Think Before You Buy
I was at Bed Bath and Beyond not too long ago when I saw a person viciously cut in front of me, only to purchase $250 worth of what had to be the most insanely useless items I've ever seen.
What's crazy is that they weren't unusual items, they were very normal items purchased by people every day that are under the assumption that they need to have these things in order to carry on. They were "basic necessities" for this person, and they had actually made the trip in their car to this crowded store to come and purchase these things.
How does this happen? I will begin to unravel this answer to my best ability below.
Businesses all around the world profit from you feeling empty unless you continue to buy their product. Their product will get you closer to feeling complete as a person. Happy. Content. This is the best advertising tactic- you are almost pretty enough to go outside if you just had our makeup, you will just fit in if you wear our bell bottoms.
But this is not the case at all. Anything that you spend money on will not complete you. In fact, I heard once that richness is not defined by how much you have but how little you need...
So you feel like you have a real-world, tangible example to go off of, I'll use myself as an example. In high school I got my hair highlighted for $150 regularly at Gene Juarez (one time they used the wrong color highlight and I cried in the bathroom for an hour before realizing they could just kill my hair a different color). I also went shopping. A lot. I had dreams about hallways of bell bottoms before I had my first pair, and I used to find happiness in imagining myself in new clothes. Why? Because it was almost like imagining a new and improved version of myself... at the quick, fast price of $29.99! It was an easy improvement without having to use any patience, dedication or make really tough decisions about who I was as a person and what I really wanted out of life.
Now I'm two steps away from not buying toilet paper. Ok, no, not that far (although I would recommend Seventh Generation for more sustainable toilet paper). But I've cut out almost everything in my life. Someone once visited my home and asked, "did you just move in?" Not because it doesn't have character or feels cold, but because I chose, and continue to choose, not to clutter my life with things that I don't find to be incredibly inspiring and thus helpful to my main life's purpose.
I challenge you to take a long, hard look at what you want out of life. What you would do (after all the partying and traveling and hanging out was out of your system) if you only had 3 years left. Would you care about face cream or looking older or the size of thighs or how much you impressed your friends with your new gadget from Best Buy? I bet not. The more we acknowledge the realism of death and the importance of our individual life's purpose on this planet, the more we can begin to filter out the advertising agencies push of their shallow agendas on to ours. Think about this before you buy your next item.
If you're reading this as an artist, keep going. If you're reading this as an art supporter... this is going to blow all your previous assumptions about your career-artist friends out the window.
Most people don't have to do what full-time artists do on a regular basis to make money, so it's our duty as artists to teach them and help them understand without getting impatient or irritable (simply avoided by eating breakfast). In order to get anywhere with any form of original art we need to tell people about it. You can't be the secret, cool celebrity smoking a cigar in the corner until you've run around handing out flyers (or had someone else do it for you) and worked tirelessly at jobs that may make you check into a local hospital. Weekly. (But it's o.k., you'll make friends with the doctors that will later treat your lung cancer from all the celebrity cigars that you'll be smoking.)
Let me say that I think it really helps to learn how to promote yourself, yourself. It is incredibly empowering (I suggest Amanda Palmer's The Art of Asking but I also suggest that she eventually invest in shirts). At first I had someone promote a lot of my music for me, and like a true perfectionist, I didn't like how they were doing it. When I had to take it on myself it was difficult initially, but after some practice it made my art, and my character, stronger. <---- Growth in Character Strength... goooood.
Here's how I got to the point of truly not caring about how people react to me. I LOVE making people feel good, and I definitely am respectful of someone's time, privacy and peace and quiet (I'll be peace, I'll be quiet- What About Bob). But I also have something that I respect about myself. My art. And I believe, based on very emotional audience testimonials, that it will make people happy if they give it a chance. I think if we start looking at our art without attaching it to ourselves personally all the time we can start to really help it grow. Forget how you will be perceived by others. Where do you want your art to go? If you want to expand your audience then you need to push your art with some force. Truthfully, if you respect your art, than you'll help it grow (and you should want to grow it, nothing likes to stay Frozen In Time).
It just so happens that your art includes your brand which includes your physical form (and your ego), so it can easily feel very feather-fluffing-ish. It has taken me a while not to feel this way, but now I honestly separate my "soul" from the brand (by the way, branding is not a bad thing, it helps people from all cultures understand who you are and what you do). So if someone attacks your brand, you don't take it personally, it's just the brand they're attacking... or you could think of it as they're attacking the "business" (like getting your LLC sued). Say, "Hey, that's no problem, I didn't realize this brand pissed you off so much. Let me buy you a coffee, human-to-human."
I think this is a really important lesson for many artists, especially the super-sensitive ones. Most people have a business with a brand that doesn't have their face on it (even the worker bees working on Timberlake's promotion don't have their face on the promotions) and, if the business does (in the case of real-estate), it's usually offering a "service" that is more of a life-necessity in the eyes of society than art is. [At some point, PUSHING YOUR ART WILL INEVITABLY LOOK LIKE YOU'RE ASKING EVERYONE FOR A FAVOR. Get outta that mindset. It's not a favor, it's a service, and in my opinion, a service with more value than real-estate. Our culture NEEDS to value art more, help it get there by pushing your art and your friend's art.]
So the problem with having your face on a billboard or on a flyer that you hand out is that people mistake good business for artistic ego. No one looks at a real-estate agent and says, "Dude, your head on that bus bench makes me think that you're just trying to get more clients." Of course they're trying to get more clients, and so are you. There's no shame in that. In fact, there's shame if you don't do that because you're letting your art down by half-assing it and making it yet another "hobbie." (I gotta tell you, almost a decade of thinking about this one, I could do with a few less hobbyists in the world COMPETING in my full-commitment realm. Real-estate doesn't have to compete with hobby real-estate agents. I mean, come on. Commit to art or pick something else.)
Keeping this all in mind, you really won't feel bothered by malicious comments, negative reactions or people wrongly assuming the extent of your ego anymore. To top it off, I'll put the cliché, remember where it's coming from, another way: Remember that people sometimes forget to eat breakfast and they're really friggin overwhelmed because they've recently adopted in a dog that may or may not have worms because the worm medicine was too hard to use so they were only able to administer half of it but it all got lost in the mix because an intense decision had to be made about their super stressful job before they went into the hospital and had to sit next to that cigar-smoking-living-in-the-past celebrity. Again.
If someone is a total jerk to me, chances are, they misunderstood my intent because of a previous incident that day or a previous understanding of my field. My intent is that I want to share something with them that I think they'll really enjoy. My ultimate challenge is to have people see the true intent as early in the conversation as possible, but more often than not I find it doesn't resonate above the sound of their growling stomach. Which brings me to another blog post for a later day, "understanding what 'no' really means."
Go after what you want, with ruthless compassion. You won't step on people's toes until you do. And when you do, just respond the same way that you do when you're dancing, "My apologies, I did not mean to step on your toes, I was only trying to dance."
One of the writers I have been following at the moment is Kim Flottum- here are some articles to check out:
Why the U.S. should stop importing bees from Australia
7 Causes of CCD
And a few others...
Migratory beekeeping and honey bee health
Here's a YouTube video on treatment-free beekeeping. This is something that comes up quite often in beekeeping meetings (from what I've seen)-- Michael Bush (not the football player) is a very intelligent man.
January 11th, 2013
Hey guys, so glad the last blog helped many of you. Keep in mind that it's only from my perspective...
I thought I'd add a picture with this post. I mean, look at the weather- is this not the best place to blog? Yes, that green chair is very comfy.
I thought I'd talk today about trying. There are a lot of people up here on this deck today. Some trying really hard to make something of themselves, some pretending not to care so that way they can rationalize failure.
In my highschool I remember trying was something that kids only did when they weren't good enough to just sit there and win automatically. Before I came to LA someone warned me NOT to tell people that I had studied piano because it would look like I had to try to be good instead of just naturally being good.
What the hell is this? I have been called many things, a prodigy (my least favorite and completely false), a genius, ambitious, hard-working. The first two are the dumbest things I have ever heard. Genius and prodigy don't exist unless ambition and hard-work are there. They are merely excuses for people to basically say, "I never tried because I wasn't born a genius. Or just plain wasn't good enough." You didn't work, prioritize and want it badly enough then! Don't blame your lack of trying on your genes!
In fact, I've never believed in these two (prodigy and genius). People get smart and people get talented by working their asses off. Even if someone is born with something lucky (like freakishly alien-long fingers :P) they have to learn how to use and understand it. If you think that you're talented naturally and that you were born that way I would suggest taking a look at your background and seeing how often you nourished your "gift."
I'll keep this one short. I never stop thinking. I guess I'll put a few more of my thoughts to website so I don't die having only thoughts.
It seems fitting that I finally talk about street performance as I have learned some of my life's most valuable lessons through them. One has to learn about the nature of entertaining in some way, mine was through monkey-play-in-street-plastic-tip-jar. Ok ok, I was obtaining unusual money from another source than the tip jar, but I still feel my emotions and growth are valid here. Joshua Bell I'm sure would agree with the humbling nature of performing for people who really couldn't give a rats a**.
Read this article from when Bell played in the metro and, hm.. to anyone's surprise?, no one cared. He made $34 though.... which is outstandingly more than he would have made in L.A.
Unlike the author of the above article, Kevin Hayden, I disagree with his tone when he states that "such 'art' is only heard once in a lifetime." The sooner anyone can stop thinking this way, the better. It is a privilege to have people stop their lives to listen to you, in a raw form (sin concert ambiance). To get people to stop their daily lives and give you time, when you're fully clothed, is the most beautiful thing in the entire world. And for any musician or artist to think that their music is "the sound of the gods and all are ignorant baboons who do not stop to listen" is preposterous.
You see one thing that the world of classical musicians will not understand is that no matter what moving epiphany you're having in your head while playing, it's a lie to yourself and the world if you truly think that after taking away all the concert hall, concert dress, concert ambiance fluff, they would have even a remotely close experience. I'm not saying you cannot touch people or move people or reach people, but bottom line, their lives will always be more important than what you have to say. If what you have to say fits into their lives, bam. You have yourself a market.
Now the real amazing moments come from when: A. You have no money and the streets are basically the only thing you can do to eat- combined with: B. The sober, intelligent attitude it takes to understand just how incredibly mind-blowing A is. Unfortunately there are a lot of turned off brains playing on the streets. I completely understand.
So where am I going with this rant? I don't know, I have a hunger headache. All I can say is, Thank you L.A., thank you busy people, and thank you traffic noise. Without you I never would have found myself, my place, my voice, and my understanding of this incredibly insane path that I have chosen.
You know, as much as I disliked a lot of the way Universal pictures portrayed The Lorax (mainly because the book is my bible and Dr. Seuss is my god), I am so happy that it reached people.
Just this afternoon I had some inquisitive, young girls come into the office and tell me, “Oh my god, I watched it (the Lorax) and was like, ‘let's go plant a tree.”
I’m so stubborn about reaching people in my way that I forget sometimes that the ways others (like Universal studios) use to get a point across reaches another crowd because they use ways that I don’t use.
Just another thought that says, perhaps we’re all in this together. And perhaps stubborn people like me should be more embracing and less judgmental. If it’s the right cause, shut up and support it!
So I sit here and listen to classical pop jazz funk classical crazy drums. It is so wonderful to be able to do something naturally and not ever feel like it's work. Out of school I can finally be myself, the research that I do comes about as natural as eating (and equally as rewarding).
Then every once in a while you run into something that reminds you just how far you get to go because you see a light barely lit at the end of the valley. You get excited and profoundly moved at the same time, but yet you don't move at all. You stand still, for the one second you look into the future.
Check out James Blake's rendition of A Case of You by Joni Mitchell and follow it with Jeff Buckley's version of Hallelujah and you'll get here quickly.
I have to apologize at this point, I'm just getting used to the concept of blogging. At first I fought the idea almost as much as I fought facebook... but I believe I was more irritated by the people that misused the concept rather than the concept itself.
So. I'm personally putting together an EP. This, or I suppose the overall idea of any sort of KC CD, has been on my mind since I was a little girl. One of those to-do dreams that remain from childhood and are actually necessary to implement when the time comes. All I can say is I'm excited and more than ready.
There are other things on my mind, however, before focusing 100% on the EP. I have been looking for a piano. Where? Sketchy-ass craigslist. Why? Must... play... piano...
I'd like to think that any piano can be made to sound good with the right hands. I've worked on/with everything and I definitely didn't grow up on anything but an old upright. I appreciate every piano and touch it with caring hands. So why the F#%^ does everyone else look at like a piece of furniture? They should be giving me the freaking thing if they know how much I use it and know (by looking at my half-ass dress and tennis shoes) I have very little floating around for any investment.
So I guess my question for this blog and "debatable-moral-thing" is --> At what point do you think about the big picture/world as a whole? Is this the point that you start investing in other ideas/concepts or do givers just give from the beginning and takers take into the grave?
How much I never knew about the the varied differences between being selfless and selfish...
The art of composition
"Then ask the composer of music, he certainly should know. But the composer, absorbed in the heat of composition, is caught in the web of his own musical thought and cares neither to analyze his own mental processes, nor their product. To him the question, "What is Music?" would seem the height of foolishness, for it is part and parcel of his existence. From youth up the inner creative urge has swept him on regardless of any question as to the essential nature of the art to which all his waking thoughts are dedicated."
- William Arms fisher in his article, "What is Music?"
Ok. I'm pretty sure I have an extreme youtube addiction. I try to stay away from my own channel (which immediately makes me hyperventilate and want to redo all the videos) but I can't stop finding others that are completely fascinating.
What I find the most interesting are these people that completely devote their channels to one person they love. Be it a celebrity, musician (or just their cute pet bunnies), this dedicated youtuber has found it their duty to upload everything that they can of one person... usually not even .
I am gradually realizing how important these people are for the world. To anyone out there who does these things, being a supporter is seriously the most incredible gift you could give.
However, only do it if you feel it. Never do it in obligation. Those feeling only obligation take up the seat for a potential supporter. ... weird sentence but makes sense right?
P.S. I hate mosquitos