on something – no more, no less

It’s been awhile since I felt the urge to create.
No, that’s not entirely true.
The desire always sits heavy in my throat, but I erase the words before me faster than I can write them down. I don’t know, maybe that desire doesn’t mean anything; it’s just something I’m meant to curb for the rest of my life. Not everyone who desires can create beautiful things.
Or maybe it’s just easier to believe that.

I went swimming this week – went to work. Read a chapter in my novel – did the dishes. Worked on a song or two – cleaned my shower . And managed to avoid making any major decisions again and again and again and again.

Other people seem to have this… capacity for making choices that I don’t. Down one path lies a life with reckless abandon, down the other a life crippled by indecision. It seems like we’re all in this… boat, made up of our insecurities. Together. But you can be damn sure it feels like we all exist a million miles apart. So afraid to make the wrong choices, we (or is it just me?) throw ourselves into nothing and call it hard work.

I don’t know what the point is. Maybe one doesn’t exist. “Why worry about it so much”, I ask myself?

If only I could stop.

elishiva out





When I stand on a stage, I feel almost no fear. Sometimes I’m awkward, or my voice screws up; I miss notes, I emotionally detach from what I’m doing; any number of bad things can happen. But for however long I’m up there, I just push onward and don’t focus on the mistakes, or the poorly timed, self-deprecating jokes.

The second I finish, and step away?
Everything changes.

See, I’ve come to realize something about myself. When I’m performing, I feel untouchable. I’m somehow sharing more of myself than I ever would in a conversation with a stranger, but it feels okay. There’s this barrier, this lack of verbal discourse that makes me feel like I am shouting into a void. And the void absorbs what I have to say, without ever shouting back.

When I come back to reality, all of my fears, self-loathing, mistakes: they all hit me like a freight train. I’m afraid of what people will say. Will they ask why I wrote something? Did they notice my mistakes? Were they bored?
It gets worse. Are you ready?


No, that’s not quite right.


No, that’s not quite right.


I don’t know what I want.



I want everything.


Elishiva Phillips


Well, four months into a new city and what have I got to show for it? A new song? that’s… That’s something more than nothing, right?

Whenever I start to work on a new piece, I just start singing whatever words decide to leave my mouth, and see what sticks. Sometimes those words or phrases will start to create these really vivid stories and images in my head, and that is what ultimately starts to shape what direction I take the song in.

The guitar I’m playing lately is the guitar I learned to play on, an old classical that my dad learned to play on.
There’s something rather funny to me about the fact that I’ve moved away, only to move back to something I haven’t touched in years.

The lyrics in their entirety:

When I catch a sunbeam
on my face
It makes me happy
Like so little does these days

When I catch a moment
without you
I often wonder
if anything makes you happy too
I often wonder
if we could be happy too

Clean sheets and heavy hearts
are what’s left of us now
And distance is a thing I’m used to
Between my heart and yours

Clean sheets and heavy hearts
are what’s left of our love
And distance is a thing we keep
we sleep at least a foot apart

So I try to catch a
few sunbeams now and then
Keep ’em in my pocket
until you’re ready to love me again
Keep ’em in my pocket
until I’m ready to love me again

Clean sheets and heavy hearts
are what’s left to us now
And distance is a thing I’m used to
between my heart and yours

Clean sheets and heavy hearts
are what’s left of our love
And distance is a thing we keep
we sleep at least a foot apart

Clean sheets and heavy hearts
are what we’ve got now
And distance is a thing we keep

We’re better far apart
We’re better far apart
We’re better far apart
We’re better far apart

We’re better far apart


Clean Up

So I was organizing my Google drive today, when I found this old poem/song I wrote called the Currency of Love.
Yes, yes, I know, how pretentious.

And it was, at first glance. But then I got to thinking: Where exactly should we draw the line on what’s “pretentious”? I heard it said once, I believe by Jerry Holkins, who I will very loosely quote, that pretension is bullshit. If you are passionate, or driven enough, or feel compelled to speak and learn and create, then pretension is a myth. It’s assholes calling you out and stifling you as a person – there’s nothing wrong with wanting to create something beautiful or inventive.
It’s a nice way of thinking, though I wonder if artists could simply use that as a get out of jail free card. “You can’t criticize me, man! It’s art! You just don’t get it!” Much as I hate that particular attitude, (no one should ever be free of criticism or a desire to learn and grow), I can’t help but think it has a point. If you work hard and create something of value for yourself, who cares if anyone else “gets it”? It should have an intrinsic value to you as a person. Every thought, however random, inane, or flat out wrong that you put out there, forces you to grow when it’s confronted or conformed to.

I believe in calling people out for their ignorance, even if it opens myself up to criticism and disparaging comments.

I believe in creating art, because it makes us empathize, connect, and, ultimately, see the value in things beyond the surface.

I believe in working hard, no matter what anybody says about the value of money, time, effort, any of it, because even if it’s only to your direct surroundings, you have a responsibility to use your sensibilities to improve the lives of the people around you.

And you could say that all sounds pretentious – many would, I’m sure. But I don’t care. I will strive to be the best me that I can be, and if I sound pretentious along the way, who gives a shit. I’m trying to create here. And there’s absolutely nothing pretentious about that.

*mic drop*

Elishiva Out


I sat in my bed today, and thought

“What if I never get up?”

I could just lay here and waste away, like leaves in fall.

It was an idle thought. An easy out. But the world keeps spinning, and I along with it.

And somehow I’m grateful for that, though some days I question why.

It’s an odd thought. When I fall asleep, I’m afraid of never waking. When I wake, I’m afraid of existing at all.
I’m afraid of what each day will bring, and paraylzed at the thought of not being there to experience it.
I wonder what one ought to do with that.


on the newest gaming consoles and ADHD

In all the excitement and hubbub over the next generation of gaming consoles, I’ve been thinking a lot about the future. Specifically, technology, gaming or otherwise, and how it relates to our perceived mental states. I should probably note here that everything to come after this is my own personal experience. I have no backing articles or scientific studies, just my own musings. I might do a follow up with some genuine research later on down the line.

So let’s get on with it then!

When I was a kid growing up in the nineties, I found video games to be captivating. I remember playing this old aircraft fighter that you had to punch in a special code for in the boot up screen on my grandma’s old computer, and playing Chip’s Challenge, Pac Man and early dungeon crawler’s on my parent’s Amiga; I grew up watching my brother’s play games on their Playstation. I can recall my brother Josh playing Final Fantasy VII, and it was absolutely amazing to me that a game could tell me a story like that. Now, as a bit of a spring chickadee, you have to understand that when FFVII came out, I was four years old. That is really young for something to hold my attention for hours at a time. And it had me in raptures. I cried my tiny heart out at a particular moment, which is now infamous among gamer’s everywhere. And it was the first glimpse I had that games could be something more. Not just a tool for learning to focus and problem solve, or have fun, but a vehicle for storytelling, and learning to empathize, and delving into adventures with very real consequences of which I got to feel a part of.

Games were also the thing that fed my fascination with horror as a genre. When I was little, I watched my brother’s play Silent Hill, and my cousin play Resident Evil 3. They scared the hellish snickerdoodles out of me, but to this day, I can’t seem to get enough of them. Again, I think it has to do with the storytelling. The intensity of the environments, with questions of what it means to be human, and really, what is right and wrong? Can you define it on a page, black versus white? Can you make up an excuse good enough that what might be considered wrong suddenly doesn’t seem so bad? It’s probably worth noting that the adrenaline rush playing these games gives you is also great. No better way to heighten your emotions than to scare yourself silly.

All this is to say, that games have been with me a very long time, and have shaped a large part of the way I’ve grown and learned to think and feel. And along with the games I grew up with, came the consoles. Discounting computers, the very first console I ever used was a Playstation. It Was video games to me. I couldn’t fathom a need for anything else. It could play games and CD’s. What else could I possibly need in life? Then came the Playstation 2 in 2000, and the Xbox and Gamecube in 2001.. The leap in graphics, and the ability, at least on the PS2, to play DVD’s and to have a smooth, easy to interact with interface was awesome. Games had never looked better. And I was happy with that.

Now, things get a little more interesting for me from here. Because the next big console launches to start affecting me were the Wii, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. All great, innovative systems in their own rights. And the leaps in what they could do still seem kind of mind boggling, compared to their predecessors. There became a greater emphasis on gimmicks like motion controls, and having your system be an all in one platform that could do everything. Do away with your superfluous technology, we’ve got your games, internet, store, streaming services, and messaging covered. At least to a degree, anyway.

I spent some time with the Wii and the 360 when they first launched, finding both had things I enjoyed, but ultimately deciding motion controls were definitely not for me, and the PlayStation 3 had started to accumulate a more interesting library of exclusives than the 360. So in 2010, I bought myself a PlayStation 3. Now this was a big deal for me, being the first console I ever bought for myself. And I loved everything about it. The games, the ability to check the internet, digital downloads, everything. But the more technology I amass, and the more I find things easily at my fingertips, the more I’ve started to notice… Something not right. In myself. See, I’ve grown up with fairly severe ADD. And I work very, very hard to keep it under control. Sometimes with drugs, sometimes without. And for years growing up, I managed. Not without bumps in the road, but I managed. But the more access I have to things, the more I’ve noticed my brain has stopped shutting itself down. With the press of a button, I have movies, tv shows, video games, youtube, and an online store at my fingertips. When I got an iPhone, I noticed it got even worse. I have always hated it when people can’t seem to stay in a conversation without checking their cellphone. I think it’s detrimental to ones ability to learn to read body language and facial expressions, and to really invest in the people around you. Now? I find myself doing it constantly, impulsively, like my hands can’t stay still. I’ve started keeping an elastic on my wrist, to keep my hands busy and to help calm me down. And I still have to mentally keep myself in check. There’s a lot of mental scolding in my life as of late.

With my phone, I have constant access to flash games, texting, phone calls, facebook, and the void that is The Internet wherever I go. And at home, I have the exact same distractions in my gaming console. And sometimes, it becomes way too much. Too many TV shows to catch up on, too many games to play, too many friends to connect with.

Just… An overwhelming amount of too much.

And it’s actually damaging my mental state, to the point where I don’t know how to cut back. I don’t sleep well at night, because my body is always wanting me to move on to the next thing. I should mention that this was a problem before, but has worsened exponentially in the last two years. I sometimes struggle to converse with those around me, because my brain is elsewhere, or I’m habitually checking my phone, thinking I can multitask just fine.


Your friends and family deserve your undivided attention. For the most part, multitasking is bullshit, and go hump a pineapple if you think otherwise. If the people in your life aren’t important enough to put everything aside for them for a couple hours while you have coffee, or eat dinner, you’re living your life wrong.

I sure as hell know I am.

Bringing it back to consoles specifically, the latest generation of systems is what has brought about a large part of my most recent wave of self reflection.

The PlayStation 4 and XBox One.

At first, I was excited about the console launches. New games, new graphics, new capabilities. But the more I hear about them, the more I’ve started to wonder if I’ll even bother. The PS4 seems like a decent upgrade, though I don’t know that I want or need the new social aspects of the console, such as the share button and the ability to have more friends. I’m likely in the minority here, however, not being an online social gamer. And the Xbox One? It makes every fiber of my being uncomfortable.
Let me note as well, that I thought the 360 was awesome. While I’ve always been more of a PlayStation fan, it was a great console, and I have no particular dislike of it, outside of maybe having to have Xbox Gold to watch Netflix. Fuck you, Xbox, I already pay a subscription fee for that shit!

Other than that, however, my console choice had more to do with game selection and the look of the hardware than any particular loyalty. The Xbox One though? I will never own one.

Everything about it, from the botched announcement that the system would have to be permanently online, to the idea of the Kinect camera potentially being used to sell me specific ads grosses me out. It’s bad enough with my cellphone, I don’t need an invasive camera in my house. And the idea behind voice controls, no matter how well they’re implemented, seems silly to me. How lazy do I have to be that I can’t pick up a controller to navigate the menu? What are you doing with your controllers that losing them is a concern? I lose everything and still my controllers aren’t a problem for me.
A lot has been made of the Xbox’s ability to multitask as well. Play your video game and watch football! Skype your friends while playing Call of Duty! Watch TV while sailing the high seas in Assasin’s Creed 4!

And it all has me wondering:


Why do I need this? Sure I have a short attention span. I get it. I want to do eighty things at once because there’s so much to see and do and experience. But do I need to do that? Is it healthy for my mental state? I’m an extremely impulsive person, and it’s often very detrimental. I spend money on things I don’t need instead of budgeting, I promise to do things that I don’t actually have time for, I start impulsively playing Bejeweled on my phone when I’m mid conversation, and sleeping has become this thing my brain is convinced is a waste of time.

And I hate it. The future of technology is calling and telling me that it’s not enough. My time is never spent well enough; I’m always missing out on the next best thing. And there’s no time to just experience what I’m doing in the moment. You gotta move on quickly, there’s no time there’s no time there’s no time.

There’s never enough time.

Being ADD, the more distractions I’m given, the more anxious I become. I become less productive, and I never finish anything because everything, and let me really stress this, everything feels like it’s at my fingertips. And my impulsive brain wants it all, to the point where it’s stressed because a book now takes too long.

I love reading! That’s ridiculous! But my brain says “no, that will take you hours. Go watch Parks and Rec and throw in a session of XCOM Enemy Unknown. Same amount of time, less work.”

When I look at the Xbox One, and even the PS4 to a degree, it makes me sad. We’re so desperate to create and see the next best thing, that it doesn’t mean anything anymore. We just want to consume everything, and my brain, at least, can’t seem to keep up. It’s not meant to focus on football and play Call of Duty at the same time. I end up splitting my brain and doing two things poorly, instead of one thing well.

There will never be enough time for everything, and I just wish society would slow the fuck down for a change.
We don’t need everything.

I just wish I could get my brain to be quiet and accept that.

I love video games. This is not a complaint about games themselves, in any way; I still get excited about the future of what games themselves can be. But consoles, and technology in general, just seem to be leaving me feeling weary.

If you’re reading this, I’d be curious to know if anyone else notices any of this stuff about themselves, ADHD or otherwise. If the rest of the world isn’t having a problem, that’s great. Colour me impressed and surprised.

Prove me wrong.

Help me feel comfortable with the future.


Elishiva out

on storytelling in songs

I’ve been working my ass off lately in the songwriting department, trying to “find my own voice”, as they say. It’s an odd feeling, sitting down to try and lose yourself in music. My goal as a writer is usually to create a story or an emotion that’s so real you can cradle it in your arms when you need to, or walk down the street with it like an old friend. Is this a peculiar way of looking at something as intangible as a song? Maybe. But if you look at an intangible thing and believe in it as something concrete and palpable, I think it adds a kind of dreamy weight to what you’re doing.

Songwriting tends to be the most cruel of mistresses. On good days, inspiration hits me like a bullet train, and I can work for hours, writing and re imagining and playing and writing some more and you feel on top of the world. Like no work has ever been more important.
On bad days, nothing is good enough. Everyone who’s ever liked anything I do is either lying or has no taste. My lyrics feel cheap, like recycled trash. Everything’s been said and done in a better, more refined way.

I can’t think of anything else that has higher highs, or lower lows. Performing, maybe.

I’ve analyzed other people’s writing to an obsessive degree, and I’m really fascinated by both abstract and realistic songs. Polar opposites, but both, I think, with important things to say. What can I say, I’m a Ben Folds and a Bjork fan. Both sides of that coin interest me. The simplistic stories of everyday life, spoken in a way everyone can connect to, versus the poetry of motion and language and emotion and nature. The former pulls me down to earth; the latter sends me into a heightened sense of what life can be and mean.

I don’t know how to do either.

I’ve tried writing with everyone else in the world’s voice; I suspect that is what one calls doing it wrong. So these days, I take what there is to learn about structure and song building, and listen to what feels right in a lyric, but at the end of the day, I remember that the song has to come from me. If it’s not genuine, it’s not worth doing. So I’ll learn, and I’ll grow, and I’ll strive to connect the ephemeral pieces of the puzzle.

And I will choose to let that be good enough.