Sunday, November 28, 2004

The Reasons for My Failure

I had it all planned out in my mind. I would ride the bus to Montreal. One year to the day after I rode the same bus to the same cultured city to make some big steps forward in my life. A year ago I rode with my friend Angie. She held my hand as well pulled into the Berri Guam bus terminal. She waved to me as the black limo then carried me away into the rain to an uncertain fate. For all we knew the Grim Reaper could have been in the driver's seat.

It was my plan to meet Angie there a year later. To go to an arts fair. To launch my new single. To give away 50 copes of the new Cd. To show myself that I was moving on with my life.

But it wasn't to be. These are the reasons for my failure.

1. It goes without saying that there wasn't enough time. There never is. I'm sure the day I die I'll sit up in my bed like Beethoven did, shake my fist at the heavens and yell, "I wasn't finished yet!" I had only 1 month to put the record together.

2. And on top of working a day job to finance the music, I was sick for 3 weeks of this month.

3. Plus I stopped everything to try and finish my book. Which didn't get finished either.

4. When I did sit down to record a giant circular saw started whirring at a construction site near the recoding studio. And it didn't stop slicing and dicing for 3 days.

5. I finished the CD booklet Saturday morning. At which point my computer announced it would not print the booklet. it took several people and hours to determine that the computers hard drive was too full to think. By 4pm we were out on the street trying to find a copy centre that was open. After 1.5 hours All of them shut. Except for Staples which refused to do the copying unless we used their proprietary paper. Talking at this corporate piracy I slammed my special papers into the printer when the clerk's back was turned. Pressed "copy". This hopelessly jammed the only colour copier in the store. So we ran out onto the street like bandits and went home.

It was sinking in that I was 'beat". I was supposed to leave for Montreal in 12 hours and I didn't even have the Cd booklets done. It was proposed to me that I could go back to Staples and buy those expensive little ink cartridges for my printer and print out the labels myself. Since it was my only remaining option I ran back to Staples. it was 6 pm. They were just closing. Closing like the doors of the bus closes between the end of your nose and the back of the person in front of you in line. It was that close. So I ran around to the front of the store. I banged on the door. They did let me in. I was clutching the ink cartridge that I'd ripped out of my printer to show the clerk since I didn't know how to describe what cartridge I needed. this proved to be a very BAD idea. Once inside I discovered that I was covered in red, green and yellow ink. All over my brand new cream coloured pants, white mittens, sun glasses and face. I was such a sight that the clerk just gave me the cartridges and I went home.

6. But with all of the running through the allies at top speed and banging on the doors of the store I had swisted my back and pinched a nerve in my spine. So within an hour i was walking around like a right angle triangle and in a lot of PAIN!

7. Thanks to the circular saw, the day job and dozens of other time drains like the fact that I had to eat here and there I still wasn't done recording the single. So I stayed up all night. Hundreds of takes later and at 5 am it was done.

8. Exhausted and in pain I dragged some recording equipment over to the piano and tried to hook it up to record. For some reason. likely because it was 6 am, the equipment would not connect properly. In the struggle to move the equipment I feel down on the floor between the piano and the plants. Laying in a heap I giggled hysterically. Even though all that was funny was how pure my bad luck really can be some times.

9. I tried to cut one of the CD booklets with scissors. It was a slow and tedious job. After completing one side of one booklet I realized it was a lost cause. It is in my nature to be determined and to try to persevere to the end. Which is what I did in this case. But usually I prevail. In this case I did not. I was beaten. I went to bed exhausted and mortally disappointed. the would be no reunion trip to Montreal.

So all and all it was a who's who of everything that could go wrong did go wrong. It was a full on comedy of errors. It was such an "all talk and no action" episode.

If I've said it once I've said it 5 times now, "Britney Spears never had to go through all of this!"

Weeks later I reflected on the final product. Yes the cd did eventually get finished three days after the arts fair. I had to ask myself why I viewed all of this as such a failure. As I listened to my new record, I realized I should have said success.

I had done what I said I would. I made a new CD. An original, fun new CD. I had been true to the words of Angie,. Words I've mentioned on previous occasions. But worth repeating.

"When you finish a new project, that's a step up. And there's no going back on that."

Friday, November 19, 2004

Hope For the World

Two things caught my eye recently that gave me hope. One was a letter to the editor from a reader slamming the Ottawa Express, the local pop culture describing rag, for dedicating a cover of one of its recent weekly issues to the "Bridget Jones" movie sequel. The reader pointed out that she hoped the Ottawa Express got paid for the ad (the cover of the magazine blatantly advertising a trash Hollywood movie) as opposed to using the cover to support/ advertise a performance of any indie band playing a gig in Ottawa.

As all the girls in my office argued amongst themselves about which theatre they'd all go to see the sequel in, I felt encouraged that others had shared the contempt I had when I first looked at the advertisement for this generic, mainstream-catering, mind-numbing travesty called a movie on the cover of the Ottawa Express rag. I had intended to reprint her letter here. But since I, of course, lost/misplaced in a mountain of papers at the end of my bed the issue containing her letter I will content myself with paraphrasing the writer who said something along the lines that seeing this pop culture garbage at all, and especially on the cover of a rag that's supposed to support local artists had "hit her gag reflex." Well said.

And the second thing that gave me hope was going into my laundry room and finding a message on the bulletin board. Someone had written "the key to an open mind, is an open heart." on a yellow post it note and pinned it up. The person had even taken time to arrange all of the remaining thumb tacks into the shape of a heart. In the 2 years I've been going to this laundry room I've not seen anything on this bulletin board except for the odd stray sock. then suddenly this enlightened message.

So, more than ever, I'm hopeful that I'll be meeting up with smart, courageous, outspoken and sensitive people in this city.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

The Santa Claus Parade

Two days after Remembrance Day (Veterans Day in the USA) the horns and tunes of the Santa Claus parade could be heard going up a street less than a block away. the parade takes me back. It was during the Santa Claus parade two years ago to the day that I moved into this place. (Note to self: Never move during a parade- it's a logistical nightmare.)

The day started out in another province with some rough and rented on the cheap movers showed up to help me get my stuff out of one of the worst apartments I'd ever lived in. it had been on the ground floor. Requiring me to keep all the curtains closed. There was a nosey hooker hanging out right outside my door all the time. The carpets were blak along the walls. The halls reeked of bleach. And worst of all it was cursed. At least 4 different friends who came there to visit ended up leaving my life on bad terms within the next year. So it was good to get out of that hell hole.

Upon arriving at the new apartment building the movers I'd hired immediately abandoned the truck with cargo doors open to go for a coffee on the clock. when they were back one of them went to my brand new washroom 4 times in less than an hour. And my other help was a couple of toxic (though I didn't know it then) of older people masquerading as friends. After I paid the bum movers and the others had gone, I was left alone in the apartment. After all the years of struggling I finally lived in Ontario. I remember thinking, "This is where I'll live during some of the biggest moments of my life." And it turned out to be true.

One year later during the Santa Claus parade I was heart broken two times over and looking down the barrel of the biggest test of my spirit's determination to survive on this earth. I rode the bus to see my friend Angie. After I hung up from a heart wrenching call with a guy I walked along with Angie to the Reno Depot where I got two lamps. To say I was numb would be an understatement. I didn't want to come back home that day. To the disappointment to the despair. That the apartment seemed to gather retain and magnify like a sponge that wipes ups a cup of water holds onto it for a really long time and then wrings out an ocean.

This year's Santa Claus parade saw me wake up in love. Together. So together I didn't even make it to the parade. My good fortune stood in stark contrast with the previous upsetting and lonely years. it was such a blessing to be able to look the powerful passage of time in the face and be able to say for once that at least the passage of time had brought me to a long sought and dreamed of better place. A place I'd never been to before. Even though I'd already been living there for two years.