Happy New Year
Soâ€¦ itâ€™s been a while. Iâ€™m slowly peeling myself away from being 100% in maternal dream land and beginning to return to my music and so, I suppose itâ€™s time to return to this diary. I was grossed out by the idea that I would ever do anything other than keep my family completely separate from my public, music self, but the longer I wait to have anything honest to say that is not related to the fact that I am a new mother, the longer I stay away.
This dreaminess is probably equal parts exhaustion, wonderment and gratitude. All of the clichÃ©s about the depth of love you feel for your own child and how quickly they change and how it all flies by are just plain true. I spent every day of my pregnancy praying that he would just be healthy and now I spend every day not daring to take any of this for granted, for it is when you least expect it, that accidents and tragedy hit you. It never occurred to me to be overly careful with my own life until I was married and this sense of having something to lose was suddenly acute. This is a much more intense version of that same feeling.
I called my friend Teresa one day in the middle of my pregnancy, beside myself. I was a puddle on my bedroom floor, overcome with all of the things in this world that could hurt my child. I explained what was going on to Teresa, the fact that I couldnâ€™t stop worrying and the act of worrying was making me scared that I would bring my worst fears upon myself and that the struggle to try to stop thinking was making me feel crazy and that it was probably just hormones, but I was suffering. It was a perfect Teresa response, â€œSarah, you now officially have the knife in your heart and it will only get worse.â€? I had previously heard her refer to this knife that is permanently implanted in your heart when you become a mom and I was now part of the club. This might not sound like comfort, but it was. Teresa has an ability to shoot straight in a way that is so grounding. â€œYouâ€™re not crazy. What youâ€™re feeling is real. You might as well enjoy this part, because it is only going to get harderâ€?
So Iâ€™m learning to balance this superstition that I cannot, for a moment get used to my incredible good fortune with a discipline of trying not to harbor all of the thoughts that race through about ways this world could hurt my child or even worse, ways that we could. Sometimes I think his innocence will literally split my chest open. It hurts. It huuuuurts. So my heart is a big, sore, plump muscle working overtimeâ€¦ the balance of what matters is all different.
I can think again, which is such a relief. Thinking well was basically impossible for me while I was pregnant. It was like walking through oatmeal every day. My brain cells are finally cooperating in a way that I am finishing lots of songs that have danced around for the last year. I had the next album written already and now this new batch of songs is coming out that will vie for their place. I was not yet anxious to play out, when Sam recently convinced me to share his gig with him this Wednesday at The Carousel Lounge and to use it as a very casual forum for trying some of this new stuff. We have found a really cool upright bass player named Will Schulz who has learned a handful of songs and will try them with us at the show. I donâ€™t know what I think of these songs, except for one, that I am sure is good. Itâ€™s different, perhaps heavier on music than poetry. Sometimes I hear a song that can knock me flat out and itâ€™s so damn simple. How did they do that? Damn. Iâ€™m allowing some things to be simpler.
Well, many things will just have to be simpler. I certainly canâ€™t get back on the road the way I was doing it. Canâ€™t bring the baby in the Geo Metro and sleep wherever is free, each night in a different city. Yes, things will have to be more efficient and I have decided that that is a blessing. I enjoyed going and going, throwing everything at the wall to see what would stick, but I canâ€™t do it that way any more and I shouldnâ€™t. Time to concentrate on making each gig, word, lyric, action, decision, alliance count. Time to make an album that does some of the legwork for me, finds the people. Itâ€™s scary to admit that as my intention. Would be far safer to hide behind maternal contentment and protect myself from the disappointment that will come if I donâ€™t make a really good album.
Lotâ€™s of decisions to be made about how we want it to sound, who to work with, and what the process will be. Getting to make demos at Capitol Studios will spoil anyone. When I first went to the studio to meet the people who had gotten excited about me, we arrived 1st and waited for them in studio A. I inhaled and a calm set in with the little voice in my head saying, â€œOK, youâ€™re here, letâ€™s get to work.â€? I suddenly knew that I wasnâ€™t going to get super nervous and blow it and I felt very at home. The official answer is that nothing further came out of those demos and they will never be released. The honest answer is that I donâ€™t know what happened. I just rode the wave until the people involved stop doing what they said they were going to do. In life and especially in the entertainment industry, people who do what they say they are going to do are so rare and I donâ€™t know why. I donâ€™t consider that chapter closed, but it is time to move forward with the things that I can control. I look forward to getting to record like that again, but it is 2007 and I am surrounded by people making amazing albums at home. There is a balance.
Along the whole â€˜people who do what they say they are going to doâ€™ thingâ€¦ I think there are 2 reasons I havenâ€™t been able to write any diary entries. One was that I was pregnant and couldnâ€™t string a coherent thought together. The other was that I was so deeply disappointed in the way my last music supervisor job turned out and just terribly embarrassed to have been connected to a project that turned out that way. The whole iVEEA/American Made show was a nightmare for most of the people involved and in the end the company didnâ€™t pay their vendors, including all of the musicians. These shows continue to air on CNBC all over the world and the music licenses havenâ€™t been paid for. 51 different musicians are owed money. These are musicians who had to go to great lengths to get contracts to us at a moments notice, because the project was so terribly run that the music was never locked in until the last minute, usually the day before it aired. One episode was even changed hours before it aired. Oh, I shouldnâ€™t get into it, itâ€™s so awful, but this feels like confession even though none of it was my fault. These poor indie bands spending money they donâ€™t have to fax contracts on a Sunday from some Kinkos on the road, making us instrumental mixes of their albums to us for background musicâ€¦ I mean the Austin music community did back flips for these people, for me, to make the impossible happen and they havenâ€™t been paid. These musicians are my community, my network, my friends and thatâ€™s the very reason that I was able to get around 50 songs per week licensed for this damn show. Whatâ€™s to stop any TV channel from hiring an independent production company that uses whatever music they want and then just goes bankrupt and never has to pay for the music (or the equipment or the B roll footage, etc)? I have tried and tried to get advice from lawyers who I know, but everyoneâ€™s response is pretty much, â€œWow, that sucks.â€? All along, my mission has been to bridge the many film/TV projects that go on in Austin with this amazing pool of indie musicians right under their noses who are eager to get their music placed. Itâ€™s so simple and now this one company has made it so much more complicated for everyone. Lessons learned are the very reason that the verbiage in contracts get longer and longer and everyone has to spend time and money covering their asses instead of just accomplishing a mutually beneficial goal.
Whewâ€¦ OK thatâ€™s where I am. I think I can come back now that I have cleared my head. Things I can do my best at and things I canâ€™t control. Blessings and disappointmentsâ€¦
Happy New Year