knowledge of music is being a trumpet player in high school. However, I can see that being a piece that would blow audiences away. Again, not being an expert, the only thing I think it lacked was a powerful finale. But as you said in the previous comment, live would be better-more lively and more powerful. Keep sharing your music-it is awesome.

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