A few things that I’ve learned over the past year………
That change is good, and good change is better, but sometimes, you need to keep telling yourself that this is the way to go even if it’s scary…..
That you need to stick to your principles, but with careful consideration, planning, thought of the consequences, and the inevitable outcome. I’ve learned sloppiness in not thinking that process through usually results in a crappy result (thanks for constant reminders, MB).
That sometimes you’re an asshole even when you don’t intend to be. But, if you intend to be, and it’s a chronic condition, see the first thought in this article…….
Speaking your mind when you’ve had enough (or as the result of a lifetime of tiredness from clamming up). It’s like starting a car after it sits for years –awkward, sputtering at first, but then you figure out what to regulate as the words spill out of your mouth, what wars are winnable, and slowly get the conviction to explain yourself and your position. As artists, we can be pretty imbalanced folks. I think balance in life, in all phases, is the key. Knowing when to speak, and when to shut up, is paramount.
That you need to get back to making music for the hell of it, not because it pays the bills (if it can do THAT, in this economy). What got you into the love of music and art in the first place? I think it’s a good question to ask.
That dreams you’ve had as a young person can fade, but new ones can exist, and you need to keep telling yourself that even at the low times when you don’t believe anything anymore. I need to do it, and you do, too. We all have the skills – maybe they’re not Top 100, or Nashville songwriting skills, or world-class music or singing chops, but somewhere along the line, there’s a place to fit in, even for a moment…….
For those people with kids: that parenting is the lifetime gig, the on-going, 24-hour process where you wonder if you ever make a right decision (and for all those parents that think they make the right decision all the time on the clock, well, you’re not listening). Also, giving kids the arts and music programs that usually get cut (as usual, before sports) is truly a gift – kids need the arts at ALL income levels. If the government can’t do it, well, hey, Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland, put on a show and raise some capital for your school! Yeah, right……BUT, it could be so…) So, congrats to the Dallas, Texas I.S.D. for conscientiously putting room in their budget for the arts for 2010…….
Forcing yourself to have confidence not only in artistic and musical situations, but life as well. We get holed up in our own little zones (and ourselves), keeping the pats on the backs coming when we know we give them to ourselves. Breaking out, moving on, realizing when something isn’t healthy – it’s downright scary, but you need to ask, “ Is this the right thing to do, or am I screwing up for myself, and others?”).
What’s gone is done, and what’s done is gone. No matter how much I want it back, it ain’t comin’ down the road to my doorstep again. This applies to notes thrown out into space, compositions created, and paint on a canvas.
Believe me, this stuff that I say, I’m equally trying to convince myself, probably more so than you all!
Let’s see, what else…..well, how about the confidence to move forward and explore new artistic territory, even if it doesn’t pay a monetary reward? I haven’t made a living solely at playing music for years, but I continue to eek out a living in the music and arts business, so I guess this concept works with my wife, too, as long as I don’t break the bank. Take some chances, and move forward into some long, unexplored dreams…..
Treating others with respect when respect is given (it’s a two-way street, and I’m through going down it one way with some people).
What is hip? It doesn’t matter any more – what do you like about music, and why? If it’s 60 years old, or 6 minutes old, why do you like to listen to it, or play it?
Learning to find calm in everyday storms (and compared to what some folks go thru with just surviving in this world, it’s a little tempest in a teapot….).
That the ‘tortured artist’ effect at my age basically becomes a grumpy old dude….
That art and music STILL transcend economics, class, race, gender, and other boundaries. Obvious, I know, but when I see works of art in a ghetto, rich suburb, small town, or another country, it still reinforces the fact that the creation of art shouldn’t, and doesn’t have boundaries, thank goodness.
Fear, self – loathing, ego, low self esteem – these elements still can contaminate our development as artists and musicians. Easier said than done, harder than hell to correct and move on from – the bane, and Catch 22 of all creative folks.
I know that I have a few more in the hopper, but you know, I could be blogging until 2011, so I’m stopping to enjoy the holiday. Might slip another column in before the new year, but if not, will everyone out there reading this please be safe, and do a good turn for someone else to kick start 2010 in the right direction.