Blank Slate

photo by Dave Goodwin of Green Doors Studio

Today I cleaned a bunch of my white boards from … I dunno … way back in 2011. They had projects on them like “Christmas photoshoot for CD” and “write Christmas piece for local wind ensemble: Due Sept 25th.” The first one I definitely completed as the CD was successfully released and the copies are collecting dust in my closet. It was a good shoot though. Dave is really talented. The second deadline I definitely missed.

So here I am, starting over again. New studio. New house. New support network. New opportunities. I’ve started over more times than I can count. I wish I had told myself that life was just like that back in high school. I feel like I might have been more open to trying new things. I feel like everyone should just … chase the experience. Nothing is permanent and the worst thing that could happen from chasing an intimidating gig or goal is you fail completely and learn something. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from starting over so many times, it’s this: learning things is worth it.

So if it’s worth it, why am I always so paralyzed whenever I even think about researching how to successfully start a Patreon or trying to record something new? Sure. I may need to sit down with the instruction manual to my fancy camera for an hour or so. I may need to (ugh) watch some YouTube tutorials on video editing. I may need to swallow the panic and actually sign up for a service that advertises my private teaching for me. But I can’t. I freeze.

If learning things is worth it there’s something else underneath. Several of the “build good habits and organize your life” self-help books and blogs discuss the matter of obstacles. Identify what’s in the way of your success and remove the obstacle. It’s not really a fear of failure as failure is merely an avenue to learning. Honestly, I think my big fear is that no one will care. There are 186 fans on my Facebook that show me that I’m not completely off the radar. And, hey, I can’t even argue that those followers are only my family since my family really isn’t all that big. But, on the emotional intensity level of a Gen Z with FOMO, the idea that I’ll throw something out into the world only to experience … silence …………………..

“The opposite of love is not hate, but indifference.”

—Eli Wiesel, Holocaust survivor and Human Rights Activist

I can’t stand the silence.

(Great. Now I have one line of a song stuck in my head on loop and I have no idea what the song title is or who sang it. Just a vague sense that it’s from the 90s or aughts and has a male lead singer. That’s going to keep me awake tonight.)

Speaking of songs, there’s that country song by…. Reba? No. Martina Mcbride.
You can pour your soul out singing
A song you believe in
That tomorrow they’ll forget you ever sang
Sing it anyway

Now I have that song stuck in my head.

Anywaaaaaaaaaaaaaa-ay! (haha, I’m funny) If you are looking for something that means a tonne but doesn’t take a huge amount of effort, drop a reminder in your phone to regularly interact with an artist or a musician or a craftsperson you admire. Trawl through their social media sprinkling likes. Share some of their posts on your own social medial. Send them a short message about how something they did was meaningful to you and thank them for sharing. Kids, we legit live off of those interactions. And, if you can afford it, buy from these people instead of a big chain store. The Waltons can live without you. The 20-something kid trying to sell paintings out of his bedroom cannot. The 30-something mother of 3 that’s homeschooling because of the pandemic and making jewelry in her closet cannot. The 40-something divorcee trying to start over that’s selling quilts and doll clothes cannot. You get the point. These people need you.

If it helps you to remember, put a little cape on your toothbrush, because you’re our hero. Your interaction gets us through the day.

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