There are multitudes of ways to cope when life presents challenges. I'm pretty sure I know someone of every preference: the depression napper, the overeater, the social media addict, the workaholic. You might think, "wow, that's judgy," but it's not coming from a place of judgment at all. I have used all of those coping mechanisms in the last year, and probably before the pandemic, too. I just didn't realize it.
Perhaps a year ago I would have criticized myself for the Twitter doomscrolling, the movie marathons, and the previous day's afternoon cocktails soaked up with salami, Gouda, and crackers followed by a food coma nap. Today, not so.
We're taught from a very young age that too much of anything, even a good thing, is bad news. You can overexercise! Over-socialize! (Whoever thinks that too many spa days is harmful truly doesn't understand the joy of luxury.) I accepted that theory for most of my childhood, and into adulthood. Now, I'm here to undo it.
I can mark the day things changed: 15 March, 2020. This was the day Chicago shut down and I lost my job. I went from 5 nights a week of gigs surrounded by money and partiers who were happy to throw it around...
To time and silence. My brain and I have never been good friends. I have been reliant on my job (and the sound that comes with it) to quiet the nit-picky and critical voices that constantly tell me I will never be enough.
Initially, I turned to strict scheduling and an aggressive creative workload to keep myself at bay. This is because I read an opinion piece from an astronaut that swore the secret to staying sane in space was to have routine. Fortunately, that's worked for me. I've been productive this past year: One book completed, another on the way, 40-some new original songs, self-education on a lot of technology, and building my virtual piano studio to 20 students, among other things.
But there is another component for my anxiety and PTSD-riddled brain that is equally responsible for keeping me alive. (Remember? I just figured out I wanted to do that.)
And the award for "best supporting coping mechanism" goes to my vices: the social media dives, the Netflix nights, my inability to control my wallet around book sales, and my frustrating love of all things boozy. I am, in my heart, an epicurean. I have been trying to quash that through vigorous personal training sessions, spreadsheets on spending, and calorie trackers for years, but nothing seems to really shrink my proclivity for pleasure. The cards I was dealt in this life haven't been the easiest. Maybe that's why I'm on the hunt for things that make me feel good now.
All of that being said, my vices have never gotten in the way of the completion of my daily to-do lists. Maybe that's the balancing point, sort of like the old 'work hard, play hard' slogan. I am not advocating behavior that is life-debilitating or life threatening, I am merely suggesting that we seek a different ratio of responsibility/work and things that make us feel good.
I would kindly ask you, reader, to suspend any negative feelings, now more than ever (but always, actually, please) when you see someone acting in a manner that doesn't live up to your standards. Maybe a Rom-Com and a pint of ice cream is the antidote needed to coax someone with depression a few steps further away from the edge of the mental cliff. Perhaps an afternoon spent going through old Facebook photos, reminiscing about all the trouble you got into and laughing about it is the levity you need to get out of bed a few minutes earlier the next day. Do you see what I'm saying? It's heavy, but worth considering. Little things like this, things I would have previously deemed "time-wasters" may actually be key to survival.
Take it easy on yourselves, and others.
That all being said, it's noon on a Tuesday and I am going to have a (single) glass of wine because the sun is shining and dammit, I like wine!
Cheers to the vices!
For the last few months I have been streaming on a platform called Sessions Live. In fact, Sessions recruited me for their program. After doing a bit of research, it seemed like an awesome opportunity. Besides being paid to go live, there was a supportive tipping option, I'd have a personal coach, and the most thrilling aspect of the whole thing was that I would be connected with an international audience!
My first stream sported viewers from Egypt, Greece, the Philippines, as well as fellow Americans. I made a little money and had a lot of fun! However, over the course of a few months, Sessions made platform-development coachings less available, changed the price of the tipping currency to reward artists less, and changed their reward system for progress made. It was really disappointing. I had referred friends to Sessions and felt embarrassed to see it change. But the truth of the matter is that it could have been cool. It was cool. And then it wasn't.
I'm going to try switching platforms, admittedly, to the platform I was encouraged to settle on nearly a year ago. I'm just stubborn sometimes. This Saturday 3/6/21 from 5-7pm CST I'm going to go live on only Twitch. If you're already on Twitch, I'd love it if you gave me a follow or a subscribe there.
Some days I am totally streamed out. Between streaming, teaching, and attending Zoom meetings to socialize or discuss collaborative projects, I get a lot of screen time. I'm staring at a screen right now, and after that I'll probably work on my (second!) book before I go teach for 4 hours and play a few hours of virtual DnD. Someone recommend a good blue light filter!
At the beginning of the pandemic, I was so anxious to stream. I didn't like looking at myself in the camera (I did, and still do have a lot of weird nervous ticks). I didn't like being unable to hear audience feedback. It's counterintuitive to everything I've done behind a piano in the glorious 23 going on 24 years I've been playing. I am proud of myself for forging ahead nonetheless and using streaming as a way to stay connected with friends and family, many of whom haven't been able to see me play in years, if ever. I'll probably continue virtual shows even once I'm able to go back to bar work.
For those of you who've been watching my shows throughout the past year, I am so grateful for your time, and in many cases, your donations as well. This has been a difficult period for artists, and I know a lot of artists who've changed tremendously because of it, whether it's creatively, in personality, or even in terms of long-term goals and priorities. I feel like a whole new person. I'm more introverted. I get nervous about phone calls and Facetime meetings. I spend most of my free time writing (books and songs) and reading, and I've found I sort of like this lifestyle better. I'm living with myself one day at a time, letting her surprise me, being open to rerouting on this wild white water rafting journey of the mind and soul.
The same ol' Cassandra you tolerated thus far will still make an appearance for streaming: Songwriter Sunday at 2pm CST (Restream/All Major Platforms), on Wednesday with John from 7-:830pm CST, and now Saturdays from 5-7 CST on Twitch only! It's worth a try. I hope to see you all there.
Until tomorrow, stay safe, stay well, and stay kind.
I just wrapped up my weekly interview, Songwriter Sunday (Sundays @2pm CST on all the major streaming platforms), with Heidi Joosten. Heidi is a composer, songwriter, sage of musical theater, and my maid of honor, aka a dear friend. I thought I was fully ready to facilitate today's conversation given that we've been buds since 2015 and that we lived together for a few of the years in between then and now, but she surprised me with an interesting thinking point.
Heidi is a child of music educators with a masters degree level (plus a boatload of experience) of schooling. She explained that her affinity for Musical Theater versus art music was based in the spirit of collaboration. In academia, or art music, she explained, there is an expectation that an artist will be able to do everything they need to do perfectly, regardless of their skill or education level. I remember feeling horrified, as a creative person, that I'd have to learn basic computer programming to complete my degree program. I even cried in my undergrad sound processing class, much to my professor's disdain. I wasn't supposed to be there. I know that now, in retrospect.
I enjoy many facets of being a sound aficionado: mixing, mic placement, marketing, and of course, writing. I like painting, dancing, listening to albums, and drinking wine while I do so at times. But the tech aspect of things has pretty much scared me out of a DMA. (There are other factors, but that's for another day.)
Musical Theater, however, Heidi said, relies on a spirit of collaboration...of knowing that there are friendly, intelligent experts who want to elevate your content or work with you on a project. They're out there in the universe. You just have to ask them if they want to play.
I realized that the same is true with my relationship to pop music. Again, I can handle most of my basic needs as a content creator, but I much prefer when an enthusiast of a specific area steps in and reassures me that whatever I'm into will be the best it can be.
How else does life work without teamwork, really? I'm 4'10". I need John to reach the flower vase on the top shelf for me. I need the plumber to fix the garbage disposal. I need the cashier at the Dollar Store to render me change. This should be the norm throughout the arts as well. The Rugged Individualism philosophy which has wrecked our country, most prominently in the last four-five years, is also wrecking our budding artists. Not everyone is meant to program in MaxMSP. Not everyone likes writing lyrics. Not everyone wants to research the ins and outs of mastering. When a child wants to write a song, for god's f***ing sake, don't crush that aspiration. Help them. Collaborate instead.
Maybe that person who's averse to certain skill sets likes to write melody, or weld their own instruments together, or function as an arts administer to a collective. Rather than criticize people for their shortcomings, why don't we applaud them for their strengths and find places to connect these inclined folks? My whole experience in academia was centered around what I failed to do best instead of celebrating what I did well while cultivating room for improvement.
We can do better.
In short, many thanks to Ms. Joosten for that mental spark which has fueled today's blog post! I think that, as artists, we can always improve in the areas where we lack, but leaning into our stronger traits couldn't possibly hurt.
Ego's a whole other hurdle, but that's not for today. ;)
What are you good at? I found that after two degrees in music, I really like to write prose. On paper, I'm not qualified for it, but I'm letting myself love the new parts of me that pop out; surprises abound.
In your dream world, who would you like to work with? A dancer? A singer? A painter? For the record, I know a lot of really stunning artists in a lot of disciplines. That's kind of my passion...connecting people. So if you have an idea that requires a bit of support but you're not sure where to start, don't hesitate to hit me up. Smash that contact form. If you have my phone number or email address, contact me directly. I'm here for all of it.
Welp, we're losing daylight here in the now fairly-bearable Chicago pre-spring, so I'm going to head out for a walk before it's too late!
Until tomorrow, stay safe, stay well, and stay kind.
For more on Heidi, visit https://heidijoosten.com/
Short Saturday #1: These posts won't be quite so long because I teach and stream all day on Saturdays, but here's a snippet of my brain chatter for those who enjoy it. :)
I like to read. I really, really like to read. This past year has allowed me more time to read than I've had in over a decade, and I have been taking advantage of it. In fact (once I got the go-ahead from the aforementioned family friend, of course), buying books was the one thing I didn't skimp on. Toilet hooch, sure, but not an eye batted at an Amazon cart packed with books.
Between my spending loophole and John's comparable interest and book harvesting efforts, we've accumulated more books than our three six-foot tall shelves can handle. I've done the rough math. Each bookshelf can hold between 100 and 150 books, depending on the length/thickness of the books at hand, so it's possible that we own 450 books plus the stacks that have started growing out of the floorboards.
After ordering two small personal bookshelves for our journals/reads of the week that we keep close by our morning writing table (thanks to those who got us the Bed, Bath and Beyond Gift Cards!), we were fortunate to pick up a little auxiliary shelf from the neighborhood thrift store. Starting last night, I began the gargantuan task of reallocating books from the big shelves to the little ones, being sure to keep everything in order by genre and author. (Someone once tried to rearrange my collection. They are lucky to be alive.)
Today I'm going to share a few of my favorite reads from the last year or so. I'd love it if you dropped yours in the comments, too! Admittedly, I'm a bit more inclined toward nonfiction, but I'll take any suggestions.
The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron (I read this yearly)
Me by Elton John
67 Shots: Kent State and the End of American Innocence by Howard Means
Ohio by Stephen Markley (not for the faint of heart)
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Empathy Cultivating Must-Reads:
Hunger by Roxanne Gay
Entitled by Kate Manne
The Torture Letters by Lawrence Ralph
Until tomorrow, stay safe, stay well, and stay kind!
...and wish me luck with my crazy Saturday.
I got my hair cut on Wednesday for the first time since November. Last fall, COVID numbers were soaring, so John and I decided to hunker back down and keep our excursions to the grocery store. It's been a lonely winter, even with my best friend around.
After my haircut, my amazing stylist (she is an artist and also a wonderful therapist at times) and I took a walk around the neighborhood, since we hadn't seen each other in a season. She's incredibly fashionable, kind, and witty as hell, so I always expect a good conversation. A pair of hip, lace-up-bottomed pants displayed in a storefront window caught her eye, so we paused to study them. She joked that because of all of our work loss (she's also a bartender), she'd have to stick to window shopping for now, and that she even "window shops" at online stores, dreaming of all the cool clothes she'll eventually want to purchase. I confided that at the beginning of the pandemic, I spent money exclusively on groceries, prescriptions, and yes, Disney Plus, and that's all I allowed myself.
Mid-summer, John and I had a call with a trusted family friend, who gave us the go-ahead to get takeout once a week or buy a new item of clothing if it gave us a bit of a mental lift. His justification: "What's the point of holding on to every penny if you're miserable?"
When we got off the call I remember bursting into tears and asking John, "Can we get takeout tonight?" Those of you who know me well know that we got Pho. It was the highlight of the last several months. Remember, this is back when we had a full day's worth of sunlight. My college self would have scoffed at me if she was in the room that day. Remember when we lived off of coffee and ramen? You've gone soft on me!
Yesterday, on a long walk, I allowed myself to step into an art shop for a moment. I starve without art, without color, without eccentric and beautiful things around me. A year ago I wouldn't have admitted that, but my college self is right; A year of isolation and stress has certainly changed me. Budget in mind, I picked out a small art print and a pair of odd cutlery earrings. The cashier jokingly called me "The Winter Ninja" since I had a dark mask, dark blue eyeliner and a black beanie cap on. We shared a laugh, and for a moment, I felt normal, or whatever I think normal feels like these days. My face hurt from smiling while John hung the print on the wall near my sink. (It's a JSalvador painting of my favorite Marvel heroine, Jessica Jones. More on PTSD later, though. I have plenty on that. Don't rush a good thing!)
Back to my walk with the stupidly, all-around wonderful stylist-bartender-counselor-trend consultant-friend. She agreed that finding small ways to connect with the things you once loved is a brain saver. A well placed candle, a rearranged reading nook, that one bottle of nice wine you've been saving for 6 months while drinking toilet hooch in the meantime to save money (okay, not toilet hooch, but $2.99 wine is a close second)...all of these things are important. I found that I might not even need a tangible fix. Sitting in the park reading a book this summer felt like a vacation. I got a free app that identifies flowers and plants on site, and that's provided hours of entertainment. (Seek! Get it!)
In "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron, the author argues that observation is the key to sanity. The chives are growing back in after the winter freeze! The gecko really ate that insect up quickly! The rain sounds nice today. That print looks dope over my sink, and I get to look at it every day. All of this comes back to yesterday's post: the desire to live can be beautifully colored with rewards and surprises.
I hope you have time and metal/emotional space to reward yourself with something small and meaningful today. Drop your favorite treats (material and otherwise) in the comments if you like. It might inspire others.
Until tomorrow, stay safe, stay well, and stay kind.
Goodness gracious, my dear fans and frenemies, it has been awhile.
As most of you know, my fellow artists and human beings, this past year has been, uh, how shall we say, a flipping doozy? I played my last full-rate, safe gig on 14 March 2020 and since then have been figuring out how to navigate the world as I know it in a completely different light.
In the last almost-year, I've had about 2 panic attacks per month, taught myself a little bass and ukulele, written about 50 new original songs, day drank a few times too many, tracked half of an album, connected and re-connected with a ton of amazing artists for collaborations, burned a few bridges, grown some hot peppers, and written a book. If there was a graphic for my artistic and emotional journey, it would look like a child's interpretation of a mountain range.
But here's a cool thing that's come out of this whole mess. It's going to sound silly, but it's huge for me. I discovered that I want to live. I really, really want to live. For many years, I didn't care either way. Some odd combination of being afraid of dying of Covid, along with settling into more free time with my best friend and life partner John worked like a swift and loving slap across the face.
So with that little pesky conclusion out of the way, I found myself more and more able to sit down and work on my book, my songs, my chops. I made time for the relationships that make me feel supported and refreshed and cut out the ones that left me rubbing my head, wondering why I hurt so much when I put the phone down.
I'll be 30 this year. I feel like a kid with some of these accomplishments, but they're huge for me. I've been trying to remind myself that Friendship 101 or How to Manage Anxiety for Dummies isn't really offered in school, so I'm giving myself a pass.
Another thing I've been doing, that I haven't had the chance to do much in the past few years, is reading more books. Fiction, Non-Fiction, Instruction Manuals, you name it. I'm currently halfway through "On Writing" by Stephen King. He advocates 4-6 hours of writing or reading a day if you want to be a professional writer. I figured I'd give that a try, given that I'm working on a book and writing at least a song per week. That being said, you might see more of me here.
You can expect to start seeing the body of work I've been cranking out this year soon. I've been keeping quiet about most of it, protecting it, growing my little seedlings into a garden in private for fear that some of my darlings won't survive. But I figure, who cares? At least I'm trying. That's all we can do sometimes.
Hopefully you can feast your eyes and ears on my biggest endeavors, my book and my album, on my 30th birthday. Mark your calendars for 9/22/21 if you need a whole lot of Cassandra in your life. (Ego, much?)
Right now, I feel like a spider skating down some rapids, each leg on a separate lily pad. Am I writing prose today? Poetry? Am I teaching? Streaming? Cleaning out my hard drive? Working on my website? Wallowing in self doubt? Spin the wheel, and we'll find out.
This past year, I've discovered a lot of hidden hopes, dreams, and aspirations that I thought had atrophied. I'm sitting with this treasure trove, hands dirty, and I feel overwhelmed, but I know I have work to do with them. That might mean some major changes. It might mean some minor, subtle tweaks. Whatever it means, I'm here for it. After all, this is my garden.
So, I hope you do a little digging of your own. Make time to read an extra book. Turn off stupid social media for a day. It isn't doing you any good. Don't pick up that phone call from your toxic friend. Drink water. Stretch more. Listen to a good album. You know what I mean.
Until tomorrow, stay safe, stay well, and stay kind.
My friend and choreographer Katie Mattar creating movement in response to one of my life's most tragic events.
Usually, I post cute quips about what I'm up to or what I'm working on, but tonight's post will be quite different.
I recently got into (and did not finish, as my beautifully articulate colleague and friend Adam Schumaker took over) an argument on Facebook about the programming of women's music at high-level (aka donor level) events. (This conversation was eventually expanded to include POC and other minority groups, and also included conversation on identity and culture.)
As someone who considers herself fully aware of her trauma history and also artistic value at the same time, I stepped back from this conversation and felt the need to start to design a course about presenting trauma through art, community conversation, and psychological rape via academia and other masculine systems.
As I've been putting together my ideas, I've also been putting together my resources, some of which were books I've read in the past few years. From these books I've created short essays about my experiences as a composer, entertainer, and woman existing in the current political and cultural climate. (I'm an expert in that last one, for sure.) After re-reading several of my essays, I think my recent feeling of hopelessness and frustration boiled down to two.
I will link the two essays below. The first was written in 2017, the latter in 2018.
I don't want to say much more, but would appreciate a healthy and respectful dialogue about the topics I've addressed. I would also 100% recommend W. Cheng's book!
Thank you, as always, for reading, and may we all keep getting smarter and more empathetic to our fellow humans.
This might end up being more of a travel entry than an art entry, but hey, they all blend together in the long run, right?
Well. It's been a helluva few months. This post will expand a little on my latest, and, erm, my first, professional newsletter. (Email me to subscribe!)
As you may or may have read (hello, new friends!) I spent all of February on the Norwegian Getaway traveling to the Bahamas and playing songs for Howl at the Moon with my super cute boyfriend John.
Then, I went to Djerassi, which...if you read below, really f@#$ed me up in the best way possible. I'm 4'10" and I'll probably never get any bigger vertically, but, like the Grinch, my heart (and my brain) grew three sizes while I was there. Check out some of the posts below to see how!
Then, I crossed the Atlantic and went to Ireland, London, Amsterdam (I also gigged there, nbd), Berlin, and Prague. The photo of above is of me having an actual Guinness in Cork, Ireland. It totally tastes better there.
That trip really had me thinking. I think Berlin weighed the most heavily on me. We went to see the remains of the Wall and also visited the Holocaust Memorial--the largest of its kind. There were much happier and beautiful things about Berlin, too, like the food and the culture, but this is what stuck with me. We have a lot to learn about power and control, separation, and respect for the humanity in every situation.
Here's a part of the wall that was built over the graves of the locals. A single white cross remains to honor the dead who no longer have marked graves.
Prague was amazing--ancient, beautiful, and so small compared to anywhere else. It had such a local feel, but I felt accepted by everyone, despite the fact that I didn't speak Czech or any language but English.
This bad boy, The Prague Castle, gets a full-page sized photo.
Amsterdam was probably my favorite place of all. As a musician, I felt appreciated in a way I'd never quite experienced. The main club where I performed gave John and me food and drink tabs, put us up, and the staff was amazing. I also performed at a Burlesque bar where the owner carried me from the door to the stage, shouting, "The pianist is here!"
Needless to say, it was hard for me to get on the plane home.
So now I'm back in Chicago, and back to my usual craziness with gigs and balancing that full time job with this full time job of talking about and creating art.
While I was gone, I had some premieres:
5/22: blues for katherine, London, by Katherine Clarke
5/23: inside | outside, Chicago, by Plucky Plunkers
And, as far as the future is concerned, both of my concert series are about to be back up and running (do consider applying). See below!
In the mean time, I'm trying to stay inspired and proactive. These tasks are a bit difficult during the busy work season (I'm writing this at 1am...after an "early" gig) but I always appreciate your reading and feedback.
I'm always open for business. Send me projects.
Lots of love and gratitude,
Calls for Composers/Musicians/Collaborators
The next installation of Musicians Who Brunch will be coming up soon. This is my curated series for local Chicago songwriters and composers who wish to share their music with an open minded audience. Please check the application link and email email@example.com for more details!
Also, I am thrilled to share that Songs of Survival at the Awakenings Foundation will be back on October 18th, 2018! This is my curated series for and by survivors of sexual violence. Please click the hyperlink above for an application form.
You can always buy hard copies of my scores at Performers Music in downtown Chicago!
Good evening from lovely Woodside, California.
I had a bit of stuck-ness this week as I forged ahead on my first ever serious orchestra piece, and it's not just an orchestra piece. It's a viola concerto, and I'm writing it for my best friend for his birthday. So I had better not screw this up, right?
The endeavor is scary and the material is new. (But as Merce Cunningham says, "The only way to do it is to do it." And that's right! Like a total newbie, I've had to go back to some orchestration guides and do a lot of listening/score study but it's started to flow more and more easily.)
Lucky for me, I'm at the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, so I am surrounded by brilliant creatives who are kind enough to hear me out. I ran my stuck-ness problem by a few of the writers, who were already discussing their own tactics to get un-stuck and keep workflow painless. I chimed in regarding my need to write pencil-to-paper so that I could spacially and gesturally navigate my pieces and easily see the big picture. That's when one resident, E. Dolores Johnson, told me about a tool that many writers use to organize their thoughts and ideas, especially in large form: storyboarding!
She let me visit her studio and study her own storyboard. She uses different colored index cards to indicate different characters (in her case, voices of real people: herself, her mother, and her daughter, along with different colored cards for explanation and speculation) and pace their stories and thoughts throughout her novel. She explained that the colors clearly show pacing and balance between the different people and illuminate places where more of a certain voice is needed.
I thought: that's what I need to help me organize my concerto! It's like a bird's eye view!
So I made my first composition "storyboard" and here is how it's coming so far:
So far the piece has expanded to be closer to 8 minutes (of a projected 10 minutes) but so far I think that this will be a great tool to use in the future! This is just one of the beautiful things about coexisting with artists of other mediums.
It's pretty cool to look at, but not as beautiful as the sunset was the night before.
There's no filter on this baby ^
Wow. Okay. I guess that makes sense. For every paper I've written in school, I've read books, watched videos, and done listening and analysis before even starting an outline. Why should composing be different?
Maybe I just needed to hear it from a writer.
After this stunning revelation, I forgave myself for what time I thought I had "wasted" during this amazing residency, and wrote a new list of what a good creative process should be (as I said, for me, at this time. Everyone is different).
For those who don't care to read my sloppy handwriting, here's the new list that I came up with:
6. stepping away
7. repeat steps 1 and 3
I realized after I composed this list that I hardly honor any of these steps. Especially not the dreaming or the celebrating parts (INTJ problems, surely). Stepping away is also a huge struggle for me. At most, I sleep on my work for "a night"--and I've realized that's not enough time to revisit it with a clear head.
I guess that's why some composers say they keep 2-4 pieces going at the same time, all in different stages (planning, writing, resting, finalizing/engraving/partmaking). And on top of all of that there's social media and promotion and doing stuff like this silly blog that we have to keep up with. Oof.
But anyway. Here's a picture of my face after a productive writing session at my studio a few days ago. I've been feeling a little ugly lately (probably comes as a side effect of feeling "unproductive" as I previously defined it, as beauty is linked to efficiency in my eyes), so I'm not sharing this in a narcissistic way, but maybe more as a symbol of making some changes and looking at life and sound work as positive and exciting things. Less judgment more art. Ya know?
How does your creative process look? How do you allocate your research/time/leisure? How do you treat yourself and celebrate after the completion of a piece?
No filter on this photo either ;) though I'm embarrassed that I'm wearing the same shirt as my last selfie...?
WE'RE IN THE WOODS, OKAY? NO JUDGMENT.
Love you all.
Well...I did it! I finished my first piece in a few months, probably because I had a great violist, Katherine Clarke, and a few dollars behind it.
The funk is real, and I've been feeling very funky lately. Not in that cool Robert-Glasper-Producing-Kendrick-Lamar way but with that wild voice of Resistance in my head. I have major Impostor Syndrome today and I want to discuss it and hear what you think.
In my most recent blog post, I mentioned that the people I'm surrounded by are amazing artists. They really are. They have been inspiring me to write and work harder than ever, especially given the gift of time. I'm working alongside a previous MacDowell Fellow, regularly commissioned artist, an amazingly provocative writer (with a new commission), award winning writer/actress, ex-Harvard Business School attendee turned nonfiction writer, amongst others.
My best friend just won two orchestral spots (which he deserves-it's been a long time coming). My partner is having his songs looked at by a legit-as-hell record producer.
So what am I doing? How can I fit into all this? Am I a worthy participant in this residency? Can I call myself a career Artist yet?
And yes, I was one of 7% of 968 applicants to this program, and after 6 years of applying I finally got in. But I was just waitlisted at another residency...which feels good...but not that good. It's better than a rejection, but it's certainly not an acceptance.
I feel so vulnerable; I'm in a position where I am absolutely the weakest link, which is a wonderful learning experience--and god, I'm growing artistically at a rapid rate... but Resistance is shouting at me, and more aggressively than ever.
I want to make art. Full time. For money. As a career. I am simply in the hustle and grind stage (what I am now calling "The Waitlist Stage")? I remember how this felt in my entertainment career, and I got where I wanted to be. I still see even further potential for my trajectory there. But to start over as an artist is a full time job. I'm ready to do it, but I'll need all the support I can get.
My next project is a viola concerto. After that, I want to continue my doodle exercises (see photo sample below) and work on a new multimedia project about sexual harassment in the workplace.
I'm sending lots of love to my readers; I know you are few but you are consistently kind and supportive toward me.
What do you do to pull yourself out of a rut? How do you combat resistance?
Til next time,