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I Found My People!
By Paula Carpenter - 06/02/2002 - 01:08 PM EDT

Allow me to paint a picture here...see if you recognize it:

OK, you don't live in a major music center. You don't even live in a CENTER...of anything, much less "major", and Heaven knows, not "music"! You live 'somewhere
out there', unknown to the music world, yet chock full of talent, and just dying to get somewhere with your music, your goals, your dreams.

And here's the next thing: people think you're strange. OK, well, maybe not strange, but odd, at least. Because you are, let's say, a family person, with an ENTIRELY different profession, which you do indeed practice, in order to make that annoying must-have --- cash to live on. You are...a mom, a dad, a husband, a wife,a telecom exec, a teacher, a banker, the Fedex guy, an attorney, a truck driver...you get the picture. You are not the TYPE...who writes music, is famous, has a dream of being THAT GREAT SONGWRITER/ARTIST person! Because...shall we take this picture I'm painting a little further...

You live in a fairly conservative community. They don't "get" musicians and songwriters. See, we like to spend HOURS alone, in small rooms, thinking of just the right turn of the phrase, or the right right move in the melody... and WHERE is that elusive chord??? Lately, you've turned into a bit of a liar, even: "Just a minute, honey! I'll be down in about 5 minutes, after I get this tune finished" -- famous last words! 3 hrs. later, you look up, and sheepishly come out of your cubbyhole, or out from under your rock, to face the REST of the family -- if they're still there,that is, and haven't gone on to the movies, or to the mall, or to the lake, or to the beach, or wherever normal people (people who are NOT songwriters and musicians) go! They have sighed their sighs, written Dad/Mom/Sis/Bubba/Grammy/Peepaw/Uncle Mert...WHOEVER THE HECK YOU ARE...off -- as a "musician", who is, you know, just that sensitive, creative type.

You wish you could find out if you're nuts or not. You wonder if there truly ARE OTHERS LIKE YOU--kind of like an Alien looking for LIFE ON THE PLANET -- who long to be discovered, play their music, see their songs in print/on albums...and best of all, HEAR THEM ON THE RADIO! Or, that dream of dreams...when the credits roll at the movies, instead of seeing "John Williams", (no offense, Mr. Williams and others!) or Elton John, or Dolly Parton, or Diane Warren, or whoever the heck ELSE is making the big bucks with their songs in the blockbuster movies -- you (and these other LIFE FORMS you'd like to meet...) see YOUR NAME! As either the songwriter, the artist, whichever, take your pick, this is YOUR dream...

So...what should you do? When you're feeling misunderstood, laughed at, silly-for-dreaming, and so on? Should you have an affair? Get a divorce? Should you ditch your friends? Should you buy a new set of parents? Trade in your kids?

No, No, No! None of the above! You should TAKE HEART, my MUSICAL FRIEND! YOU ARE NOT ALONE! I started to say,"you are not strange", but see...I don't KNOW that! : ) At least, you are not alone, in your dreams of musical/songwriting/recording artist fame.

How do I know this? Because, 17 years ago, as I have mentioned in my previous articles (you REALLY must go back and read those articles, to get a clue here, of where I'm coming from...) I ventured out of my comfort zone in Texas,my community of friends and family, to the MUSIC SEMINAR I've mentioned before, which was the catalyst of change -- the diving board into the big swimming pool of the Music Industry.

And there...there....I FOUND MY PEOPLE. Like I said, I had felt, as you sometimes do, like an ALIEN looking for OTHER LIFE FORMS, like a fish out of water, like a strange, flamboyant peacock of a bird
in a flock of "birds of a feather"... for SO LONG...in my wonderful, conservative community, with my loving, and much-loved-by-me family... that I almost wept with joy, to see all these CRAZY PEOPLE, JUST LIKE ME! All seeking the same thing: a door into the music industry. An opinion on a song --
am I talented? Am I nuts?

To sit in a seminar, and to HEAR MY DREAMS COMING OUT OF SOMEONE ELSE'S MOUTH -- wow, what a relief. THERE IS LIFE ON THIS PLANET! I'm NOT crazy!

I went home after that seminar, so relieved. So happy. So... basically VALIDATED that others shared my dream...that I was indeed, not as odd as I had thought. I remember visiting with my mom and dad, in their little home town in Oklahoma, not long after that, and telling my mother... ...I FOUND MY PEOPLE!

With no implications, that my great FAMILY are not 'my people' ... they are my dear and treasured life's blood, actually...but they did not quite 'get' me, in terms of my musical dreams. (they do, now, I'm happy to say!) There was just this immense sense that...THERE REALLY ARE OTHERS LIKE ME, WHO HAVE WALKED THIS WALK, WHO SHARE MY DREAMS -- and IT CAN BE DONE!

I FOUND MY PEOPLE!

So NOW...in the age of the internet... you have SO many more options. While in-person, face-to-face hob-nobbing and seminars and conferences are VERY important, you DO have the option of "finding your people" online. What a relief. To sit in the comfort of home, to visit a chat room, to share ideas, to 'talk music', to someone else 'out there', who knows what you mean! It's a great, great thing.

Whatever you do, however you pursue it...(and if you're reading THIS...then you probably have already FOUND YOUR PEOPLE in these great online songwriting resource sites. Still, remember that the FACE TO FACE STUFF IS SO IMPORTANT! See my last article, entitled: "BEING THERE"!) One way or the other ... you've got to connect. You've got to be validated, to realize, that not ONLY can it be done - reaching your goals of being a published writer/successful artist -- but, BUT! To realize that you are NOT alone, there are many OTHERS OF US OUT HERE, who are afflicted with that strange desire to sit in a small, ugly room, with a ratty old couch and a cheap keyboard or guitar, and THINK, THINK, THINK, WRITE, WRITE, WRITE--till the sun has gone down, the frisby game is over, and while OTHERS HAVE DONE WHAT THEY DO --

-- you on the other hand, have written a song.

And hopefully, just knowing that there are OTHERS of us out here, who do that, you can now say...

I FOUND MY PEOPLE!

Welcome to our strange little world. Now -- get on with it!

Till the next time,

Paula C




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