Wednesday, September 09, 2009

I Need Three Lives

I do. I know that sounds selfish, but what with work starting up again for the semester, I'm feeling particularly swamped. Yeah, yeah, I know: whiny bitch, right? Ptooey on you, my friends! I just have enough interests that I feel like I could live three lives and make the most out of each one.

1) The Composer. I love to compose. I really do. When I was a percussion performance major in the mid-/late-80s, I was not happy. My entrance to college went something like this: "Well, I need to major in music, but I don't want to be a band director like my parents were, and I discovered I can major in playing this instrument that I love. SWEET!" Then, the rigors of REAL practicing set in, and I was no longer the big fish in a tiny pond. In fact, I was pretty much a cup full o' suck. Oh, I was a fine percussionist, when I put my mind to it…trouble was, I had a hard time keeping my mind ON it. I liked playing "Axis & Allies," and hanging out, and partying…things that percussion performance majors at my school rarely did. Social ingrates, the lot of 'em, they mostly had keys to the music building so that they could practice a few hours before their 8:00am theory class. Ugh. No, THANKS! I loved marching band, and basketball band, but unfortunately those performance outlets offered very little in the way of career advancement. When I found out I could major in composition, I leapt at the chance. And, I finally found my home. So, I'd love to pull a David Maslanka, shun my job at the major university and move to B.F.E. (or, in his case, B.F.M.) and just write. Sadly, my music doesn't really pay all those pesky bills and eBay dues that keep coming in every month, so being a full-time composer is out of the question.

2) Which is somewhat okay, because I also love songwriting. Yeah…The Songwriter. I've been writing songs since I'm 15 or so, and while early efforts were mostly vapid "When can we fuck?" anthems, I've matured a lot since, say, 1-800-HOT-LOVE. Seriously. I'm presenting a paper on metaphor and allegory in lyric construction in a few weeks, and I'm totally psyched about it. I've been poring over lyrics from everyone from Hart and Porter to Diamond and Steinman, and I realize that I just really, really love a good song. My current crop of tunes are mostly autobiographical, sort of like diary entries. I have a song about how much I loved the summer of 1978. A song called The Journey which describes how we all move from childhood to having children of our own. I'm even writing a Thanksgiving song…since there's such a dearth of those, right? But, I'd love to be a lyricist for someone really big, a Holly Knight to Steven Tyler, or a Desmond Child to…well, to pretty much everyone. *sigh* Same problem, though: doesn't pay the bills.

3) The Stay-At-Home, Puttering Dad. I've been working on painting the porch this summer. It's a cement floor, but ringing the space are about 1,000 spindles. I like the painting. It's agreeable work, and it just sort of rolls along. I'm also noticing that I miss having hours & hours to spend with The Rozzle since school has started. So I'd love for Miss Dr. Tessmacher to land a full-time job and I could, say, stay home with Roz and paint. And finish a basement. And write songs during her naps, without worrying whether or not they make any dough.

Yeah. I need three lives. Whoops! I forgot about nascent treasure-hunter! Let's see, where did I leave that metal detector…?


Blogger Suze said...

I know a couple with a daughter about Anya's age. They are both employed by Madison schools (mom is a social worker, dad teaches HS english), and they are taking turns with year-long leaves so their daughter has a stay-at-home parent. Cool, huh? It's the dad's turn this year. We were chatting about the best ways of getting OUT OF THE HOUSE in the dead of winter.

As a stay-at-home parent, the not making dough thing is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it's nice that I'm not under pressure to make money AND take care of the kids. On the other hand, I struggle constantly with self-esteem and validation as a person who spends most of her time doing housework and wiping butts while little by little forgetting everything I learned in my many years of grad school.

On a different tangent, I think if we had a decent public healthcare system (or at least public option), more people could spend their time following their artistic talents rather than settling for the daily grind of a desk job. Uh-oh. That makes me sound like a socialist. Shhhhhhhhh!

8:13 PM  
Blogger Steph said...

I hear you. Right now I could use an extra life just for blogging. Since school has started I just have no idea when. Life went crazy overnight.

Your lyric paper sounds fascinating!

6:31 PM  

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