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Thought and Feelings of a Living, Working, Struggling Musician, Artist and Performer

Saturday February 18th 2017

Hi friends! I’m sorry I’m getting so behind on the blogs these days. Sometimes, like now, I become hyper focused on drawing and writing and have zero interest in blogging. I know there are a few dedicated readers who miss it when I don’t write consistently. I’m sorry. It’s hard to keep it up just for a few people, though that should be motivation enough because I know those few people love and care about us very much. It’s sometimes just hard to keep everything going when I think too much about how insignificant it is. My talents are numerous and I have a skill set that many people would die to have (I didn’t say that, a friend did), but being talented doesn’t make it any easier sometimes. Being talented makes life harder I think. When you’re talented, your able to see the way things are more clearly than others. I talked to our friend Bill about it tonight after prayformance. What is the point of it all, when neither Thoth or I have anything to show for what we’ve done? He said it’s not about the result, it’s about doing it. Thoth said the exact same thing last night. Creation is the process of the soul. Bill said something else significant too. He said maybe we look down from somewhere before we’re born and say, “That would be the best life for me to increase my spirit. A life of making art every single day and getting no physical rewards for it, possibly for my entire life. That would make me a better person and a purer soul.” The challenge to create not for gain but for increasing  something completely invisible, personal spiritual power. Thoth said something similar last night. Making art isn’t about the result, it’s about increasing ones self. The goal is not the  end result, the goal is the process. The goal is doing the work. The trick is turning away from a world that looks for physical rewards as being the only reason to work hard on anything and doing it simply to increase the self. Harder than it seems! To create simply to create, just as nature does. We are so like nature.

Oh man, today was tough. This whole week has been tough. It was supposed to downpour yesterday when we were supposed to play, so we didn’t go out. That left us with three days off and only one day this week of playing. Ugh. Tuesday’s play was magical, but those damn park rangers! We’re scared to play now and there is nothing we do will change that. Nothing anyone else can do about it either. We have no legitimacy at the park or anywhere we play for that matter, yet we’re doing something people love that is unique in all the world. We’re these illegitimate street performers wandering around the world pushing our way into places we’re not really allowed to play, but really we’re uniquely talented, underrated artists who just need a opportunity to shine. The best thing anyone can do is to come see us prayform all the time, like Tori and Pascual and Bill do, and as they did today. Of course on the day we decided to go out to play, today, it was raining as we got on our bikes and it poured as we biked up the hill to the park. Thoth was in a really bad mood on our days off, so it made him feel worse. “What the f**k are we doing?” I thought to myself. Thoth was thinking the same, no doubt. The hallways were crowded with homeless people. We had to wait and I had to ask them to move. They ended up listening to us play.

I am so f**king tired of playing scared. Having our friends there makes all the difference. We will always be scared and we’ll always have to battle that fear every day. Sometimes it’s worse than other times. Every day we face the fear anew. Each day it’s, “Will we get harassed by the park rangers today or not?” We shouldn’t have to be afraid. When that park ranger bothered us the first time, he ruined our peace of mind. We have to be strong and try to not let it affect it, but it threatens our whole lifestyle here in San Diego. This is our winter home and if we can’t play in the park anymore, we can’t be in San Diego. Getting through this season without another incident wouldn’t change anything, because next January we’ll have to face it all over again. Why do we have to be afraid to play our beautiful music in a public space? We should feel loved and protected and cared for. Our fans and friends do that for us. The park rangers do nothing but scare and intimidate and harass us. I don’t even think they can do anything to us other than that. F**k.

Today was one of those prayformance we really had to push through. It was one of those prayformance I just wanted to sit down and cry. I know you my friends only wish the best for us and believe we will find success, but I have no illusions, or delusions, about it. I look at Thoth who is 62 and no better off than me. A man of great knowledge and skill and talent who may never see any rewards for his work, other than that he manages somehow to do it until his death, and that he has me. I know any of you who are reading would do something if you could. Sometimes I believe success will come. One could say we have found success by simply by finding a way to live a creative life, but I’m imagining something more significant. Even after having played for an hour, we still didn’t feel better. The rain and the lack of donations didn’t help my mood either. January and February are notoriously rough, and it’s hard not to let it affect our moods. It will be this way always. At least we get to play. In NYC or pretty much anywhere else we wouldn’t be able to play at all during these months. We just have to weather it and push through. That’s all we can do. Sometimes it feels like everything is hanging on by the smallest thread, and no one can help us. It could so easily fall apart, but so could anyone’s life. Bill said something else interesting. No one is safer than us. We just live that truth honestly. We are not safe. We have no possessions. People try to make themselves feel safe with money and houses and cars, but we have none of those things. We have our work, we have each other and we have our gifts and talents to do the work we need to do. That is worth more than anything in the world combined. Those who see that are our friends.

Thursday February 16th and Friday Feb. 17th 2017

“Solice” by General Fuzz and “Miss You” by Trentemoller have been my soundtracks all our days off this week. I can’t stop listening to them. The song “Solice” is eerie and goes well with the play I’m writing a plot for. I got the plot for “The Land of Deadly Echoes” basically finished and turned it in for Thoth to read. I painted for a few hours and once Thoth read the plot, he told me a few things didn’t quite work, which I fixed. He read it again and said it was good. I was so happy. I finally finished the plot synopsis for my play!! 1 month and 3 weeks of work every morning. I almost gave up a few times. Now I have to write the play, which will be even more difficult! I made a vlog of my new drawings for you, with concept sketches for my characters from the play called Fray Wrathanian and Ashen Delency. I started drawing a scary face using the dark paints I bought on Wednesday to start painting the sketches I’ve done over the last week or so. Painting is challenging for me. It isn’t as precise as drawing, but I’m learning white paint can be used to tidy things up. It’s a challenge to try and make faces look scary. On Friday I started adding other faces to my painting. Drawing is a stress reliever for me.

I started drawing a scary face using the dark paints I bought on Wednesday to start painting the sketches I’ve done over the last week or so. Painting is challenging for me. It isn’t as precise as drawing, but I’m learning white paint can be used to tidy things up. It’s a challenge to try and make faces look scary. On Friday I started adding other faces to my painting.

No Audiences Today at the Park and Discouraged about My Play

Thursday February 2017

Today I finished the first draft of a two and a half page plot synopsis for my new dark play I’m working on. I was very proud of myself. It took me a month and a week to do it (creating characters, writing their backstories, figuring out the plot, etc.) The last time I wrote a plot synopsis was for Esh and Ee-ay in 2009. Even then, I didn’t really finish the story. I gave up on it after Thoth critiqued it, saying it was too much like his story. I picked it up again for the commission in 2014. Just shows how long it takes to get creative projects done. I’ve given the plot synopsis to Thoth to read later tonight. He will write feedback for me so I can make the plot as tight and clear as possible, before I write the first draft of the play. Story writing is quite a difficult journey. I hope he likes it.

I had a really tough, seemingly unproductive weekend, but during that time I got the synopsis done and two drawings of a character in the story sketched. I find I’m not really aware of the progress I’m making as I’m making it. I wasn’t expecting anything playing at Balboa Park today, but I wanted to sing. Sometimes when we have weekends like that, it feels like we haven’t played in a century. Thursday’s are notoriously bad at the park. Our friend Tori wrote that she was sick and couldn’t come, so I was pretty sure we would just play a little and go home.

Boy was I right. No one, I mean literally no one stopped to watch us today at Balboa Park. Not a single person. When we finished our first piece, a man who had been passing by left us a tip and said, “Your voices sound like musical instruments.” and “You made my day.” We turned to each other, stunned. When people say something like that, it makes the entire day worth it. Some people just get it, even though no one was watching us.

I didn’t get too bummed out, like I usually do when we don’t gather a crowd. Instead, we improvised a few pieces and packed up. I am proud we did what we needed to do, even if didn’t doesn’t go very well at all. The most important thing is we did it. Even if nobody saw us, even if nobody cares, even if it doesn’t matter in the great scheme of things. We are doing what we are supposed to be doing, singing and sharing beautiful things. That’s all we can do.

I’m not a positive writer, I’m an honest writer. I don’t sugar coat what I feel. I don’t pretend or fake. I don’t try to be anything other than what I am. If I have a bad day, I don’t pretend it doesn’t affect me. I also don’t try to spin my experiences or feelings in a positive way. I say what I feel, without trying to hurt anyone. My honest feelings come from honest experiences. When people don’t watch us sing, I feel what I feel. I’m not mean or nasty or hateful about it, I just express myself from my honest feeling center. Being an artist can be a beautiful thing, but the lifelong struggle is getting people to pay attention and care, and they usually don’t, as they didn’t today.

Later after we came home and ate dinner, Thoth read my plot synopsis. He thought I had a lot of work to do. He said I need to figure out what the most important part of the story is and write about that, instead of writing about a tons of different things, like it’s an epic saga. I want the play to run for an hour, maybe a tad longer, so the action of the story would have to happen within a 5 hour or so period. The plot I have now lasts over many years and would take many hours to perform. That always seems to be my problem with plot creation. I write too much backstory and I want to keep all of that in the plot. The biggest challenge is condensing a story into a short time frame and make each character as realistic and unique as possible within that frame. Thoth is a great reviewer of written work, but it can be discouraging. I’m quick to think something I write is ready to go, and now I realize I have to start from the beginning again, sort of. I have a lot more information and this next draft will be more clear and concise, I’m just afraid it will never be finished and I’ll never write the play. I want to write a play, God damn it! It’s one of the only things I feel I have going for me right now, but who the f**k cares anyhow. I have to do it for myself somehow. I have to keep writing and singing and doing stuff somehow. I always manage to.

I hope we have a better play tomorrow.

 

I ‘ M F E I S T Y T O D A Y

Saturday January 21st 2017

I made three, count them THREE VLOGS today. Not that it matters or anyone cares! It’s actually amazing pathetic how much free, beautiful art we give to people and get so little back for it. I think that will always be the case. We’re lucky we make enough to survive. We are public servants who are not duly compensated for our work. We give and give and give. I think some day it’s got to change. People have got to open their f**king eyes and say “Hey wow, you guys are giving a lot! We should support you more!” Yeah, I know. We’re not the most important thing in the world. People have their own lives and problems to attend to. People are busy. Blah. Blah. Blah. No one owes us their attention or money because we share all this beautiful music. Who cares right? Yeah exactly. Who does care? Why should anyone care about us? There are many more important things to care about. There’s that EVIL ORANGE CLOWN MAN for example. We should be paying attention to him, right? Not us poor stupid ARTISTS. Who cares about us? Who cares about goodness and beauty and giving when evil now has the most powerful position in the world! What does free art matter! Oh right! It matters because in history people will be in awe of those who gave their art to the world and got nothing back and they’ll laugh at that crazy orange dictator. They’ll wonder how those artists kept going, kept making art, kept doing something giving and beautiful when no one gave a s**t, just as they marvel at the artists of the past who died with nothing for their art.

I know that our success would mean a change has occurred in the world. The world is completely backwards now. Those who give beauty and do good works are ignored while those who thieve and hurt and mock are given the largest amount of power and attention. It’s absolutely disgusting honestly. The world would need to make a huge switch. I know people are hungry for what we do. I know people love our music. I know what we do is beautiful. I am proud of what I do with my life, but I am sicked at how invisible we are. I make art and share our work simply because I must. It is not for now. It is for history. No I don’t have a big f**king ego about what we do. I’m forced every day to look straight in the face how little anyone cares. Everything I share, everything we do, is seen and supported by so few people. If we had a million people like our biggest and most devoted fans (you know who you are) we would be able to do the things we’ve always dreamed of. We cannot now. We can travel and perform in public resonant spaces. I am grateful for what that gives us, but we are capable of so much more. Having to look daily at my insignificance sometimes becomes too painful. I know what we are and what we are capable of, and we are not doing that. We are surviving, creating the only way we can. We have no other way to share our music or live other then performing it in public for anyone who will listen. I want us to have more options. We are worthy of it.

We are worthy of attention. We are doing something beautiful and completely unique in the whole world. I want to perform our operas indoors and tour the world with an entourage of helpers, our band and a chamber orchestra, as well as other artists and unusual performers to collaborate with. I want us to sing in churches. I want us to be legitimized by and be given thanks by all the public places we have performed in. I want us to have a theater space/school in which to develop new works. I want us to have million of subscribers on our Youtube channel. I want us to have contact with other unique artists of the world. I want us to be able to put on the shows as beautiful and amazing as we can imagine, with no limit to budget. The magic and beauty of what we do now is we manage to make raw art and beauty with nothing but our own willpower. No one makes it possible but us ourselves. Almost everything stands against us being successful. We could stop tomorrow and only a few people would blink an eye for a moment. There is nothing pushing us onward but our love and our need to put out into the world what does not exist.

I am grateful for my husband for holding me up, as he is grateful for me. We push each other forward, despite the darkness all around us, which will eat us alive if we let it. Thinking about the state of the world right now too much leads us down a dark path. At least we have our work. It’s all we have. We have a few dedicated fans. We appreciate them more then they know. Those who are reading this, for example, I appreciate so much. I don’t know what else to do. I am doing what I can. Being creating, being a good person, trying to be patient, being loving and giving. That is all we can do. Just keep going forward. Feel what I feel. Get it out in writing and in words and push onward forward. Don’t give up. Let those few special people’s love for us and our work be enough. Let ourselves, our work, what we are doing, be enough. We are enough. We are worthy of what we dream of.

Doing What Needs to Be Done!

Monday August 29th 2016

It took another 2 hours to get from Sutton to London Blackfriars. Even though we knew we’d have to take the bus, it was still hard. Too much for not enough reward. I was also frustrated about two things I wasn’t getting a response about and it was driving me nuts. There was a guitarist playing at the spot who we’d never seen before. He kept playing and playing until Thoth went over and said we were queuing. He didn’t say when he’d be finished. We both assumed he wouldn’t follow the hour and a half play rule as he’d probably already been playing there for hours beforehand.

After an hour and a half passed. I motioned to him to see if he was done. He kind of mocked my motion as if he wasn’t done. He got out a cigarette and came over to us. I told him it’s normal for people to play an hour and a half, then switch off with someone who is waiting. “Do I look like a normal person?” he said stupidly. I wanted to say, “Yes. I’ve seen your act everywhere in the world.” but instead I said, “It’s just nice to let others play.” For some reason, he did let us play but called us an “American Freak Show.” Who the f*** knows why. I muttered how I didn’t like being called a freak show. What a jerk.

This girl who sings opera came over to watch us. She loves our music. She met Thoth when I’d gone to see James last week. She told us she had arguments with guitarist man. “He plays and plays so he doesn’t have to talk to people and he never wants to share.” she said. So we were right about him. We played less than an hour. Our voices and bodies were too tired. We had crowds for the first half, but they died down after an hour. Oh well. We finished with “Scottish Song” to a crowd of maybe one person, who clapped. I didn’t care because I was happy we did it. “We did it.” I said when we finished, kissing Thoth. We did what we needed to do. We even sold two CDs. We immediately went into the train station to go home, knowing it would take another 2 hours to get back to Sutton. We need to live closer to, or better yet, in Central London when we visit next August. We’ll never play at Blackfriars again, but it did get us through this our first try in London.

We went to a delicious Indian restaurant near home. It was a satisfying ending to a very hard, but very successful day. When we got home, I got two emails with exciting things. I can’t wait to tell you about them.

Sunday August 28th 2016

We decided not to go into the city to play at Blackfriars today. It was cold and rainy and the trains still weren’t running from Sutton, making it a two hour, very boring and seemingly pointless trip. Instead we hung out in the house until 2pm and then went for food and drinks at a pub with Kaja and Emil. I tried not to get upset about not going to play. It was 5pm by the time we were done. The day got away with us. I’m glad. I never enjoy days when we’re not playing and I know we should. We’ll go play tomorrow, even though the trains still won’t be running. Ugh. It’ll be the last time we’ll have to take that trip.

Saturday August 27th 2016

We got out of the house by 2pm. Decent timing, or so we thought. The train from Sutton wasn’t running, again. It didn’t run last Sunday and it took for f***ing ever to get to London Blackfriars. I was pissed off knowing we’d have to take the shaky, vomit-inducing bus instead. I practically threw my violin on the floor I was so mad. I do get upset when things don’t go as planned, and that happens a lot in my life.

We got to Blackfriars at 2pm. It took 2 hours to get there. Ridiculous! We most definitely will be staying nearer to London next time. That kind of long transit makes us miserable. We had to wait another 2 hours to play because the bassist was playing. I was really frustrated. We played an hour and a half. It was ok, but the space isn’t that great for us we’ve found. At least we know now where we need to live and where we shouldn’t play. Next year we’ll audition to play at Covent Garden. That could be the place for us. James and I saw an opera singer there last week and he had a huge crowd. We would blow everyone away.

We walked to Waterloo station to have sushi at Wasabi and then took another 2 hour trip home. That one wasn’t as bad because I took something to keep me from getting motion sick. What would I do without my little Bunny? We can make our way through any problem. We just do what needs to be done!