Thursday, October 20, 2011

Now what?

Geez, you commit to getting back into a daily blog, and then you actually have to write one, don't you?

Now what?

The first answer to that question was sleep in until noon and have apple pie for breakfast.  Followed up with cursing myself for not completing eleven projects by 2pm.  See?  The world of Lyssy has not really changed that much, other than the pie...

But change it shall.  A chapter has closed, so something is going to come in to fill the void -- I'm the one who chooses what gets in.  So the next question becomes, what do I want to be when I grow up?

Stay Calm
Be Brave
Wait For the Signs
                              - Dead Dog Cafe (CBC)

Over dinner last night, Don and I were chatting about our recent experience at the OCFF conference in Niagara Falls, and what each of us got from it.  We had both, apparently, come to similar conclusions about a few things.  Namely, our discomfort at the desperation felt in some of the private showcase rooms, plus the (unfortunately, rather large) group of people who were simply bitter that the world had yet to discover them, even though they hadn't done a damned thing to further their careers other than sit and bitch with other undiscovered people.

Oh sure, there are the Justin Biebers of the world, but even then, his mother promoted the hell out of him.  The folks who have actually "made it" in the folk world (and become "hundredaires", as Don says) are the ones who not only have incredible talent, but who have worked their arses off.  They didn't sit around and bitch and expect the world handed to them on a silver platter.

I mean, take Dave Gunning, who was recently nominated for the CFMA's "Emerging Artist of the Year" award.  Are you kidding me?  This man's first CD was released in 1996, and he's finally being welcomed as a newcomer.  He's not an instant discovery, he's worked and worked and worked -- and it doesn't hurt that he's a great songwriter, but he's a great songwriter who has worked and worked and worked (at both his music and his business).

I was in a funding workshop at OCFF, and one of the panelists asked the group how many had applied for funding before?  Big show of hands.  How many had been rejected?  Fairly large show of hands.  How many had re-applied?  Embarrassingly small show of hands.  So... someone doesn't give you what you want (depending on what you're applying for, you're in the same boat with 70-95% of the applicants), you stop asking, and then you complain that nobody funds you?

Can you imagine that with any other job?  I mean, seriously, if everyone gave up trying after their first job interview, it would be a national disaster!  And if they all sat around in the coffee shop whining that they were unemployed, somebody would smack them.  (Maybe me...)

As happens every year, there are private showcases in the hotel rooms -- folks split the expense of the room to do a 30-minute-or-whatever showcase, in the hopes that people will listen to their set and hire them.  As happens every year, there's a handful of complainers who come out to say it's a waste of money and the OCFF is trying to swindle them out of their cash, because nobody's ever hired them from the previous year's showcase.

Well, yeah... maybe because the sound of your whining was drowning out the music.  (Oops, was that my outside voice?)

Or maybe you didn't do anything to follow up.  Or maybe you didn't fit in to their programming.  Or maybe you aren't as insanely awesome as you and your cats think you are.  Or maybe a 20-minute showcase does not a career make...

You know that line about 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration?  Well guess what -- if all you've got is the inspiration, that's not enough.  Nobody else is going to put in the 90% for you if you're not willing to put it in for yourself.  And if you're not willing to put forth the effort, don't go complaining that nobody else has done it for you.

Geez, how did this turn into a rant?  I had a whole other idea when I started...

Both of our favourite part took place in the wee hours of Sunday morning (and by "wee hours," I mean just before sunrise), jamming in the Tunesmiths' room with folks like David Ross MacDonald, Scott Cook, Jesse Dee and Jacquie B, the aforementioned Dave Gunning, Ann Vriend, Dave Borins, Jadea Kelly, and a whole slough of others whose names I didn't catch.  Not a whiner in the bunch, all go-getters making it happen.  Despite the time and level of inebriation, the music in that room was incredible, the musicians sensitive in their accompaniment, the mood jovial and community-oriented.  It was all about the music.  Maybe they'll get a gig out of that room, maybe they won't.  It's not about the room, it's about the music, it's about the community.  And yes, there's a reason why you've heard of many of those folks -- if you don't know some of them, trust me, you will.  Better yet, follow those links and take a listen.

So... getting back to today -- where do I want to put my 90% perspiration?  Once the long sleeps and pie and surgery are over, that is.

In some ways, Don's surgery is providing both of us with a much-needed oasis in time.  We have a darned good reason for saying "no" for the next few months.  (OK, his excuse is better, but I'm taking it, anyhow!)  An enforced hibernation period, when we can both figure out where we want to go, who we want to be, what we want to do, once we can stretch and yawn and go forth.

For me, it's the end of a chapter that has taken up much of my spare (?!?) time and kept me in survival mode for far too long.  For Don, it's this sudden reminder of our mortality, and the need to live our lives before we don't have a choice anymore.

As our friend Ali had on her FB status update the other day: life isn't wrapped up in a bow, but it's still a gift.

As I replied:  you just have to say "thank you" and figure out what you're going to do with it.

I am so very thankful for this gift, for where I am today, where we are today.  I am not going to look that horse in the mouth and complain it's not as perfect as it should be.  I'm not going to hide it in the basement and hope I get something better next year.  I'm going to take it and run with it and enjoy every moment I have with it.

It may not be wrapped up in a bow, but it's the only thing that's truly mine.  I am responsible for every opportunity I've missed, and every opportunity I've created.  I am responsible for every choice I've made, and every decision I've avoided.

As I started singing in January, 2009:
I have cleared the space, it's time to take my place
Prepare to speak my truth, stand up and be the proof 
The war will carry on between the sword and the wand
And I'll keep the rewards I've gained
All advance, no retreat, peel away the conceit
Until only the Truth remains 
Truth remains
Time for some hibernating and soul-searching and truth-finding.  Followed by some making it all happen.

But first, I think I'll have another slice of pie...

1 comment:

  1. Your rants are filled with grist for the
    mill -- and... it's mighty fine.

    Love your friends FB status.