I felt like shit before we went out to play. Hopeless, helpless. I can’t work on my play. I’m trying to think of ways for us to make more money, but there are none I can think of. No quick fixes. Patreon, but who would support us in the way we really needed? We’d need a significant amount of support to be able to support ourselves. I could ask people for help, my family for example, but don’t want to rely on them for help. I’m so scared and I don’t know what to do. We can’t survive on tips alone. It is barely enough to get by right now. It’s weighing heavily on my mind every day.
I got ready to play and did my makeup as always, but eventually I sat down wondering why I was even bothering. I’m worried about turning any lights on continuously, as it will add to the always unexpectedly ridiculous electricity bill we can’t afford at the end of each month. I snapped this one and only photo of the day. You can read my feelings on my face. What are we going to do? I just wanted to cry. I don’t know why I was putting makeup on. It doesn’t do anything for us. It doesn’t increase our money. It doesn’t help us. It can help my mood, but not today. My mind was elsewhere. I am preoccupied by money these days. I hate it. I need to pull myself out of it, but I can’t seem to. Usually I’m thinking about being creative and trying to write and draw and prayform beautifully. I have managed to keep my thoughts away from money since we got here. Just do my very best and things will get better, but two months of doing so badly it’s finally getting to me.
When we bike to the park to play, there is hope today will be different. There is hopefulness. Today was the same. Tori arrived all dressed up and so did Pascual. He had his hair slicked back and was wearing spats and a tie. Very nice. Both of them would help to sell CDs as best they could. While I was talking to Tori, a man and his wife bought two CDs and a download card from Thoth, That always lifts my mood and gives me hope to day will go similarly in terms of people’s generosity. I was more bubbly and full of good feelings as we started, but it didn’t last. We had a crowd for the first song, but it again was very slow. Crowds here and there, but not generous. I remember writing about these kinds of frustrations in Edinburgh in 2014.
I got more and more frustrated as we played. Same old same old. We were trying our best, people were watching us, but not coming forward. Every time I said we have our music available after a song, no one even inquired about it. The couple who’d bought two CDs came back to watch us for a while and bought another one. We told them they were making our day. The wife keeled next to me and I explained how hard it is for us not to sell CDs and we can’t survive on tips alone. “No, God no you can’t.” she said sympathetically. A sympathetic ear for once! So compassionate, and she didn’t really say much else than that. Just a little compassion goes a long way, especially right now when we’re struggling like this.
Bill couldn’t come today as he sprained his ankle on Monday slipping in the rain. Poor thing! We missed him. I hope he heals up soon so we can see him again. He is struggling too. Everyone struggles. When things are bad like this, the worst feeling is feeling alone, because no one can help us. Only we can figure it out. People could step forward and be especially generous all at once, but that doesn’t happen. We survive by a few people being generous for the many others who choose for whatever reason not to be. It’s been this way as long as I’ve been prayforming, almost 10 years. It hasn’t changed. People are greedy and ungenerous. That’s why I hesitate putting any of our music up for free online, as people would just listen to it and not give anything back, as most do in the park. I don’t trust people to surprise us by being generous.
I don’t know how we manage to keep things going. How do we manage to keep traveling and living in all these beautiful cities. NYC, San Diego, SF, Lisbon, Amsterdam, and London only from prayforming in public. I always fear that will end somehow. The only way it would end is if we stopped doing it. We’ve been to San Diego, San Francisco, Lisbon, Amsterdam, London, NYC, Malaga and Nashville just this year alone. I don’t want to stop traveling, no matter how hard it is, because it’s the only way we can keep playing. I hope things get better. I hope we can find another way, a way to fix this problem. We’ve been in worse experiences. When we finally find success, people will be wishing they supported us more. We need to figure it out. We will be stronger in the end. What won’t kill us will make us braver, stronger, more polished, more shiny and more beautiful. There has got to be a way. Please God make things better for us.
Tuesday February 21st 2017
We usually wouldn’t prayform on a Tuesday (or Monday), but I wanted to. We needed to play a full four days. I love challenging myself to do completely different looks every day. I’ve never used to use red or black, now I fearlessly wear ANY color! I went for a reddish look today. Bloody. Like a bullet hole in my head and bloody tears streaming down my cheeks. Pretty, but a little creepy.
I assumed Tori would stay home today, but near the end of the prayformance she surprised us by arriving with a friend and a sign they made for us. Usually I take a slow day after a really energetic few days of playing badly, but I didn’t today. I did realize why I can get really depressed when peopled don’t respond (clap) for our work sometimes. That almost happened after Anya today, but people did clap. When there is no one leading the applause (it’s been a long time since that happened) people sometimes don’t know if they should clap. I know what we’re doing is just as beautiful as it was when tons of people were clapping and cheering. Our work is never less beautiful, the audiences and the days just change. We pushed through it and it got better. When Tori and her friend and Chet came to watch near the end, suddenly everyone had gathered in front to watch. If there aren’t people standing in front of us, people stand way off to the sides. It’s makes the biggest difference when people come and watch us in front without fear. It gives other people permission to do the same.
It’s amazing we can do this work and somehow survive and thrive and have a certain kind of success. Yes, January and February are notoriously slow financially, but it will pick up again in March. We just have to weather the storm, as we always do. My birthday is on Sunday. I’ll be 29. Si*t! Almost 30? Me? I don’t feel a day older than 17. It’s just a number anyway. Being home in Nashville made me completely feel like a teenager again. I haven’t lost that. I don’t think I ever will.
We have such good friends here in San Diego. I don’t know why here. More people come to see us prayform here than anywhere in the world. On Sunday we had 6 or 7 people who were fans that all came to see us play. Some of our most diehard fans are in this city. We don’t have fans like that in New York (only Dan and Josh) or in Lisbon. People come to see us, yes, but not with such consistency and dedication. We are part of people’s lives here. Even people who don’t come to see us as much we know love us and think about us. That’s why we can feel so alone in NYC or even Lisbon. People may love our work and think of us, but we have little to no connection with them. I feel like an island in New York. It’s strange because it’s the Angel Tunnel that Thoth played in for so many years. We’ve been in Lisbon a long time too, almost every summer since 2010.
Monday February 20th 2017
I was inspired by our friend Tori to try a mixture of a dark and light makeup look today, plus I wanted to be all dressed up for our interview with Skylar in Balboa Park.
Skylar met us at 2pm at the Globe theater. Barb and David had 4 or 5 cameras last year and two or three helpers. Skylar had only one camera and herself. She says it will be finished in the beginning of March. I’m so excited to see it! It’s really interesting to do documentary interviews. It makes me feel that our life is incredibly significant. Why do documentaries of our work get made in this city? Tori came and Skylar watched and filmed most of the prayformance. Bill came. He said he might, and he did. We had a lovely time. These days we really need to prayform. Taking days off is too painful. I get to work on my creative projects, but Thoth has been so scared and depressed it’s better we go out to play.
We had a lot of fun today. I’m having a blast singing solos. I’m not scared of them anymore. Singing solos takes a lot of bravery and guts! It feels like I’m getting the hang of it though. Solos are very different from duets. They take a lot out of me and tire me out quicker. I don’t know how Thoth did it alone for so long. 10 years, but doing solos these days made me feel that someday I may be able to do solo prayformances when Thoth is gone. God. I wonder what I will do when that happens. We never know what life will bring us. I just have to focus on today. Maybe he’ll live forever.