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.
Thursday January 19th 2017
I just finished my first diary in 10 years. 160 pages in a month and a half. WTF. I’m gonna have lots of diaries by the end of the year. 🙂 That’s why I haven’t kept a physical one in so long. More sh*t to carry around. We went to play today. Thought it would rain, but it was sunny. We can’t stay home on a usual prayformance day when it’s sunny. We’re improvising a lot, as I wanted to. Thoth had more fun with it today. He was in a much better mood. My poor baby gets so emotionally inside out when the weather changes. He is such a sensitive soul. I love him so much.
Sometimes I feel so strong, other times I don’t feel strong at all. Today I felt strong. Today I had fun and believed in myself. I did yesterday, too, even though Thoth wasn’t doing well. I love trying new things. I love improvising. Prayformance, the act of doing it, our day leading up to it and after it, is so good for us. It gives us purpose and happiness, as nothing else does. Writing, drawing in the morning. Singing and breathing in the afternoon. Writing and drawing in the evening. It’s a perfect, all-day-creative day. Some days are more of a struggle. Some days I wonder why it has to feel so hard, other days I can’t believe how blessed we are. I love the freedom of our life. The spontaneity and the discipline of it. The humbleness and the giving of it. The raw and openness of it. The simplicity of it. Balboa Park is an easy and painless place we play for 4 months out of the year, especially right now living downtown. NYC is much harder. Lisbon is pretty painless too. It’s getting there that’s hard and where we live. We’re living in such a beautiful place now.
I’m loving the vlog these days. I love this video I made of us singing after prayformance today. I think it’s beautiful. I discovered if you play the video at different points in a few different tabs the harmonies are really pretty. I wish I had been vlogging this consistently when we first started traveling at the end of 2009. We have some random footage, but not of our time starving in Marrakech… or our week in depressing Athens or our fully paid trip to and performance in Madeira, or when Thoth danced on the ferry to Greece or our first trip to Amsterdam or our fully paid for trip to and performance in Sao Paulo for a festival, or our all night and all day drive from Texas to San Diego, or…… I need to write a book about our travels. I’ve been working on it over the years. There is footage of us playing in every city we’ve ever played in. If we got famous enough, it would be amazing if every video ever filmed of us (on people’s camera phones, etc.) were sent to us and we could make a documentary using their footage. That would be amazing.
I have so many dreams for the work we do. I believe in what we do. I believe creativity and art and imagination are the most important things we have.
Thursday October 6th 2016
I was so discouraged today. Didn’t want to go out to play at all. I was depressed. Started thinking about Martha’s Vineyard and how much I miss it. We will probably never go there again and I don’t know why. I loved Martha’s Vineyard. We were so supported there. I wish we had more of that. I was hoping we’d do a show once a year in Martha’s Vineyard, but that’s not happening. Not one person who saw the shows liked us enough to bring us back. It depresses me a lot when I think about it.
The park seemed busy and quiet. Three people were waiting for us to begin. One woman sat on a pillar. She had unicorn hair, like me. She had seen us last week, went to our website, read my blog and listened to all of our music. Her name was Rachael. I love that. Such a rare thing. No one has said anything about my blog for months. It’s hard to keep going when no one seems to care. It takes every fiber of our being to do what we do. It’s so easy for someone to write something, say something, throw us a dollar. The least anyone can do is show a little support.
Rachael sat and watched our entire prayformance. It helped to have one person witnessing us. We got through an hour and 40 minutes and I just couldn’t perform anymore. It wasn’t as bad as yesterday, but it was still slow. Rachael knelt and spoke with us while we packed up. The amplified trio started playing. Whenever we hear them, we get sad. I called the park rangers, but who knows if they would come. We walked to the train, got salads for dinner and went home.
Wednesday October 5th 2016
Today was tough. I wasn’t very inspired to get up and got out to play, but I did. I did very simple makeup and hair, but I felt beautiful. That’s all that matters.Dan Rubin came and Cover Story was performing. They hadn’t been at the tunnel for a week. We missed them! They said hello to us. They had a big crowd and it was quiet, so we thought we’d have a great day. Not so much.
We had big crowds but that was it. Generosity? Clapping? Not so much. The entire two hours, the same. A big crowd would gather, they’d clap tentatively, then no one (or maybe just one or two people) would come forward and they’d all just stand there staring at us. No one said anything to us. It was especially hard after seeing a sold out show where people were laughing and cheering and clapping emphatically the night before. We are alone, especially when things get hard. Our frustrations, our bad days aren’t very important to anyone.
I know. Boo hoo, poor me! I’m a world traveling musician who makes a living singing, only two hours a day. Easy you’d say. The truth is, it’s not! We’re struggling every day to get up and do it by ourselves. It is our choice to do it. That’s why no one else in the world does what we do. It’s too hard! I do wish it wasn’t such a lonely path. At least I have my Bunny. Being yourself requires trudging along through life alone. The fact I found someone to be at my side is incredible. We are alone, together, fighting the constant and daily uphill battle to make our art in this unfair and unjust world.
The fact we’re still doing it, that Thoth has been doing this for half his life is staggering. No matter how many great days we have, the days always get hard again. That’s life. We treated ourselves to salads and doughnuts for dessert.
Monday October 3rd 2016 and Tuesday October 4th 2016
So Monday and Tuesday (our days off) were pretty chill. On Monday we went to see a movie on 23rd St. and got a sandwich, doughnuts (at the best doughnut shop in NYC, Doughnut Plant) and ate our (free) leftovers from Sunday night at home. For how little I eat, I f’ing LOVE food!
On Tuesday we stayed in the house all day until time to go see “Falsettos” on Broadway. Sarah Kernochan, James Lapine’s wife, got us free tickets in the orchestra. (James is the director and book writer of the show.) We got there early and got a juice to tide us over for dinner. Picked up our tickets at the box office and went in.
Someone tapped me on the shoulder. It was James. I got up and hugged him. Such an awesome guy. We haven’t seen him since our opera commission last August in Martha’s Vineyard. He’s one of those people I love and admire a lot yet hardly ever see, like my other friend James, from England.
The first act was hysterical. The second act was more serious. I liked the first act more. James talked to us a little when the show was over. The show is in previews so he has to be there to watch it and give notes at the end. Stressful. We walked to 41st St. to have burgers for dinner. It was past midnight when we got home.
Tuesday September 6th 2016
I woke on my own at 8:30am. We got out of the house and to the computer repair shop on 23rd St.. They said it would cost a lot to fix, so I decided to buy a new one. We bought a hard drive so they could transfer all my data for me. We walked to Chelsea Market. On the way a man hung out of a taxi and said, “Thoth, I love you man!” I love when that happens. Thoth deserves some recognition! We got lobster rolls and then Thoth asked if I’d like to have sushi. Even though I knew it’d be expensive, I said yes absolutely.
The bar was open at noon, so we waited 15 minutes and were the first to be seated. I got a chirashi bowl. It was so delicious I was crying! The pieces were so thick and creamy. The rice was so soft and buttery tasting. Oh my goodness me. I love me some good sushi. It’s my vice. “Why are you spoiling me?” I asked Thoth. “Because you lost a friend today, your little computer.” he said. “You’re not spoiled. We work hard.” he said. I love when he spoils me. I don’t feel guilty about it in the least.
We went into the subway to go home and a man came up to us. “Are you still playing at the tunnel?” he asked. “Yes. Only in the Fall.” we said. “I haven’t seen you there in a while,” he said. “I thought they’d chased you away.” Well they kind of did, but not in the way he’s thinking. It was time to start traveling. I ordered a computer on Ebay. It would arrived by Friday, hopefully.
I decided to go back out around 5pm to buy a Bose speaker for us. We had been planning to buy one when we got back to NYC. I got a call from the computer shop who said my backed up hard drive was ready to pick up. I went back to 23rd Street, got the speaker and picked up my hard drive. We got a lot done today.
The phone rang the moment I put the keys in the door to the apartment. It was Meli’s number, but I knew it was Thoth. He was terribly worried about me. I’d been gone for 2 hours. He’s so cute. We both get worried about each other. So sweet. I had the rest of my lobster roll and we went to get deli sandwiches for dinner.
Monday September 5th 2016
My computer turned on in the morning, but when I closed it again it wouldn’t turn on. It was well and truly dead. Ah well. Time for a new computer. We left the house at 3pm and had lunch at Toast. It wasn’t the best meal. Not as good as we remembered it. They got Thoth’s order wrong, too. We hadn’t been there in three years.
I called mom to say hello and tell her what’s going on in our lives. I gave the phone to Thoth so he could say hello, too. It’s a damn miracle they can talk to each other now. It’s taken so long. I’m so proud of us. I can’t really believe this is my life.
Stopped at 34th St and went home. My computer still wouldn’t turn on. Thoth found a place online where I could maybe get it fixed. I spent the night trying to get it to turn on again. No such luck!