Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Perspective is Everything . . . Depending on How You Look At It

Okay, for those of you who may think that I'm able to make my entire living in music, I'm about to burst that bubble. I can't. Yet. I'm working steadily toward that eventuality, but I'm not there . . . yet.

In the meantime, I also have several 'temp' jobs. It was as I was arriving at one of those jobs earlier this evening - at Richland Country Club - that I saw the sign, "ASCAP Awards". Oh, this is going to be interesting, I thought. I've been an ASCAP member for about 29 years now. This evening, it was my lot in life to serve my fellow members.

Now, I should hasten to explain that I really don't have a problem with the task of serving. Treating someone with kindness and thoughtfulness in a professional manner, so that they have an enjoyable experience. I actually take pride in trying to do that well. (And I happen to be one of the better banquet servers in town - thank you very much!)

It is a bit odd, though, to be in a room of peers and be serving - literally - in a different capacity. It turned out to be the ASCAP Christian Music Awards, which made it less of an issue, since I don't write Christian music at all anyway . . . And it wasn't that it was 'depressing' or anything like that . . . just odd.

In addition to serving Amy Grant, whom I've served before (and frankly, would be happy to serve in any capacity . . . anytime . . . jk Vince!) I also served a young gent who co-wrote a current hit song, which I happen to like a lot. At one point, I congratulated him, and he just looked at me with a blank expression - not bad, just 'blank' . He seems like a nice enough guy - 'cherubic' in fact, would be the best word I can use to describe him. He had no idea who I am, of course, or what I do. What I REALLY do . . .

I kept thinking how odd it is . . . here I've been an ASCAP member for 29 years, and this youngster is most assuredly not even 29 years of age yet! Good for him! Odd for me . . . I don't begrudge him his success, nor do I wallow in self-pity for my lack of BIG SUCCESS . . . Hey, I enjoy the song that he helped create, and I've not given up on the prospect that I TOO will someday see that kind of success.

The strange feeling was that I KNEW that I 'fit in' with this crowd (at least as a songwriter and artist - NOT as to genre . . .), but THEY had no idea! It was kind of like being invisible at a party of friends. This was an awards show, so it was the best of this genre that were there. I don't hold myself below or behind anyone as a singer/songwriter. I'm pretty confident. So, I guess it was just weird that THEY didn't know that I'm just as good as they are . . . let alone that I write at all!

Again, the genre isn't one that I 'partake' in, so I don't expect to ever win those particular awards. But someday, I fully hope to be at some similar awards show - and be holding my own little trophies!

You can be sure that when I'm there, I'll be paying attention to the servers!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Good Days . . . Simple Things

I had a great day Saturday! First, it was an awesome day for a drive . . . warm and sunny. Took a good friend along with me, shotgun. (Thankfully, 'cause it's always good to have assistance when I'm 'working'). So, it was enjoyable 'right out of the gate'. Put me in a good mood.

I drove out to Jamestown, TN for an interview on WDEB . . . the DJ, Gary Clark was quite nice and the interview went well. I got to play three songs live on the radio, and Gary invited me to come back sometime "during the week, and we'll let you play all night long . . ." That sounds pretty good! He said that they've been playing some of my songs - which ALSO sounds pretty good. WDEB broadcasts simultaneously on 103.9 FM and 1500 AM, also on cable. Thanks for the support, Gary!

Then, it was on to Byrdstown, TN . . . but not before stopping into a very cool general store (complete with wooden indians on the front porch) for homemade fudge (Maple Nut, thank you very much) and ice cream (okay, I know . . . my diet sucks!). I think that some of life's best times are these kind of brief moments. The simple things in life are the best! And of course, any time I get to relax a little, I'm a happy camper . . .

We made it to The Dixie Cafe in good time and were greeted warmly by the locals. I love these small towns, and the people I find in them. When they all fell into silence for the soundcheck and stared at me, I knew it was gonna be a fun show. (Call me crazy, but I enjoy a large audience who are paying attention to me!) And these folks did not dissappoint . . . they were very responsive and they enjoyed my music. I can't ask for more than that . . . but wait . . . there WAS MORE . . . I even got booked for another show . . . at an Arts Festival (the "Fresh Air Arts Festival" on June 20th) - thanks to Alice, a very nice woman in the Dixie Cafe audience. These good folks bought a bunch of my CDs and tipped generously. The food was even excellent! Johnny (the owner) was great, and I'm booked back on August 22nd.

If every day was like Saturday was . . . life would be pretty darn good!

The good news is, that it CAN be . . . And it's interesting to ponder how the simple things (the weather, being with a good friend, homemade fudge) relate to the success of the rest of the day. Those simple things certainly contributed to my mood/attitude/energy . . . and THAT must have affected the rest of the day (interview/performance). So, what can I do toward making every day like my very enjoyable Saturday? Well . . . seems to me that I can be aware of my mood/attitude/energy and keep THOSE things positive, so that the 'cycle' that is, after all, life, stands a much better chance of ALSO being positive. (I'm also not ignoring all the hard work that went into scheduling those things and the press release which led to the good turnout.) So, "hard work and a positive attitude" . . . hmmmm . . . who woulda thunk it?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Time Management . . . or Lack Thereof . . .

Email . . . MySpace . . . Facebook . . . Twitter . . . Blogger . . . YouTube . . . job . . . errands . . . responsibilities . . . play (wait - what's that?)

These days we're all so busy! I know that I'm CRAZY busy . . . and I know that I'm not alone.

And it's sad to admit, but I've reached a point in life that my biggest fantasy in bed is a good night's sleep! (It never seems to happen)

And are all these new 'tools' to keep us 'connected' . . . the social networking sites . . . are they working? Do they allow us to keep in touch with each other better, or are we all just tied to computers, with our focus on a monitor instead of someone's eyes? BTW, I don't pretend to have the ANSWERS to these questions . . . I just have questions . . . maybe you know?

Another big fantasy would be cloning! Boy could I use about a half-dozen or so clones of myself! 'Cause we could ALL be busy constantly and maybe then I could at least start to feel like I was being productive enough. Maybe I have high expectations? Maybe I just have lots of ambition? I don't know, but I pretty much feel like I'm nowhere close to keeping up with what seems 'absolutely necessary' to do. (Hey, maybe with enough clones, ONE of us could take some time to goof off! ) I've started complaining a lot lately to my good (and better-deserving) friends, about this feeling of being completely overwhelmed. But whining is not pretty, and it doesn't help.

Is it 'perspective' or what? Days seem to be shorter than they used to be . . . I could really use 28 hour days, so that I could be productive for 20 and sleep for 8 (whoohoo! - and fantasy #3 - hmmm) I could swear that days used to be long enough to work a job, get done with necessary tasks, relax for a bit, and then get a decent amount of sleep. Now, it's work, decide what I absolutely MUST do and brush aside all the other "extremely important" tasks, then take a short nap for the night before starting all over again.

I'm really wondering if you might feel the same way?

I'm also feeling the "crunch of time" in a more broad sense - the limitations of our mortal lives. When I stop to think that it's entirely possible that I could have as little as 20 years or so of good healthy life ahead (yeah, yeah . . . I know, any one of us could be 'hit by a truck' tomorrow) and of course, I realize how FAST twenty years passes by . . . well, that's just a very sobering thought. A thought that makes me want to be as productive as possible with the time that I have! (Aha . . . so there you see what is at the source of my crazy drive to be productive!)

Yes, I know that it's "entirely possible" that I could live another FIFTY years too . . . just not as likely. In all likelihood, I'm at least halfway through my life! Again, a sobering thought.

BTW, I'm 47 . . . and about to have a birthday as a matter of fact. What will I do to celebrate my birthday? Interestingly enough - as little as possible!