Thursday, October 27, 2016

Can You Find...

What You Have?

Here's my philosophy about information and specifically information that I possess: If I can't find it, I might as well not have it.

So all the information that I possess, be it emails, pictures, videos, files, links, whatever, I can find pretty quickly. It was just a matter of setting up folders and sub-folders, and this is important, actually putting the information in those folders as it comes in.

This is much more time consuming to set up than to maintain. Once it's up and in place, it's easy to keep going. have to do it, or it will just devolve into the same old mess.

So if someone sends me a picture of me playing music tonight at the Wild Goose...I label the picture: GB/Goose/10-27-16 then go to my folder called “Pictures”, subfolder “Me”, subfolder “Music”, subfolder “Wild Goose”, subfolder ”2016” and drop it in that folder. Done. And I can find it at a moment’s notice should I need it for any reason. Most of the things I file away like this, I will never use or maybe never even look at...but I have no idea which ones I will use or need to look at, so I file them all this way.

As I said, it’s a lot easier to maintain than set-up. But I took the time to do it, so now all I do is maintain it. If I have it, I can find it.

Same with emails. The only emails I keep in my inbox are pending matters like emails regarding scheduling lessons this week…or notifications of new posts from youtube channels that I subscribe to that I want to watch soon…anything that’s current and not something I want to lose or file away. Everything else I either delete, handle, and/or put in a subfolder in my email account. I have over 700 subfolders and my inbox as of this writing has one email in it. I never lose emails. Anything important I can find pretty fast.

I realize that I am a pretty organized person. For a musician, I’m like NASA level organized. But I’m not super uptight about it. I’m actually pretty relaxed about it. It’s the people who are not organized who always seem to be raging about misplacing something or other. And they’re often not too clear about their mission or purpose either. I am pretty clear about my mission. That too was harder to get clear about than maintain. But I took the time and got clear about it. Now I just want to enact that mission. Being able to find the information that I have at a moment’s notice helps me do that. So that’s why I set up my information this way. Because if I can’t find it, I might as well not have it.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Get Over Yourself

And Be Happier For It

I think I am basically a happy person. And by happy, I mean I feel good about and enjoy my life, I don’t covet anything, and my days are not filled with discontent. I’m not wildly ecstatic or giddy or smiley all the time, far from it. I have my ups and downs like most people do, but generally, I feel happy with the quality of my life and I feel that way most of the time.

And here is the key to this happiness: Getting over myself.

Sure we can all improve our circumstances, but the happiest people I know are over themselves. And the more someone is over themselves the happier they seem to be. They might not accomplish as much as striving competitive ambitious people, or people who consider themselves specially destined for greatness, but they definitely seem happier. It’s certainly been true for me.

Contrary to the American Dream, I don't think that success makes people happy or helps them get over themselves. I know some happy people who are also successful, but I don’t know anyone who’s happy and successful whose happiness is based on their success. The happiest people I know, whether they’re successful or not are over themselves.

I'm not saying don't succeed, by all means do, but in my experience, the thing that helps people get over themselves the most is failure, facing death, and the experience of limitation.

When I’ve really been humbled, then at least I have the opportunity to get over myself and just be a person doing what I love as much of the time as I can, and rolling with the rest. I don’t look down on other people or consider myself inherently better or worse than anyone else, and I’m happier for it.

For me failure is the best teacher of this. But the funny thing is, I can't fail unless I try, so I have to try and, you know, "Follow my dreams." and all that, but as I see it, it's not the dream coming true that will make me happy, it's what I might learn if I fall short.

The flip side is also true. I can wallow in failure, martyrdom and self-pity, and I need to get over myself when I do that as well, at least I do if I want to be happy. Striving and wallowing may be necessary at some points in every life, and it may be a given person's nature to strive or wallow, but I don't associate either of them with happiness because they both hold a person apart in some "special" zone instead of in the soup with the rest of humanity.

What makes me happy is to get over myself, the idea that I am “special”, extraordinary, gifted, and deserving of some special destiny, and instead realize that I am an ordinary person, part of a huge evolving Universe, lucky to be here at all, doing my work and playing my part, no better or worse than anyone else. And the only thing that really teaches me this is failure, missing the mark, limitation, and death. If I had been more successful when I was younger, and by successful I mean had more worldly acceptance and appreciation of my work, I doubt if I would be as over myself, and as happy, as I am now. It was failure that forced me to recognize my humanity and my essential ordinariness.

So I say: Go for it. Follow your dreams. Reach for the stars. And keep reaching until you fail. That’s where the gold is. Once you fail and get over yourself, you can just do it for love and be happy you’re doing it at all.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

October News

From Gene Burnett

I’m happy to say I now have hard copies of my new album “Love & Heartache”. I still have to wait for my web man to get it up on my site…I still have to send a copy to CD Baby for them to make it available on their site as well through them to iTunes and other e-retailers of music…but it’s still nice to have the hard copies in hand. My albums hardly sell at all. I would make more money from music each year if I didn’t record anything. They only get heard by a very small number of people. But I feel that recording them and sharing them is something I need to do. I’m proud of these songs…they tell the stories of my life. Yeah, I know, who cares about that…these are pretty much vanity projects…but when someone else resonates with one on my songs…when it releases a similar charge for them that I felt when I wrote and recorded it…it’s a really nice feeling...the feeling of making a connection through sound, words and melody. I never know if any given album will be my last. I wonder every year if I have anything else to say and I wonder that now. But in any case, this baby will be up on my site pretty soon and I’ll let you know right here when it is.

I posted a few new videos this month: 3 Rogue Poetry Slam videos, 3 T’ai-Chi videos, and one Misc. video. See links below in the Video section of this post.

So here we go…I’m going to start with local shows in case you’re in the Rogue Valley and then proceed with the usual information about where to find my music, videos, and pictures, including information about new projects.

There is so much to listen to and watch on the net these days…I’m amazed anyone even gets this far in the newsletter let alone watches or listens to anything I’m doing. I’m sincerely grateful for every view, every listen, and every nice comment I receive. I’m happy if anything I post truly reaches even one person. I’m offering all this stuff in a “just in case you’re interested” spirit.

Upcoming Shows:

Monday, October 3rd, I'll be playing at one of my favorite Ashland venues, Liquid Assets. A relaxed living room vibe with great service, excellent food and wine, and a really nice place to listen to music. I play from 8-10pm

Wednesday October 5th, I'll be hosting my regular Themed Open Mike at The Wild Goose Café & Bar. Usually this happens on the First Wednesday of every month. This month's theme will be our “3rd Annual  Country (ish) Songs”, so musicians and spoken word artists will be doing songs and poems, covers or originals, that are country-ish in any way. We're never too strict or narrow about the themes for this event. The main idea is to focus our attention a little to hopefully inspire and motivate us creatively. These are always fun community events. No Cover at the friendliest bar in Ashland. Sign-up is 7:30pm. Show starts at 8:00pm.
*A heads up for next month: Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016: “6th Annual Political Songs”

Wednesday, October 11th, I'll be playing at The Wild Goose Café & Bar.  Just me solo from 8-11pm. Friendliest bar in Ashland. Never a cover at The Goose.

Saturday, October 15th, from 10am-Noon, my good friend Jesse Biesanz and I are hosting a Hacky Sack session at the Band Shell in Lithia Park. This will happen on the third Saturday of every month. We both miss the fun and camaraderie of a good friendly Hack Circle and…more importantly, we miss the practice! It’s fun, aerobic, cooperative, demands balance, coordination, quick thinking and accuracy…So whether you’re new to the game, or an experienced player who wants to brush up your skills, or an expert who just wants to meet some new players, come on by. Hacky Sack basically involves keeping a small footbag in the air, usually leather and fairly soft, using only your feet. When there are more than two players, it’s usually played in a circle. If the circle gets too big, it is split into smaller circles.

The only rules of this Hack Circle:

1. You’ve got to use your feet to keep the sack in the air and off the ground. No hands! (10 voluntary pushups if you do)

2. If you miss or otherwise screw up, you can’t say, “I’m Sorry.” (10 voluntary pushups if you do)

3. No serving to yourself. (10 voluntary pushups if you do)

4. No hotdogging. Meaning this is not about how many tricks you can do before the sack hits the ground, and it’s not about working obsessively on tricks. Tricks are fine but in general, we want to keep the hack going as a friendly group and keep everyone involved.

See you at the bandshell, rain or shine. The shell provides shelter from the rain and once a circle gets going, you’ll be plenty warm.

Tuesday, October 18th, I'll be competing with many other poets at the Rogue Poetry Slam which happens at Caldera Tap House in Ashland. Sign-up is at 7:30pm and the show starts at 8. $5 cover, all of which goes to the winning poets. If you've never been to or competed in a Poetry Slam, I highly recommend this one. Come to watch, compete, or be one of the judges. Some people think of slams as hardcore hip-hop events or places where people are mean and talk trash, but nothing could be further from the truth. All kinds of poetry are welcome and people are very supportive. And it's so nice to participate in an event that is all about the words, or in my case, lyrics. For me it's really not about winning or losing, but just the fun of sharing my words with people and seeing what happens.

For more info about these and all of my shows, and to confirm that there have been no cancellations, click here: Calendar  

Since I'm putting this newsletter out once a month, it's possible there may be a cancellation of a given show by the time it happens. Please double check with my web calendar if possible to be sure the gig is still happening. I'd hate to have you come out for nothing. Also another gig or two might be added or times or locations might change, so do check the calendar for the latest info.  

Recorded Music

All of my over 30 albums are available for downloading free or with a donation at my website:

Videos In General

Overall Mission: I post a lot of videos on youtube, over 1000 so far! I'm not trying to build a fan base...In fact, I'm not trying to build anything. I'm not expecting you or anyone else to follow what I'm doing or watch all of these videos. Posting videos is just part of my overall plan to make my music (and my T’ai-Chi and Nature videos too) as freely available as possible and see what freely comes back. I think of each video as sort of like a message in a bottle...and more I toss out there the more likely one of them will land on a friendly shore and something good will come back to me. So here are some video links in case you're interested:

How to Find My Videos: First of all, I've set up a "Videos" page on my website ( with a menu similar to what you see below as well as a digital tip jar in case any of you want to contribute to my cottage industry. Every little bit helps and not just financially. 

I've also set up some blogs that make navigating and viewing my various videos much easier. You can go to any of these blogs and see thumbnails for all of the videos posted there. Scroll across the thumbnails and you will see the titles of each video. Click on it and a page will open that will let you watch the video right there without going to youtube. My latest videos are always in the upper left hand corner.

To see all of my Music videos in one easy to navigate place, click here: The Unforced Videos

To see all of my T'ai-Chi videos in one easy to navigate place, click here: The Unforced Movement

To see all of my Nature videos in one easy to navigate place, click here: The Unforced Nature

For a quick and easy way to sort through, listen to, or download all of my albums free or with a donation, click here: The Unforced Music

To see my regular blog “The Unforced Life”, click here: The Unforced Life

To visit my youtube channel and possibly subscribe, click here: My Youtube Channel

To see all of my youtube playlists click here: My Youtube Playlists 

New Videos

Three new T’ai-Chi videos:

Three New Rogue Poetry Slam Videos:

One new “Misc.” video:


I've stopped posting as many pictures on facebook, (for many reasons), and started posting them instead on Flickr, which I like much better.

Here's a link to my "home page" at Flicker: Photostream.

I have many photo galleries there but a few of my favorites are:

Small Miracles (mostly Nature related stuff)

The Dish Whisperer (I started posting a daily picture of my dish stacking work over a year ago. I recently crossed the 1400 straight days mark. I have no idea how long I’ll keep doing this. I’m so used to it, it hardly takes any effort at all to continue. I made a video for my song “I'll Do The Dishes Tonight” that featured a slideshow of the first year. I made it through my second year recently, and hope to create another video slideshow set to another of my songs. Stay tuned…)

"Head" and "Boot" (devoted to our two gerbils)


I continue to offer all of my albums for downloading, free or with a donation at my website: I started doing this about 8 or 9 years ago and considered it a 5 year creative experiment. Well the 5 years passed and I decided to start calling it my "ongoing creative experiment" as I have no plans to stop. Since I returned to my folk roots and stopped climbing, or trying to climb, the industry ladder, I've been enjoying music in my life more than ever before. And enjoyment, rather than achievement or worldly success has always been dearest to my heart anyway. So now I focus totally on what I love most: writing, recording, performing and sharing what I create. If other people like it, so much the better, but getting other people to like me or what I do is no longer my goal or focus. I'm out to please myself first. I want to do my music exactly the way I want to do it and see who likes it that way, not figure out what people will like and try to do it that way. I put it out there freely and see what comes freely back. So far so good. I've never had more success and appreciation than I have since I started doing it this. Go figure. 

Thanks, as usual, for your support and well wishes even if you don't make to any shows.