2012/09/19

Faint hope

They say you never forget your first love.

Years ago, I put a great deal of time and effort and money into becoming successful playing rock and roll. Nothing in the world was better for me than music. I wasn't quite sure what "successful" would have been, but it would not have involved a day job. It would have meant playing music all the time, even if that meant making only enough money to get by and continue playing music.

It wasn't a dismal failure, but it was a failure nonetheless. Or maybe a learning experience. I didn't have the chops, or the ability, or the creativity, or the drive, or the persistence, or the je ne sais quoi. And I thought I had learned my lesson. I didn't want to stop playing music. But I knew better than to try to "make it."

I was fine for many years playing music only for myself. At least I thought I was. But I got involved in Girls Rock Camp Vancouver, and then Ladies Rock Camp in Portland. I met so many female musicians! I thought I had left having a band behind long before, but I started getting itchy.

I wasn't alone. Sweetie and I had played in bands together back in the day. In fact, it's how we met, so music has always been a major part not only of our lives but of our lives together. We saw that our friends were playing in bands or jamming or both, and we wanted some of that. We jammed with a few drummers and had tons of fun. And we dared to think that maybe we could form a band again.

We got together with one of the women from Vancouver whom we had met in Portland, a bass player who had started to play drums as well. We played some covers. We played some originals. I started writing more. So did Sweetie. We really loved how playing together felt, and we realized we might actually have a good sound. We went looking for a singer, and the other Vancouver women we had met in Portland wanted to try out. The result was so good that we didn't even say, "We'll get back to you." All of us said, "When is our next practice?"

And thus, Lisa's Hotcakes.

Spring chicken time is far behind Sweetie and me. Our band mates are younger but no longer kids either. We all have jobs and lives. We started the band to have fun, and we wanted to take it seriously but keep it casual. But as time went on and we felt better and better about the material and the sound, the goalposts moved a bit. And maybe a bit more.

Among us all, I think it's worst for me. It's like having a second chance with my first love. It's so tantalizing. The dreams and fantasies come thick and fast.

Dreams can be dangerous. They mess with your head. They can make you forget about reality. Sure, people turn dreams into reality all the time. I've been pretty good at that in some ways. But many a dream has been dashed against the jagged rocks of real life. Sometimes we know about the starving artists after they're dead. Mostly we know about the few who have enough to eat.

What is the difference between someone who achieves "success," who manages to play music for a living, and someone who doesn't? Talent? Effort? Persistence? Confidence? Clever marketing? Courage? Willingness to take risks? Being crazy enough to go up against the odds?

Even at my age, I have to ask myself these questions. I'm good at my job, and let's remember what pays for recording studio time, not to mention my wardrobe, dinners out, and a retirement nest egg. I'm doing well in my fashion studies. I really do love fashion, and I want to prepare for a realistic career after I am no longer doing software development.

But I can't get away from it. I'm truly happy and thriving when I'm involved in making music. Last night, when no one else could make rehearsal, I played my guitar for almost two hours. I didn't even realize where the time had gone. After all these years, there is still nothing I have found that is better for me than my first love. So why have I not made music my life's work? Why do I waste my time envying those who have rather than do what they had the courage and determination to do?

5 comments:

Gwenneth Athena said...

If you ever figure the answers to those questions, please write a book. I don't think you are alone :)

I can't resist pointing out however that perhaps a small part of one answer might be contained in your choice of post title. "Faint hope" is probably not being fair to yourself. I understand being realistic. I'm no spring chicken either, but I think sometimes we unintentionally make our dreams a little more distant by losing faith in ourselves. You and your sweetie are amazing women. Don't forget that.

the CFG said...

" Why do I waste my time envying those who have rather than do what they had the courage and determination to do?"
Well, absolutely *envy* per se is a waste of time.
Seriously, resign your job and go make music.
Or not.
Because it's unlikely that you will. There's not enough money in it, despite how much we blame music fashion, taste, the industry, iTunes etc etc
Sell your house, get a job with way less hours and live in a small apartment.
Why not?

Véronique said...

@CFG

Always love your cheeriness. :) Of course, you are right that it's unlikely. Which really is stupid and might lead to regrets. Ah, life.

Anonymous said...

Just as good as your last post. Do you accept advertisers?

Véronique said...

No, this blog is definitely not a money-making venture.