The joy of multiple projects

Sonoita, Arizona, 2013

Sonoita, Arizona, 2013

I have long preferred working multiple projects of different disciplines simultaneously.

In college, as a scientist, I loved to solve musical problems while taking a break from examining high resolution photographs of the moon. Sometimes I would paint, or work on geometric designs.

While a writer at the paper, I frequently composed or did historical research completely unrelated to what I was working on for the Tucson Citizen.

And as I worked last summer on editing my documentary on El Casino Ballroom I found myself drawn to the desert to photograph the mountains, or into the studio to work out some new sound or reexamine a piece of music I’d been working on.

I am at my best when I am working in three unrelated disciplines at one time. I find more relaxation in setting one project down and heading to another than in watching TV or just taking a rest.

That’s not to say I don’t enjoy a good, long period of sleep after the completion of a big project, and long walks as often as I can squeeze them in.

But for whatever reason my mind thrives on multiple projects.

Multiple projects engage my senses in different ways and release me from each other. When saturated with work on one I can jump to another, even if just for a few minutes, and be ready to work fresh again with the main project of the day.

I also prefer projects where I am constantly learning. Still photography helps me see things in new ways. Filmmaking helps me re-imagine the art of story telling. And composing puts me in other worlds and states.

Now as I work on a new documentary on the mariachi movement in Tucson, prepare for work toward my Jonestown opera and continue to search for beautiful places to shoot in Arizona, I also find myself considering a book project – or three.

I have long toyed with the idea of an autobiography. My life has been incredibly silly and full of odd coincidence. I have met many wonderful characters over the years, and doubtless some of them consider me to be one myself.

A mariachi book at some point almost seems inevitable, as does one on the impact of recording on music making.

And at some point I feel a book of photos should be in the works. I already have a title for a volume of desert photography. “Sky River and the Moon People.”

Meanwhile I have work to do.


~ by Daniel Buckley on March 28, 2013.

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