Where on earth did January go? The thought that this year might move even quicker than 2011 did fills me with a mild sense of panic. Something for me to keep in mind: how to stay grounded and calm, or else learn to surrender to the roller-coaster that life seems to have become.
I have to be honest with you all. I really hate blogging. I’m actually painfully shy when it comes down to it, unless of course you really get to know me better, in which case, I’m only somewhat shy. So this whole culture of sharing every single thing that happens to you is a big challenge for me to even participate in, even on a professional level. I tell myself that if I structure the blog entries down to the word, and plan their releases down to the second, I’ll be able to control or tame my emotional response to creating them. No such luck, I’m afraid. Every entry last year was produced with no small amount of terror.
And now, as irony would have it, I find myself going through the same process while creating this blog entry. It feels a bit like that scene from “Throw Mama From the Train”, where Larry (Billy Crystal) just can’t get past “The night was...” – it’s absurd, and also a little frustrating, though in this moment I’ve decided I’m just going to accept that it’s happening. A good first step perhaps.
But still I have to ask myself, why do it? What’s the point? Why put yourself through all that pressure of trying to participate in a process that seems so stressful?
In addition, there’s a whole sincerity issue that I get tripped up on. Somehow, when making music, I never seem to doubt that I’m being honest. If I write a song, produce it to the best of my ability given what resources I have, and put it out there, then whatever happens, even if everyone hates it, I feel I can stand firm in knowing I did my best and meant what I said. But when it coems to talking about my work, or writing about it, in blog form, mailing list form, or even social media post (perhaps especially social media post), it somehow feels different.
It feels like all of a sudden I’ve left the normalcy of making beautiful art, and entered the bizarro world of making a sale. I feel like Shelley Levine trying to push you on dud leads, or that car salesman I remember from ’05, angling to make me a deal, or that food corporation on TV telling you why you should buy their pasta sauce. The whole vibe just doesn’t seem entirely genuine. Which is so weird when I think about it. How I can be so sure about the work I’m doing, but then so unsure about communicating—not even marketing, just communicating—about it?
And finally, there’s the whole concern about egotism. I experience there to be such a fine, and very often foggy, line between honest self-expression through art, and using art as a means to inflate or validate one’s self-image. I’m not qualified to judge which is better, I only know that which I wish to participate in, which is the former. But I have experienced having an egoistic worldview in the past, and perhaps like the reformed addict, the prospect of a backslide is incredibly concerning to me, no matter how clear and strong my intention feels today.
Okay. So that addresses the source of the anxiety. With no answers—doh!—, but at least the feeling of having pinpointed some things. The second, and perhaps more salient, part of the question asks and then challenges what assumptions I may have made about needing to communicate in such fashion at all. Essentially: if it’s so stressful, why do it? If it’s not about ego, what’s driving you to go through all this muck? Why not just make the music, release songs sporadically, and have done with it?
Shit. Bloody hell and enough with the tough questions already.
The only answer I have is the little part of me that believes that somewhere down the line, I might be able to do some good with the work that I am creating. That in some way, the songs and stories I am generating, in addition to perhaps being moving or touching or joyful or cathartic, might themselves create channels and avenues and opportunities that connect people together, help people open up to themselves, to one another, and to the universe, the way I feel connected when I’m in the process of creating. And that commitment to connection must encompass all aspects of the process. Not just the easy ones and the fun ones, the painful and the nerve-wracking ones too. Not just the creating, but the sharing as well. And for the sake of all that I feel I must keep trying, pushing past that kicking and screaming part of me that wants to stay safe and unheard, write as best I can what comes from my heart, as well as I can hear it, and just keep going. Spread the word, slowly, step by step. Evolve, grow, and change. Always.
I’m not entirely sure what’s prompting me to write this (he says, one small tome later). For some reason, I’m just moved to. Perhaps it’s in some way connected to how fast we all seem to be travelling through time nowadays. The sheer speed of it all ellicits this outpouring of... goodness knows what. I can only hope, or perhaps trust, that it’s entertaining or insightful in some way.
And yes, there are plans for new songs, new stories, as well as new ways to connect and interact. Early stages yet, and I’ll do my best to keep you well updated in the coming weeks. For now, buckle up, have a great ride, and always remember: nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition... : P
Travel safe and talk soon.