Sometimes I think we’re trying to be too many different things, to suit an industry that wants to make money off of us.
I mean, even a no-money-maker like me makes money for things like Bandcamp.com, Spotify, iTunes, printing companies, PR reps (I mean I don’t have one, but people at my level do…we turned down a couple with cloudlight, and probably shouldn’t have, this is a hard path, but it’s harder to consider paying $$ for such an unpaid path)
There are splits and percentages and merch companies and they sell us web design and rental fees and Patreon even takes a cut. It’s all money, and business.
And I AM NOT A BUSINESS PERSON.
Or rather, whenever I try to be, be responsible and do the right things, the art has to go on hold…
Just spent an hour organizing tees with my design, posting/sharing a poster, that’s just to promote one little show. Not to mention the practicing, learning new skills (looping is my current endeavor), the $200,000 invested in conservatory training + MFA, the bands to be in, the drummers to try playing with, the booking, the research, the emails, I don’t do about half what others do…maybe I do less than 10%…and I feel guilty about this. But I hang on, instead, to the hope of a stranger reaching out to me offering to help. Or offering to rep me and do the dirty work and then just say “hey do you want to do this, this, this?” and I can say yes, and they can say consider it done…and then take 10% or 20% or whatever is common.
I think we are expected to do so much. But who would do all that work or research for someone else? It’s a labor of love, its a business profiting off artists…we are all suffering in some way, as far as I can tell. Every band/singer-songwriter/indie musician is forced to have quiet underlying pipe dreams of someday when it might get easier. Maybe not all of us, but I imagine most. Most slave away and hope someday they can focus more on the art.
I talked with a friend today, and was reminded that I COULD do that…really focus on the art/music…by just doing it FOR MYSELF. Like stay at home and don’t play shows or record or release, etc. Just play / write for me and the ceiling/sky/God/universe, alone in my room. She didn’t say that, but it was easy to infer from our conversation. That that is always an option. So the real takeaway is that, yes, this is for others.
And then there’s the challenge of, how hard are you willing to work to get this into the ears/hands/eyes of others? How much of your hard earned money are you willing to sacrifice? How many hours will you write emails? How much pride can you swallow to make it clear to all, that you are not successful, that for all the images built, you mostly sell nothing and can’t keep doing it without their support? That you need them? That you need help? How do you say those things, without making them feel bad? Because who do you say them to, if the people you know are not your ideal ‘market’? i.e. if you’ve identified that you’re looking for the quiet, broken, discouraged people…and those aren’t the people you know? I don’t know…I really don’t know.
I know there are sooooooooooooooooooooooooooo many talented people in this world. Sooooooooooooooooooooooo many people deserving of success, fame, fortune, help, kindness, kudos, accolades, etc. I don’t know how to reconcile all I want for myself, and how much I want all of that for others too. It breaks my heart in two. Like I feel like, similar to having a split mind on the concept of money (wanting to be comfortable and have needs met + also wanting to give away money and buy things for loved ones…I’m probably a mess from being so heavy in debt my whole adult life), I’m learning I have a split heart. Half of it is FIERCE – wanting to blast through outdated ways of seeing the world, seeing ourselves, blast through conventions that make us afraid to speak. And the other half is ready at all times, to retreat at the first sign of danger or even discomfort. Waiting for shoes to drop, off phone lines, or whatever that colloquialism is…
To the world, continuing on while I do all this nonsense (catching up/spinning out with all these challenges): I want you to know, I see you but I can’t listen much right now. There is so much to say and do and I don’t know how to do it. I don’t know how to be all the things coursing, pouring through me. I don’t know how to become what I sense you need me to become. More consumable, more tangible, more marketable, more purchaseable, more attendable, more polished, more fierce in representing you…instead of just focusing on myself and my traumas. If I could figure out a real way to be a spokesperson for the broken people of the world, I would. But instead I feel trapped inside my own head and perspective. Even trying to give some advice or support or feedback today, I couldn’t stop using my own life as example…my way of speaking…so trapped inside that I fear ever saying a thing about anyone else, ever assuming what another’s experience is like…how can I represent what I don’t understand? Even through a million hours of listening, I’ll never know what it’s like to be you. I can only see from behind my own eyes…feel what’s in my skin…
Okay, it’s about 6 hrs later. Bry asked me how my kombucha was doing, and then I got distracted (and forgot I was even in the midst of this), ended up watching Japanese reality TV while assembling some discs for my merch sales tomorrow. Usually I only sell one or two, at absolute most, so I really should only do all this if I enjoy it…but my damn A-student nature sees all of what’s possible, and always thinks it has to do ALL of it. Even if it’s til 2:42am when the next day I have to get up at 6:45 and drive to GR and volunteer teach some piano classes and socialize with kids and adult women and then prep for a show in the evening…I think it’s just stress. I think I was born to be a truly true introvert, except my one on one piano teaching. Which is something I can psychologically manage. Like each house I go to, or if they come here, I know what mood and personality and amount of practice (usual) to expect / prepare myself for. So every time, I manage, all the feelings…it passes, it’s okay, it flows through me. I’ll never get rich as a piano teacher, but my basic needs are met, somewhat. I mean, travel around to see family isn’t a ‘basic need’ but with the recent moves it’s feeling like one…pretty disturbing and new for me, to only be able to see family if I have extra $$$ by the hundreds lying around…or if I turn a visit into a tour.
I dunno. It’s late. I should go to bed, but I’m just so worried for how my body/mind will handle all this bustling and shuffling around…it’s not something I’m comfortable with anymore. Why am I even trying for any more success or money or responsibility than I currently have, I think it’s pretty clear I can’t handle it well. Anytime my schedule ramps up, something in me shuts down a bit…and I can barely think straight or take care of myself.
I hope everyone in the world is okay tonight, but I know they’re not. I know most people live with too much pressure and stress. I hate being this feeling of a being sometimes. Does everyone think like this? Am I just too alone, B gives me lots of space – to breathe and be and create – and sometimes I wonder if it just means time to get lost in my head…it’s all uncharted, and maybe we’re not supposed to explore our minds like they’re an ocean. Maybe it’s supposed to be used to get from point A to B, like here’s the boat, here’s the ocean to cross, lets go, then you go, you leave A and arrive at B and think ‘hey I went thru that pretty well, good job self on your ocean adventure!” As opposed to my sailing out to the center, away from A or B, and just floating there…meandering a bit…not really headed to anything…as if the travel is the point, or the being IN the ocean is the point…I see these reality shows and everyone has goals, and maybe that’s my whole problem. I don’t know what any of this is unfolding to, and I don’t really care to know…I feel like all the credit/power/glory/whatever-word-you-aren’t-triggered-by goes to something MUCH bigger than me. God, in my case. Everyone I know who thinks they are in control of things, who works hard to control things, seems one mishap away from no-control…to me anyway. I can see the folly of EVERYONE. Self-included. It is grace of God to me. Something out there – that I call and believe is God – kind of, um, cares for me? Seems to help? I mean, all this talking to myself…you wouldn’t believe how much more than this I talk to God, all day, every day. I can’t function really. I’m dependent. I’ve felt a strong sense of having some sort of heavenly muse since about 2007 or 2008. Like doing FAWM turned on some faucet and now I’m just being …used?
I know every composer and writer like me tends to credit something…
The ones unlike me, who I admire, the Vonneguts and even darker, still seem possessed by a muse.
I don’t know. That’s all probably TMI, I mean, I know some people don’t believe in God. Or anything outside of reason. But my reasoning skills are SOOOO limited, and I trust in electricity, and blood flowing in my body, and doctors and people who are wise in subjects I don’t know…I trust my elders, nuns (like my grandma), people have saved my life over and over. My grandma gave me advice once, “you are not your anger, it is just something that needs to move through you.” She believed I’d get through my hardest saddest times…she was so right but I couldn’t see it at the time. Others have seen strength in me that I didn’t know was there. I dunno…I have to believe in God, or I don’t have to, but I genuinely do. Too much syncronicity in my life to date, to explain any other way than there being something cosmic and glorious and bizarre and other-worldly going on that we don’t understand. For me it’s God, but I also accept and appreciate that for some its aliens, plural gods, many other things…personally I was raised Presbyterian (non-evangelizing form of Christianity, I don’t really identify as “Christian” because of the ways that word and term has become associated with churches that I think have become corrupted…boy this is getting heavy…it’s late, like 3am, I think I’m stress/fear blogging! haha fear of going to work/volunteer long days all week, no sleep, not knowing what it’ll be like even tho its my 5th year with GRGR….how is that a good excuse to tell a million personal details about my life? I think I’m inspired by Terrace House… I need sleep, goodnight).