To accompany my writings: a series of photographs of me scraping our new//old//$50 Hoosier that has been sitting in our garage for a full year.
It appears I can only lose my writers block when I’m drinking wine. That can’t be true. I’ve been drinking a lot of wine, and if you haven’t noticed, I haven’t been writing very much. I took three days off from wine drinking, but I couldn’t help pouring myself a glass tonight while I cut up some of the season’s last tomatoes (sometimes it feels they will never end) for tonight’s supper. The strongest, most resilient fruit flies swarm my head because I just took out the compost and the bushels of apples haven’t yet begun to rot, and so, tomatoes. And probably also, wine breath. Then all of a sudden it comes on. Like the urge to pee. You can’t hold it. The table is covered in enamelware and teatowels and volunteer avocado plants that sprouted from compost and you rescued from the garden because you couldn’t bear to let them die out in that cold harsh Upstate winter. You clear the table clean to make room for your computer. On the radio they’re talking about Russian fighter jets. And really, this is all you want to write about. The real stuff. The mundane stuff. (The most important stuff).
The stuff that you refuse to acknowledge out-loud when you haven’t had a glass of wine. Which is: fear. Fear of the mundane of course. You wake up in the morning because Eric has a doctor’s appointment and you know he underestimates the time it takes to get to places. He’s drifting in and out of sleep and you ask him what time he set his alarm for. It is unsettlingly dark for 6:30 in the morning. When did this happen? Fall?
Fear. You are not good enough. You work really, really, really, REALLY effing hard at things. And sometimes you don’t succeed. It’s not that you fail, it’s just that sometimes it seems that no one pays attention. However, when I was cleaning out an old desk I found a purple book called BIRTHDAY BOOK, PROVERBS.
First I read Eric’s: “The power of fortune is confessed only by the miserable, for the happy impute all their success to prudence and merit.” TRUTH.
Then I read mine: “It is the character of an unworthy nature to write injuries in marble and benefits in dust.”
There you go. DUST. So I don’t trust my judgement on success and failure. My forearms are sore from etching my failures in marble. I’m sneezing from blowing away my successes written in dust. But still. It can be hard…success. That’s the funny thing about it. The more success you receive (where success=people knowing you exist) the more failures you feel (failures=people knowing you exist and don’t like what you’re doing or have opinions about it and freely share those opinions because it is the age of the internet and [the internet=people have no feelings]).
We get these reports from our PR company about what radio stations are spinning our record and what they’ve said about it. Even though the list of incredibly awesome taste-maker stations that are spinning our tracks is long and their comments are supportive, of course I can only remember the handful that said “this is bland” and “nothing stood out.” Heartbreaking. You work on something for three years and in one moment a college student breaks my heart. I try to improve my mood by imagining them spending five seconds skipping through each track while eating a calzone and scanning their instagram feed and then their ex-boyfriend walks down the hall and they know it’s because he’s going to that other girl’s room and the organic chemistry homework is unintelligable. That’s why they hate our album. College.
Eric just called and started telling me about the agents he talked to today. Humming through all of the details for five minutes straight, talking a mile a minute until I was like -hang on. I’m writing a blog. So, agents.
And this is a picture of all of the stuff that was in the hoosier.
I’m at a loss now. My inspiration has passed and my wine buzz dulled while talking business on the phone. I have so much soap in my office. I have no idea if I will sell it. That’s the thing about things. You make them. You don’t know what you’ll do with them. You hope people will like them. Buy them. And if not, you give lots of gifts. And you feel like you failed even though you made so many people happy with so many gifts. No matter how much success you’ve had in the past (success=people buying your soap), that does not ever guarantee success in the future. No matter how many people at Better Homes & Gardens you talk to, success is not guaranteed (success=people remembering you exist and supporting you financially so you can continue to exist). So you better be doing something you love. And you better be doing it for the right reasons. And you better be a good person (because, really, success=prudence + merit). And if you’re going to be a good person you might as well continue to be a good person on the internet. Because people DO have feelings. Despite what the internet may have told you.
Two nights ago Eric and I were talking about some of the negative comments about our record. And also the positive ones. And then on the news they played a clip of a new theme song for a nearby city. And Eric started making fun of it. And I just looked at him. “People made that.” I said. “Those people are so proud of that song.” He drew his hand to his mouth in shock. “I’m terrible!” he said. He was so genuine. So sorry. So embarrassed.
“Let them be proud,” I said…although I don’t know if I agree with myself. I don’t agree with the “everyone gets a trophy” mentality. I think this just perpetuates the myth that everyone’s opinion is valid even if they have no idea what they’re talking about. Even if they’re mean. But I do firmly believe in the Golden Rule. And also, if you insist on saying something, even if you don’t have anything nice to say, at least don’t be so cruel. End rant on internet cruelty.
In conclusion, if the BIRTHDAY BOOK, PROVERBS has taught us anything: success=prudence + merit and has absolutely nothing to do with college students liking your music or people knowing you exist or answered emails or sales or interviews because the power of fortune is confessed only by the miserable.
But man do I love my Hoosier.