i seriously can’t wait for this week to be over.
i’ve gotten caught up in this perpetual toilet swirl these past couple of weeks, and nothing is really pointing towards any kind of improvement right now, either.
dropped over $220 to replace the rear tires on the trooper last week, only to have to throw another $700 or so at it this week for other stuff – thus went the majority of my relocation fund. oh, yeah – i’m moving soon. very soon. sooner than later. which means that i’ll be shutting the studio down temporarily, perhaps longer – depending on how this whole thing plays out.
after this past month, i’ve given serious thought to putting the whole thing on the block and calling it a day. i’ve thought about it at length every day for some time now. when i weigh the good things that i take away from participating in this “hobby” (and that’s all i can really call it, if you put it in its proper perspective), they have been handily outweighed by the burdensome characteristics of allowing it the space it takes up.
i’ve somehow become insanely envious of people who go home at the end of their day and eat dinner and park themselves in front of their television until they go to bed for the night…taking time in between to mow their lawns, pay their bills and taxes, change their oil….shuttle their kids from activity to activity without the pressure of other outside shit rushing them through what their real priorities should be.
“everyone i know whos’ famous is sorry for something,” stevie nicks said in an interview once, “and for me, it’s that i never married and i never had children.”
i married. i had children. two great kids who essentially raised themselves while i was trying to figure out where my dreams fit into my life…and sixteen years later, i’m nothing if not miles further from whatever it is that i hoped to accomplish than i was when i set off down this road.
jayda turns sixteen tomorrow. the day after that, dylan turns fourteen. there are days when i feel as though they’re both strangers to me. it’s not their fault – they’ve done as i did at the same point in my own life…they’re working with what they have, and doing the best they can. neither of them are promiscuous crackhead columbine cases, to the best of my knowledge…but i think that says more about the kind of people they are than it does about the kind of parent i’ve been.
y’know, i had quit for a while…in a sense, anyway. i threw in the towel and played with a cover band for quite a few years, and life was okay. i enjoyed it. i’ve had a steady day job for years now, and it fit into that quite well. i’d go to the occasional rehearsal, play on weekends, and all was well.
in fact, the only thing i can say unequivocally about this past two decades i’ve spent as an erstwhile songwriter and performer is that every time i’ve tried to take steps in the direction of making something good happen, on a creative level – to get back on the path, whatever the path is – something in my life goes fucking haywire.
thus it is and has been these past few months. nothing has changed in this regard. i decide to make another record in as low-key a fashion as possible. ok, no problem. that whole process falls together rather easily, if you consider staying up until 3AM most nights to work on the album effortless. i get a choice gig, opening for poco in a great room…and it happens to fall on the night that my daughter is singing in the annual talent show at her high school. happy hour gigs fall on nights when she’s singing at berks jazz fest. dylan wins, and then somehow loses, first drum chair in the middle school jazz band…while his dad is busy doing things that don’t involve coaching him and helping him with rudiments, timing, and such.
then, all the money shit starts going down. things start breaking, winter kicks my ass because the furnace in the house where i live kicks on for 45 seconds and then shuts off for a couple of minutes, then repeats the cycle over and over again. i spend somewhere in the neighborhood of $2000 for heating oil from october through february. the car starts its trip down nickel and dime avenue. jayda starts working with a producer from school, ends up in the newspaper – a half page article that comes out on the day that i’m doing a remote recording in west chester for the day (i got a copy after the fact, though, thankfully).
i mean, do i need to be literally hit over the friggin’ head here?
someone or something is trying to send me a message, and i’m just too stupid to get it.
but i think it’s starting to sink in.
i’m trapsing all over hell and creation, looking for a place to move the studio into…alternately looking for a place to live, now that things with the house appear to have hit a wall from which there’s no swerving away from…and i keep asking myself, lately – what the hell am i doing? i’m wondering what it is, exactly, that i’d hope to accomplish by moving out and renting separate quarters for the studio and for myself. forget where i’m going to raise the cash to front security deposits and first months’ rent for two spaces at the same time.
i must be insane.
i’ve always taken a certain amount of solace in renting, versus owning – i get tagged a slacker for it, and i made peace with that some time back…but i went the homeowner route when i was married to the kids’ mom, and i suck at it. i tarred the roof, i rebuilt the steps down to the basement, painted, dug up and retilled the backyard to even out the lay of the grass – the whole gamut. i did it all. and i sucked ass at everything i tried to do. i just don’t have the gene that people who take pride in doing that kinda shit seem to have been born with. i’ve accomplished things musically that have made the hair on my neck stand up, but the handyman stuff never gave me any kind of a rise at all. none. no sense of accomplishment, none of it.
the other side of the coin is that there’s always been a sense of security in knowing that there was someone who was going to step in and make things right if something went awry. that solace has been worth the money, to me.
now, though – at 40, with two children, i’ve found myself in circles on occasion where this is looked upon as a measure of failure – the whole he’s forty and still renting? trip. and from a particular vantage point, there’s merit in that. i can understand that being a measure of your success as a person, in certain circles. it’s just that i’ve managed to avoid allowing myself to be judged in that manner for a long time…now, i’m becoming self conscious about it…and questioning my decisions at various points on the road that’s brought me here.
i struggle with whether or not i truly feel regret about the “rent vs. own” business…i know there are others around me whose thoughts about the matter are already decided, and i guess that’s fine…when i think about it from a strictly personal vantage point, it truly doesn’t bother me that i don’t have to stare at the ceiling at night, wondering when the furnace is going to die or when i’m due to replace the roof or any of that crap. it’s almost totally the weight of the judgement of others, and how i’m measured against other people, that fuels my feelings about all that.
i do, however, feel a succinct sense of loss for some of the things i’ve missed while i was so focused on creative pursuits and trying to make things happen in other parts of my life.
i’m completely aware that i’m not going to get those years back by throwing in the towel at this point. i know this. but i’m also acutely aware of the growing sense of futility that i just can’t seem to shake.
i look around myself at the state of things right now, and i truly believe that opportunities for independent artists are at their absolute peak at this point in time. i think they’re only going to get better as time goes by. i’ve re-released OMA and put out a new record, and they’ve both been met with a great deal of enthusiasm – i’ve sold CD’s to people i’ve never met via the internet, and i’ve gotten emails from strangers who’ve been moved by what they’ve heard…and that is still every bit as gratifying as it was the first time it ever happened to me. on a basic level, the motivation to continue to write, record, and make music is still very much present.
but it’s also becoming very clear to me that the resources i have available to contribute to that motivation – whether they be financial, spiritual, or otherwise – are in increasingly short supply.
i just don’t know how much more i have in the tank at this point.