Payday Loans Payday Loans

I don’t just sit at home and watch TV.

April 13th, 2009

Large groups of people (society) fall into patterns naturally, and elements of power, whether it’s advertising and marketing or public policy, take advantage of and/or dictate those patterns so that society keeps within certain boundaries.  In other words, the world is mostly lame.  It’s up to artists to break away from that and do something different.

As expected, society makes little channels for artists to fit into.  For instance, if you’re a painter you go get a studio in the Northrup King building.  If you’re in a band then you get a practice space and book studio time when you decide to make a record.  If you’re a writer you sit at the coffee shop with your laptop.  None of these are necessarily deviations from the status quo. You’re participating in one of our “industries.”  Most likely you’re also participating in some other industry to make up for the fact that your creative activity doesn’t pay the bills.

There’s no doubt that artists benefit from having separate, dedicated space and time to do their work.  The problem is that your rent is not being determined by the economics of what artists are willing to pay for studio space, it’s being determined by what anyone is willing to pay.  My first studio was, before I moved in, a storage space for the Whittier Globe newspaper.  It was $100 a month and it was all I could afford.   Lots of buildings that would be perfect for artist studios are occupied by offices because anyone would value the same amenities artists value–things like high ceilings, historic character, and large windows.  Those spaces are much more likely to be snatched up by entities for whom those things are a luxury.

I have a bottom-scraping life, consisting of a part-time job (not career), my artistic goals (music), and a minuscule social life (made up mostly of artists and musicians.)  I’m continually fighting for the one element with any potential to pan out.  If I enjoyed prosperity in the other two elements of my life (career/money and social life) it wouldn’t be that hard.  But since I’m a natural misfit, trying to be successful at those two things would burn me out. I would rather risk burn-out doing something that’s important to me.

I make records at home.  I write and record music, in my apartment.  When I moved into my building it definitely felt like a creative community, but in the past six months or so I’ve felt like I’ve been intruding on people’s lives by doing what I do.  Meanwhile I’m probably living below the poverty line, which rules out any other options as far as living my life without any conflicts.  I won’t be buying a house or getting a separated studio space anytime soon.  Not on a delivery driver’s income.  I try to record as much as I can without feeling like I’m being too annoying of a neighbor.  But it’s hard  to do when you know people are just going to be passive aggressive.  It doesn’t help me feel like any less of a hack when I’m trying to work on a recording that isn’t working out how I want.  And the whole time there’s people out there making records and writing songs and forming bands, and I read about them on blogs and see them on radio station playlists and advertised playing shows and I feel like I’m missing something.  Either it’s because they have more money or more friends than I do, or it’s because I’m just not very good at what I do.

“Common sense” logic dictates that if you’re unsuccessful at something, you’re probably just not very good at it.  I refuse to believe that because it would force me to value my work according to the terms of capitalism.  But I’m losing that fight.  They say if you can’t beat them you should join them, but the only thing I have in the square world is laziness and alcoholism.  I don’t want to be any lazier or alcoholic than I am right now.

Introduction to my life

March 20th, 2008

I used to take an herbal supplement called 5-HTP, which is meant to promote the production of serotonin in the brain, thus providing treatment for depression. I took it off and on, only when I needed it. When I did need it, I would try to take it for a couple weeks at least, and then I would keep taking it until I started forgetting to take it. (If you don’t remember to take it, maybe you don’t need it. If you do need it, you’ll know when.) I started this after I had a breakdown 2 years ago. I tried taking Effexor, which I got samples of from my doctor at the time. It helped. I felt numb. I went to work every day, and watched TV, and didn’t mind it. I stopped taking it because it would have cost me $150 a month to stay on it.

I quit taking the 5-HTP a few months ago, just because I didn’t feel like I needed it. I was doing fine, albeit on a fine line. Then I got a cold. Once I realized that I could never make up my sick time (even when I’m OK I have problems going to work for my dad. He pays me well, I can’t stand the work, I manage to just scrape by) all of my other problems surfaced. I’m making no money on music. I can’t get a gig. I can’t find a decent job. And I don’t have a social life because I’m too broke to do anything, and besides, I should be at home recording anyways. I couldn’t turn these thoughts off while I was at work. I never have been able to. Eventually my brain gets tired and just accepts it and I go on with my life. But then it happens again.

Taking a chemical won’t change who you are. It won’t change your brain. It definitely won’t make your life situation any better. It can only promote change. So I’m trying to see what I can change and how I can help myself. I’m just afraid that the answer is to “find a job.”

Any job that fits my qualifications does not fit my skills or personality, and vice versa. That’s the trap I’m stuck in. I’ve gone after jobs that “fit me,” and I don’t get hired, usually because someone more personable is just as available. I was able to slip in to jobs only to get treated passive-aggressively, and sometimes even used as a scapegoat. If I’ve ever had a job that did not fit this profile, it was low pay and small hours.

EVERY employer wants a “motivated, team-oriented, self-starter,” which I can be if I were running a gallery or something. I can’t be that while answering bitter emails from dissatisfied Target customers. And I can’t pretend I’m going to. What the fuck is the point of that?

I’ve always known this about myself and that’s why I fight against the odds and work my ass off in my spare time, making music, making art, promoting the arts, volunteering, running a zine fair, etc. hoping that it will pay off down the line. The fact is that it WILL NOT pay off–without money. Money to get 100 copies of your CD out to bloggers. Money to spend weeknights at bars networking with the indie rock scene. Money to allow you to spend the afternoon recording without being in a hurry because you’re losing a day’s work. Money to keep yourself healthy while you’re running on overdrive. Money runs everything, and without that backing, no one gives a shit that you have pictures hanging in a coffee shop. Or that you have a CD on consignment at a record store. Or that you have new songs ready to perform on a stage. I’ve tried really hard, hoping that my trying will lead to me not needing a job as bad. But in order to make anything off of my efforts, I need money. To get money, I need a job that pays me decent wage for full time work and doesn’t penalize me for being human (cram thousands of people into a building for 40 hours every week and they’re going to get sick, especially when they can’t afford to not go to work.)

Based on former experience, the best case scenario is that I will settle for something that will pay me to simply maintain my human existence. If I save anything, it’ll cover the hole that I create when I get pissed off and quit. My only life, it seems, is a flat line. It also seems my creativity has been dwindling since I stopped getting student loans and switched to paying them. I made a huge mistake. I invested in myself. I thought being educated would get me somewhere. I didn’t realize that you’re more prepared for the workforce as a high school graduate than as a college graduate. (Note: I know that college grads are most likely to get the job. What they don’t tell you is that it’s college grads who get in and get out without challenging themselves who get the job. Prove you can do it and put it on your resume but don’t let it make you think you know anything. But remain pliable. You’re part of a machine.)

I hesitate to write stuff like this on such a public forum, knowing that a potential employer may happen upon it while Googling my name. But hey, if you thought you wanted to hire me before you read this and now you don’t, then the only way we’re going to get along is by me subverting. Go find a tool.


March 3rd, 2008

Scratch everything. I’m not working with a band, I’m not playing any shows, I’m not going on tour, I’m not trying to work as much as I can. I will finish this record because that’s a realistic goal. But I’m not gonna guarantee that it’ll get done without me killing a few brain cells.

My life is not my own. I’m not in control, so it’s kind of stupid to make any plans.

Beagles, Cold, Money

March 1st, 2008

My downstairs neighbors have 2 beagles. Both of them suffer from Separation Anxiety. That means anytime my neighbors leave the apartment, the dogs spend AT LEAST an hour barking, howling, whimpering and crying. They do this several times a day. It’s been going on for five months, which is to say, I moved in five months ago and it’s been going on since I moved in. I’ve tried to be OK with that, and with their illegal CB radio amplifier which interferes with any and all audio or video equipment on the third floor. I don’t like to create enemies in a building where I’ve had no problem playing a drum set or having band practice. But those dogs were at it at 8:30 am today–a Saturday. I never play drums before 10 at the earliest. On any day. I left a note under their door today.

My cold is all but gone and now I have an endless stretch of stupid bullshit work ahead of me for who knows how long. I’ve been thinking about booking some shows but I really don’t know where to start. I’ve been thinking about working on the CD but I can’t tell where its going. I’ve been thinking about building some projects to take my mind off of it, but I’m broke. And I don’t know if I can afford to be “out of the scene” once people start coming out of their winter comas. I don’t know if I care. It would be nice if I could say, “OK I don’t care about music or art until I save some money,” but I can’t do that. I always become depressed and lazy when I do that. Well, as opposed to depressed and wound up.

This cold has cost me just over $300. I’m not going on tour any time soon.