Oh, what have I unleashed? (Also, ABC Monsters)
(The above is a picture of the Cruncha from the ABC Monsters album, by Johnathan Whiting. For the music MP3’s, see the bottom of this post.)
Nearly a week ago, I made an infamous blog post. For me, it was just another one of those angsty posts I make on occasion, the kind where I get all my issues out so I can go on living, the kind that this blog used to be entirely comprised of, but in recent years tapered off after Facebook and such allowed people to find the blog more easily. This one was not really different. I’ve been going through some hard times recently, and needed a place to unload. At first I considered making it a private post, or keeping it public but deleting the Facebook notification that pops up due to my RSS feed (which I have done for this follow-up post). However, when enough time passed that the note popped up in Facebook, somebody had already “liked” it and another had made a comment, so I thought, “what the hey, let’s see where the chips fall.”
And fall they have. My most popular posts according to my site stats may still be the one with the picture of Frederic Chopin and Michael Jordan, and the one where Mickey Mouse tries to commit suicide, but this post has generated more feedback among people I actually know than any other post I’ve ever made, even more than the Glenn Beck post where I offended people. It’s probably due to the publicity that the robbery brought, as well as the reposting of it that Nate did on the robbery Facebook page, but for some reason everybody is giving their two cents, both in comments here and on Facebook, and in real life. I’ve never had so many people say to me, in person, “I read your blog post, and (etc.)” before. Frankly, it’s a bit surreal. I haven’t figured out quite how to respond to it all. So I’m going to do my best here, addressing a few points that seem to be common among comments and offering a little more insight into what I’m feeling and stuff.
First of all, as I said in the comments previously, it’s funny that so many people have complimented me on my courage to follow my dreams when I’ve felt like it’s just an inability to settle down. It’s rare that people follow their dreams to the bitter end, and apparently that’s impressive. But what people may fail to realize is that most people don’t follow their dreams to the end for a reason. That reason being, even though it’s inspiring and makes for a feel-good story, it’s really difficult and probably fairly stupid, and the failure rate is way higher than the success rate. Also, a whole lot of luck is required, luck which I seem to be running low on.
Secondly, just to address common responses to the robbery itself: we have no leads. Yes, it does sound like an inside job, or at least the work of somebody who had been into the office before. However, we have no method of figuring out who it could have been, since Nate and I can’t think of anyone we’ve offended recently that would do something so heinous. At this point we’ve pretty much resigned ourselves to the fact that we may never figure it out and, barring a miracle, we’ll just have to rebuild. Donating would help a lot on that front. This stuff is expensive, man!
Thirdly, one of the more curious reactions I’ve personally had is the fact that suddenly there’s a lot more support than I thought I had at first, both in words and in donations (Thanks to those who have donated, by the way! We’re on our way to rebuilding, but Nate would appreciate some more). I really do appreciate the vocal support. It’s just that, at the end of the day, I’ve still got to deal with everything. I can’t monetize good intentions. Actually, my gut reaction makes me think of times like when a certain relation of mine said he was very proud of me, then turned around and refused to pay $10 for a CD of my music I was trying to sell. Experiences like that have turned me into a believer of the “talk is cheap” principle. And before I offend anyone, this is really my fault, not anybody else’s per se. It’s my inability to turn people’s good impressions of my work into something I can make a living off of that’s causing me a lot of my stress. Maybe I need an agent? Or at least a good marketing person? I apparently can’t do it myself. Of course, I also can’t afford to pay a marketing person right now, so damned if I do, damned if I don’t.
The sudden publicity and responses have been a little disconcerting. I’m really not used to getting any sort of emotional support from any quarter. I didn’t really grow up in a loving, huggy family, and my natural introversion has precluded large groups of friends. In fact, I get along best with people that also have kind of a cynical edge to them (like Johnathan, who wrote a long, awesome comment about our friendship on the last post and still called me a jerk). Because, like Johnathan said, a lot of the jerks of the world are really people who want to be kind and caring but don’t know quite how to pull off the good first impression. The world frowns upon such people, which dampens their enthusiasm to try to improve themselves. So I make it a point to befriend those types of people, because everybody needs somebody to believe in them. Because I know what it’s like to be there. I’m there almost all the time myself. And believing in someone isn’t just saying, “Hey, you’re great!” because talk is cheap. On the other hand, the people who have responded, both in word and in donations, are certainly doing what they feel they can, and it wouldn’t be fair for me to marginalize their contribution because I have a personal bias against perfunctory, superficial kindness. I truly am grateful for the thought. My point is, I’ve gotten a bunch of support, but I’m ambivalent about a lot of it. And, hard to hear or say as it might be, that’s the honest truth.
Also, basically everything I said in the previous post had been percolating for a while. The robbery just brought it to a head. As a result, I think people have assumed that all the opinions I expressed came about as a reaction to the robbery, which may be another reason I’m not quite sure how to deal with it all. This is stuff I’ve been dealing with for a loooong time (and even posted about on occasion) but now suddenly people are concerned? Intellectually I understand the external circumstances that garnered that post a lot more attention, but I’m just not used to people caring, so I probably come across as kind of a jerk about it simply because I don’t know how else to react. If I just say, “Thanks to everyone! I love you all!” I don’t feel true to myself. In a way, it’s the same problem that I posted about years ago, where I compared myself to Arnold J. Rimmer from Red Dwarf in a few ways, one of them being that my psyche just doesn’t know how to deal with people being kind to me.
In many ways I just wish I could go back a month or two, where my concerns were my own and nobody else really knew or cared. It may have been hard, and a canker on my soul, but at least I knew how to deal with it. However, at least now I feel like I may have turned a corner. I can’t wallow in misery knowing that people out there do care, no matter how easy that may be. People need a reason to get up in the morning, and for a long time I haven’t had a compelling one, but now there may be a sliver of light. Come the day when I finally do get organized to start selling professional-quality work, I may have a base.
To conclude, I apologize to anyone who might feel marginalized by my lukewarm response. This has been a rather rambly post, and perhaps not the kindest way to respond to people, but at least it’s been honest. And the world needs more honesty. That way love becomes love unfeigned.
And truthfully, thanks for the support!
On a different topic, since all the work from the ABC Monsters album Johnathan and I were working on got stolen, we are going to have to do the whole album from scratch. Therefore, so you can at least get a taste of what could have been (and at least partly of what is to come), I’m posting all the demo tracks we had made up to this point. Most of these tracks just have my non-polished vocal tracks with MIDI accompaniment, but I still like ’em! Please leave feedback!