Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Toiling in anonymity

This past weekend I was at my parent's house. On Sunday morning, my Dad played his harmonica and sang a hymn he will be performing in an upcoming church service. I listened intently and gave positive feedback, surprised at the improvement in tone and the rich baritone of my father's voice.

Later on in the afternoon, my brother, Mom and Dad, were all sitting in the kitchen and I got out my phone to show them the new song, "Technorati," I wrote and recorded last week. I am still getting a kick out of being able to play original home studio recordings on my phone. And I'm quite proud of "Technorati." I believe it is a well-written, tuneful, a new kind of sound for me, stretching the bounds of musical possibility. But instead of listening intently, as I'd hoped, after about 5 seconds they resumed their conversation and gave no feedback.

I understand the song does not fit the musical tastes of my parents or brother, but neither did my father's hymn that morning. I still felt compelled, out of respect, and as a fellow musician, to give a thoughtful listen. Performers put their heart and soul into their work, and when they're ignored, especially by family, it hurts.

Well, being Sicilian, and a verbose, overly-dramatic one at that, I went on an angry rant expressing my disappointment over their non-interest. Everyone in my family knows I play open mic performances regularly, yet no one living near has ever inquired about coming down to see me. Again, I know it is on Monday nights, an inconvenient time, but would it hurt to ask about recent performances, watch the YouTube videos, or listen to my original recordings on Soundcloud and give me feedback?

I've been in counseling for about six months now, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. Its been EXTREMELY beneficial to work through issues that have plagued my conscious and subconscious life for most of my life. I feel like working through these issues has helped make me a better father, son, and partner. I like to think of it as "soul maintenance," and it's been worth the small economic sacrifices to make it happen.

One thing I've realized is that I don't write or create music for my family or the adulation of the audience. I do it simply because it's fun and the creative process gives me purpose. I don't expect family or friends to like what I do or give me feedback. If I were seeking that out, I'd push my stuff on them even more.

But it stiil hurts to have something I've put so much work into be mildly dismissed by loved ones. They have no idea what my art is about. And its to their own detriment that they don't.

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