Random Thoughts

The thing about being an aspiring artist…

is that it takes an amazing amount of perseverance. It’s impossible to not doubt your own abilities when everyone around you has some piece of advice to offer, and the amount of things you “should be doing” is just crippling. And then to add to it, everyone in the “business” feels the need to be an ass hole (as if they haven’t all been there) because you’re “supposed to have tough skin.” There is no other business in the world like that, where you’re told to “have tough skin” while you put absolutely all of yourself out there. I understand why that’s the case, I’m just pointing it out.

It’s kind of like if you had an idea for a unique restaurant that is all your own and means the absolute world to you, so you decide to give it a shot and build the restaurant. Well the whole time you’re building it people around you are saying to you “have you thought about maybe putting a giant character with a burger for a head out front, because that’s what people love to see” or “yeah I mean your food is really good, but anyone can make food” or “have you been to the Chuck E Cheese down the street, now they know how to make a restaurant.” And then on your opening night you have to call and bug all your friends and feel like a whore, just to have all of them call you back saying “when does the restaurant open again, I’m going to try to make it.” Then the critics show up and are really kind of hoping that it will suck, just so they can say it would suck (because that makes for more interesting writing and talking). Then when it doesn’t suck they say “well keep working hard, you’ve got a long ways to go” without offering you anything really constructive that you could really build off of. Then after a while when your restaurant is really popular, all those same people call you brilliant and claim that they knew you were brilliant from the start and point out that you’re starting to go downhill because you’re getting “too popular.”

Those are on the bad days, of course. On good days, the music world is like a giant party where everyone loves being there and you all create a beautiful artistic expression together. The crowd of non-musicians become part of your piece, they become part of the band, and music becomes a spiritual presence that cannot be explained just as it cannot be grasped, and everyone offers the same amount of themselves, and no one compares themselves to anyone else as we are all unique and bring something unique to the piece, and no one cares who “makes it” and who doesn’t. Man those good days are incredible.

At the end of the day, I never doubt why I’m doing this. If I had a choice, I would drop out. Unfortunately I don’t. This is something that’s written into who I am. Still there are days like today when I just wish God would have written it in my heart to be an accountant.

4 thoughts on “The thing about being an aspiring artist…”

  1. I’m having that day about grad school, too. The day I wonder why I spend hours and hours reading and writing so that 3 people can read what I write, but it has to be done TOMRROW. Or I can revise it 14 times and 30 people can read it. If I had picked law school I would be so much richer.
    But most days I love my life. I think.
    Hang in there.

  2. You know I’m no professional (as much as I’d like to be) but I’ve heard my fair share and worked with my fair share and I know this – you’re better than just about all of them.

    The industry – as it is right now – is still very much antiquated; hampered by years of doing things the same way. But the industry is slowing changing – it won’t happen overnight and we’ll never see the nirvana that Courtney Love always seems to think will happen (sorry about the pun). But there is change on the horizon – actually, my latest blog entry might just be worth a read. Interesting still I wrote my entry long before reading your blog – the timing is rather uncanny.

  3. This is a *great* post–having literally done song-and-dance to sell my books, I definitely feel the whole whorishness side of the creative industry. I think I’ve told you some about the awfulness of my first publishing experience… and have to look on it and be grateful that, hey, people bought the book. Not many maybe, but people did. And I got good reviews–some of them even constructive. I even have a couple of fans (in cute, silent ways).

    I look at where you guys are, so much closer to fame than I even actually hope to be, and am filled with pride, even though it feels like all I’ve done to support you has been buy the CDs and come to a couple of shows that weren’t even with the full band. But I’m still proud. Maybe it’s written on your heart to be a musician, but it takes a lot of guts to stick with it–because even if it’s not a choice, there are folks who deny who they are because it’s not the safe course, because they’re afraid of failure. You’re actually living the path that was given to you, despite the turmoil and the struggle and the obstacles in your way, and I have to think that, in this world or the next, you’ll be rewarded for following the call.

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