Why You Should Read Books

When I was a kid I hated reading. It was largely because I hated the books our school was making us read. While parents and kids are kind of losing their minds over the homeschooling situation, and this quarantine in general, I think this is actually an opportunity. Reading is obviously important. Books are our window into history, science, mythology, philosophy, and speculation, not to mention God’s revealed Truth, in a way that things like movies, documentaries, and YouTube can’t be.

As I said, I hated the books we were reading in school. All through elementary and at least through middle school, we read something every year about slavery in America. While it was unjust and cruel, by the time I was ten I just didn’t care any more. Homeschooling, I think, is an opportunity to teach kids once that slavery happened in America, but more importantly, it still happens all over the world. Use this as an opportunity to read together about different countries, different religious, and different cultures.

For history class, download some books on your computers, tablets or whatever, and read historical fiction about stuff your kids actually find interesting. For English class, read a couple of books, and have your kids compare stuff they actually enjoy reading to a piece written in the 1920’s that might be in the same or a similar genre. Have them write about what it might be like to have lived in the year 1020, or to live in 3020. Obviously scale these ideas to what is age appropriate.

I think, though, that traditional forms of teaching just won’t work. If your kid doesn’t like reading, but he/she is super interested in mythology or black holes, read books about mythology or black holes. I suggest all of this because I love to read, and I love stories, yes, but also because I think right now, reading and learning together is a good way to keep everyone a little closer together and a little more sane. I honestly do think that book club has been great for my family. I hated Pride and Prejudice, but I love seeing my extended family once a week, discussing the book for ten minutes (which was what happened, at least with the last book), and then complaining and joking for an hour.

I think it also gave us a sense of having a task to complete. We knew that it would take us six weeks to complete Pride, so we could think about those six weeks in terms of finishing a book instead of an indefinite abyss of “what’s next?” This summer, even when the official school year ends, I’d pick out two or three books, or one longer one, just for fun, that will be the kids’ summer reading, but will also be a time keeper. If you and your kids really honestly dislike reading, though, I saw that Harry Potter is on Spotify to listen to, and you can’t go wrong with that.

That Time Of Year

Yup, it’s that time of year again… Time for the pre-camping post. There isn’t a whole lot to say, I suppose. I tend to try and write about how the summer has gone in general and what I hope to accomplish and such, but this summer has been pretty boring. I’mostly okay with that. I think I deserve a little free relaxation time.

I had hoped to get a lot done on my book this summer, and I had hoped to read more. Honestly, the reason I haven’t is simply because I’ve been hanging out. We’ve had a lot of company this summer, and I’ve had my fair share of late night D&D sessions with my friends. I don’t regret it. Come September everyone will be back in school full time, and I’ll get back to work. It’s hard to have a routine when everyone is on different schedules and you’re trying to fit in quality time with everyone before they’re either super busy or just gone until December.

Not to mention, my cousin Nicholas (Dinks) stays with us while my aunt is at work, and I would feel bad if I didn’t entertain him. He’s 13 and can fend for himself, but I don’t want him to be bored if I can help it.

In other news, I’ve been enlisted to play some music at my cousin Jackie’s wedding next summer. I’ve already been working on my set list, and I think I know what I’m going to play. My godmother (Jackie’s mom) wants me to write an original song for her and Jeff (her fiancé). I’m not going to lie, it’s a bit of a daunting task. I’m definitely going to work on it while we’re at camp. I have a feeling this is going to be a hard song to write because I don’t have much personal experience to go off of. My dad suggested starting with a poem or a sonnet and taking the idea, then riffing off of that. It might not be a bad place to start.

I have to find something to wear to this, too, which I know is going to be tedious. I hate shopping. The thing is, my mom will be coming because A) I will need a ride, and B) my dad will do it “wrong.” My mom and I have very different approaches to shopping. I’ll leave it at that.

It seems like every year the number of campers in our group dwindles a little. It used to be a big ridiculous production. We don’t have very many people going at all this year, which kind of stinks. I’ll bring my Bible and the other book I’m reading (Paralandra by C.S. Lewis). I’ll bring my DS, at least for the ride up, but I kind of feel like it’s cheating to play video games at camp.

I’ll also be bringing my guitar. I’ve been hosting a talent show for the past several years and will be doing it again this year. I usually goof around and play a couple songs before the show starts, and then give the stage over to whoever wants to do something. We actually had a few pretty good people last year. It seems to get better as we keep doing it. My cousin Amber usually co-hosts. Last year was the first time we actually used a sign up sheet so we could introduce the people ourselves, and that worked better than expected.

We’ll also be bringing Seamus to camp with us. The thing about conures is that they get very attached to their humans, and if they’re alone for a long time they get lonely and depressed. We were going to bring him to our godparents’ house, because they live close to the campground, but we decided it would be easiest just to bring him with us. Pets aren’t allowed at the campground, but he’s tiny and pretty inconspicuous, and if we get caught we can still bring him to our godparents’. I’m glad he’s coming for 2 reasons: 1) I like breaking little rules when it won’t hurt anyone, and 2) I won’t have to miss him. It’s absurd how much I love my Boo.

I guess that’s it for now.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Almost The End

Yesterday was a good day. It was 70 degrees outside and sunny. I had half meant to do some homework yesterday, but it was too nice out, so I didn’t. I had gone for a walk and talked to the neighbors for a while since they were out, and I cut through their yard to get back to my house. Then I went inside to work on a song, but was drawn back outside by the weather and a need to void my bladder (I had to find my dad to help me with the restroom). When we were back inside he told me that he heard one of the neighbors playing an electric guitar. He didn’t know who it was, but I decided that I needed to be louder than them.

I brought my Les Paul out to the driveway and plugged into the wall in the garage with an extension chord. Then I cranked the amp and played all the loud songs I know. Admittedly there aren’t many. I write and play mostly mellow songs, and it’s hard to make them less mellow even with a noisy electric guitar. Eventually Ben came over to see if it was in fact me who was making all the noise. Ben is around 10 or 11, and he and I are the only people in the neighborhood who play guitar. Our families live about 3 houses apart. When he came over my dad and I had him play something on my guitar. He’s getting pretty good. I think he takes lessons at the studio I record at.

I also finished learning “Guess I’m Doing Fine” by Beck yesterday. I had to change the key because Beck sings too low, which involved more effort than I was hoping, but I have it down pretty well now. I also started learning “Lay My Burden Down” by Alison Krauss yesterday. Normally I wouldn’t think of covering it just because it’s not my personal style, but my songwriting partner and I agreed on it because there isn’t a whole lot of music that we both know and like. Her musical background is Christian Pop and Country, whereas my background is more Alternative Rock and Folk. We’ve finished writing a song together, so I think our stylistic differences work well together.

Last night a friend of mine and her parents came over and I showed them all a demo of my album. We had dinner, hung out for a while by a campfire my dad made and then we watched Star Wars VI. Alycia hadn’t seen the series before, so I showed her IV and V a few weeks ago. It’s my mission to get all my friends and family obsessed with Star Wars. I’m really looking forward to the release of the new one, but I’m apprehensive about Disney working on it. As long as they don’t try and make it kid friendly I’ll be happy.

I’m almost done with my Junior year of college, and I’m really ready to be done. I’m really tired of doing homework, and I need time to get planning my CD release party, promotion, etc. I have a lot of ideas bouncing around in my head, and I need to sort out the bad ones. I’d also like to start performing more, but I’m having trouble finding time because of school and because I’ve been trying to get in a few hours of studio time every week.

The past few days I’ve just been in a slump. I just haven’t wanted to do anything despite the fact that I have too much to do; possibly because of this. I just want a few days to goof off, play some video games and then get to work without anything getting in my way. It’s very annoying having papers due and reading to get through and whatever else. It’s always towards the end of the semester, where I have trouble caring about this stuff. I’m definitely not meant to be an academic. I hate doing research, and I like thinking about art and philosophy and whatever else on my own terms.

Anyway, I’ll stop complaining now. I’ve developed a pretty bad procrastination problem in the past few weeks, but I only have a few weeks of school left. I can do this!

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

2013 Camping Recap

All the tents are coming down and supplies are going back into buckets. It’s only a matter of time before we have to get in the car and head back to Massachusetts. As we predicted, my aunt on my dad’s side, one of my cousins on my mom’s side and I were the only ones who wanted to stay longer. Camping is the best… as long as it’s not raining, and we had a VERY sunny week.

I did almost everything on my camping to do list. We had a boys vs girls Capture The Flag game and to my utter most shame, the boys won. It wouldn’t have been as big a deal except most of them were 10 years younger than us, which meant they were around 6-10 years old.

The talent show went way better this year. The audience was bigger and a few more people were willing to participate. Both of my Godparents did something, which was cool. I distinctly saw a guy with a guitar hiding in the back and I tried to coerce him into playing something, but he chickened out. I need to figure out a way to get more musicians interested in it next year. A lot of people complimented me and said I did a great job hosting it, which was super nice since I’m not exactly used to doing that kind of thing.

Yesterday I swam a mile with my mom, my brother and a bunch of cousins. My dad played floating life guard from his green canoe, which mostly amounted to antagonizing swimmers. The waves weren’t so bad on the way to 3rd Beach, but they were awful on the way back to camp. I’m not the best swimmer, and I was pooped by the time I got back. There were a lot of boats out, and on top of that, it was windy. I ended up going to bed around 8:30, and I matched my sleeping record; 15 hours after finals week last semester. I sleep great at camp anyway.

Some things that I hadn’t anticipated happened as well. I got to hang out with a very cool cousin on my mom’s side who I had previously only known through Facebook. He had a very interesting take on spirituality and he was very fun to talk to. I also did quite a bit of guitar playing and did a little promoting. Today I got to be part of a jam circle which consisted of 4 guitars and a banjo, which turned out to be very fun. We actually jammed on one of my original songs.

I’m doing 1 or 2 open mics next week and I’ll hopefully get a recording session in before summer officially comes to a close for me. I have a week and a day before I’m back to the grind. I’m not looking forward to school as much as I usually do at the end of the summer. I guess I’m just sad that camping is over. It was exceptionally good this year.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Music Buddies

Hey everyone! I just thought I’d do one of my random updates to tell y’all what’s up on the creative world of Katie Rose Curtis. I went into the studio today for a session that ended up being very productive. We’ve finished acoustic guitar, drums and as of today, bass guitar on my song “One.” Today I figured out some of what I’ll do for harmonies and started tracking the electric guitar parts. If I can find the charger for the video camera, I’d also like to make a video for “One” and my newest song, “Learn To Fly.”

Ken and I also talked about taking on a side project once this one is finished. Ken has often mentioned that although he can come up with great ideas for my music, he seems to get stuck when working on his own. He wants to work a lot of it out on his own because he wants his project to be mostly instrumental, but he said that he might want me to write lyrics and sing on a couple of his songs.

Replace My Empty Spaces is nearly finished, and I have 2 shows coming up to close out the summer; August 1st and August 22nd @ Victoria Station (86 Wharf St Salem MA).

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Dreaming In Sound

I played an open mic on Monday in the tiniest bar ever! In fact, the room seemed to be full of musicians and their friends/family and no other patrons. No one else would have fit. It was a really fantastic atmosphere and everyone there seemed awfully nice. I met a band that consisted of two brothers and their dad (who had an awesome beard btw) who were visiting from Florida. There was also a tiny middle aged woman (probably in her 50’s) who played some really strange original songs. She had a good voice and an adorable hat.

Everyone only got to play 2 songs, so I played “One” and “Passenger.” The whole room freaked out. I actually remembered to promote myself this time, so I even got a few Facebook “likes” out of it.

Last night I heard back from someone at Jade Tree. They’re Jets To Brazil’s record label. I had emailed them a while ago because I was wondering what I would have to do/what it would cost to record and sell my own version of one of their songs. Apparently it’s pretty cheap and simple, so I think I’ll put it on an EP or something at some point. Once “Replace My Empty Spaces” is done I’m going to hold off on recording for a while and write some new songs and perform as much as possible.

I met a lady the other night who came up to me after my set and said she wanted to feature me at her open mic in Beverley. I’m going to give her a call today. I’m hoping to play there on July 2nd. Sometimes coordinating this stuff is difficult because I don’t drive so I usually get a ride from my dad and he’s been traveling for work.

The album is 70% finished. I have 3 songs to record and then it’s gloriously done! As much as I love working on it, I’m so ready for it to be finished. We’ve had a lot of delays because Ken is doing some upgrades at the studio. I’m really hoping to finish it before I go back to school, but we’ll see.

I’m also not sure what to do about a release party because Ken’s friend sort of dropped off the face of the earth. There are a few places that I could probably set it up at. It just won’t be as big and grande and epic as I was hoping.

Well I ought to get to work. Thanks for reading!

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Ideas In The Dark

I was bored last night. I’ve been having trouble finding new gigs and I was feeling a little bummed out. I was playing a game on my phone and just thinking about stuff when I had a random, yet awesome idea.

I want to organize a benefit concert/art show to raise money to help the people in Oklahoma. I’ve already enlisted 2 of my friends: Kevin, who is super good at organizing stuff like this and Nate, who is another musician/songwriter. I’ve also possibly enlisted Ken to help us with sound. We just need to figure out a place, date and time. I’m really hoping this can be an outdoor event. Once we have that figured out I’ll put something in the local News paper and probably my church’s bulletin. I’m thinking that tickets will be around $10, and if anyone wants to be in the art show or sell CD’s they will have to pledge at least 10% of whatever they sell. If we can get the word out, I’m thinking we will also take donations from wherever, even if people can’t make it to the show. I think this will work well. I’m super excited. I’ll update you guys when I know more details.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!