what a wild week. i think working at 530 and 6 in the morning a few days in a row is definitely very difficult! and it's worn me down quite a bit, or i should say i've been worn down lately (owning the emotion rather than being a victim of it), and today all of my tiredness/inability to focus at work resulted in spilled milk (literally-- a whole gallon spilled on the floor!), a bad headache, and the desire to curl up and sleep for as long as possible.
but... my mom has been researching cars because our van is just about ready to die, so i got home today and just as i'm falling asleep, she asks if i want to go buy a new prius with her. i felt bad because buying a car is supposed to be exciting, but the last thing i wanted to do was sit in a car dealership and talk about airbags and tires. so i met her half way and dropped her off at the dealership.
before i go on... i have been noticing how much more inspiration lies inside of me since reading some things by henry miller about writing. one of his quotes that especially stood out to me is this:
Every day we slaughter our finest impulses. That is why we get a heart-ache when we read those lines written by the hand of a master and recognize them as our own, as the tender shoots which we stifled because we lacked the faith to believe in our own powers, our own criterion of truth and beauty. -Henry Miller
I love this so much because it's true! I can't say how many times I get the most random impulses to write something down or to play something on piano or to write an email or call somebody. And I probably follow through with about half of those things, but the more open I can be do follow them, the more faith I have in my own decisions... I mean, and that's all just coming from my impulses, things that are already inside of me that I just can listen to and trust a little. It's funny because being "impulsive" has such a negative connotation, but it seems like it does not only sow negative regretful decisions, being "impulsive" by which i mean... allowing those delicate impulses to be lived, can result in insightful or compelling pieces of writing and art. Henry Miller also said that "The truly great writer does not want to write: he wants the world to be a place in which he can live the life of the imagination. No man would set a word down on paper if he had the courage to live out what he believed in." And he goes on to believe "The art of dreaming when wide awake will be in the power of every human one day. Long before that, books will cease to exist, for when men are wide awake and reaming their powers of communication (with one another and with the spirit that moves all men) will be so enhanced as to make writing seem like the harsh and raucous squawks of an idiot." The man is a little extreme, but there's a lot in what he's saying!!
And what he's saying really puts a whole lot of hope into humanity, and especially into humanity that is willing to access their creativity to make a change in the world.
And here he is, a writer, saying that writing might seem like "harsh and raucous squawks of an idiot" who's essentially too wrapped up in a world he creates on paper to change the actual world.
Now when I look at this and think about songwriting-- it's all so similar. I tell people I'm majoring in english and minoring in music, and there's no glamour in it really because people think-- so what? What are you going to DO in life? read books and play music? I mean... music can definitely just seem like squawks of an idiot sometimes. i think lately i've really been feeling how hard it is to do this, to write songs and to work so so hard to get shows together and get people to show up just so i can stand in front of them and pour out some of the hardest things about myself and about life that i've come to realize. do i really have to be that low to feel understood in the world?
And then people say "you did a really good job," and i say thank you... but I can't really understand what about my performance was good, what made the other person like it.... did it make them feel a certain way? did they feel understood? did it just sound nice? was there something i said that stood out... and why?
You know... when I read books I like the aspect of feeling like I'm reading these things the author never talked about. It's like getting the inside scoop, getting whats REALLY there and not having to push away the surface stuff to get there... it's just THERE described very precisely. I love these kinds of books because I feel understood by the author or the character, and I feel like I'm getting something that no one would ever get unless they took the time and opened this book.
I guess there's just so many places in life to dig... and keep finding more and more and more. There's an abundance of meaning if we can search for it.
Songwriting is my method of digging into myself, and I think its important to dig elsewhere, and also to improve ourselves and help our community -- global or local. It is my sincere hope that my improvement starts with my music, and my self-reflection... and that maybe others will feel welcome to investigate themselves too.
In the midst of feeling all of these things, someone was able to tell me that what I'm doing with my music is something others should hear and see... and this person is working really hard in Beaver, PA to help make sure some other people do hear about me and what I'm doing. And when I understood that THATs why he wanted me to perform at his bookstore, I just got this whole realizatioin that what i'm doing does matter, and says more than the personal stuff i'm saying in each song, it says that i'm willing to make this my life to try to make my life better and make other peoples lives better because i believe in this... and i never was able to look at it in that way until David put it the way he did on the phone today. So I really appreciated that lot.
Looks like i've gone a little overboard with impulsively writing my own thoughts down without "slaughtering" many of them at all here in this post. I guess what I meant to write about all along is how I was feeling sort of lost again as an artist, or discouraged, realizing how much work it is and how rare it is that someone gives me that kind of feedback i received today-- or even the outward action of setting up a show FOR me, and asking me to branch out and try performing 5 hours away to see if i can bring/reach an audience out there.
so tonight i went to little italy to eat at amicci's with my mom, italian food was just the kind of comfort i needed, and my mom had never been there so it was nice to be able to show her little italy. when we were walking around after dinner there was an artist on the street, an old man painting, so i went over to talk to him (and my mom, embarrassed and afraid to talk to him because "then you have to buy something," stayed on the other side of the street and waited). I asked him how long he'd been painting and what mediums he used... and if he made a living okay doing it. "since i was 4, and now i'm 63" "all of those are ink" ... "yeah i make a living, every weekend i'm out here." I asked how he got to be so well known and he said he just put himself out there a lot "and never get discouraged" he said... "you just keep trying and showing people what you have." and without explaning this whole explanation i have here in the blog... that little bit of advice hit home. especially coming from a man who's been drawing/painting for 59 years! i mean.. he didn't get discouraged enough to ever give up, and there he is on the corner every weekend still... just hoping people like his art enough to buy it, trying not to get discouraged. strangers have a great way of meeting you when you need them. i'm very thankful for that.
and i'm looking forward to the shows in beaver next weekend! all of this is really pushing me to grow as an artist in places that are difficult. i don't complain because no one is making me do this, it's just a very big part of my life.
thanks for reading all this.