“Everybody’s in showbiz, It doesn’t matter who you are,” sing The Kinks. We may all be artists depending on our definition of art. Last week, I posted a Facebook question on my personal page asking if people have experienced losing a great idea in their sleep. And how to capture those thoughts without waking and seriously damaging your relationship. Lot’s of helpful feedback, all of which seemed to pretty much ignore the person I sleep with. Cathy, my wife and therefore the person I do sleep with, says I should just do whatever I need to do. I believe she means it. Now. I don’t really want to find out how many nights it would take for her to change her mind. It’s pushing it to expect her to cheerfully endure countless nights of me turning on the lights and typing or muttering and humming into my iPad. I might be begging to wake up with that gadget inserted roughly into some orifice.
The mates of artists are special people or they move on, leaving the artist with even more things to write, paint, dance, act, sing, create about. But leaving them ALONE none the less. Those of us with mates who endure our out of the mainstream-ness are luckier than we realize.
Let me list the artistic transgressiions I’ve either witnessed with my friends or have actually inflicted on my wife and family:
- Not hearing important stuff being said to me because I’m composing something in my head or have headphones on. I’m always composing in my head with invisible earphones on. Lately my wife asks, “Can I talk?” which is so incredibly respectful, it makes me feel guilty. Especially when I’m in the middle of something and can only bark out, “Not yet!” so as not to lose the thread. I love her so much.
- Not being able to make various social occasions because of a gig or rehearsal. This is usually met with quiet understanding. I think. Sometimes I’m reminded of it later. I feel like I’ve neglected something important. Like several relationships. I need a best seller to justify this behavior. I must be such a pain in the ass.
- Talking WAY too much about the art and the biz. I am often reminded of this. Especially if I mention that somebody else is boring or repetitious. Ouch! I must be such a pain in the ass.
- Making the same noises over and over for hours. You can only sound proof your studio so much without reducing it’s size. And the size of your savings. Or borrowing limit. If I try to please I’ll stop practicing or stop searching for the perfect note, chord or phrase. Not good. I must be such a pain in the ass.
- Forgetting to bring stuff to a gig and making that emergency call. I once forgot my change of clothes on a hot summer day. I was 40 minutes away. In sweat stained boater shorts and T-shirt. Cathy rescued me. I bought her dinner but I didn’t buy a free pass from her to do it again or to ever let me forget about it. I must be such a pain in the ass.
- Talking bandmates, collaborators, colleagues “off the ledge” at the expense of quality mate time. Playing with fire here. You better be prepared to spend an equal amount of quality time with the person who counts the most. I love her so much.
- Spending too much money on tools of the trade. I’m self sustaining but I know many who dip into household funds. You better come up with a best seller or scale it back. YOU must be such a pain in the ass.
- Making and then bitching about bad business decisions. Keep it to yourself or invite unending criticism. Don’t turn your mate into the pain in the ass you already are.
- Forgetting to tend to routine tasks like car maintenance, doctor’s appointment, cleaning up after myself or even cleaning myself. Get an iPhone. Enter EVERYthing in the calendar and put alarms on each item. You know here the pain resides.
- Annoying the neighbors. Um, so what. They either have been or will eventually be just as annoying. Everybody has the ability to cause the pain we’er talking about.
- Networking on a night out. Sometimes I’m encouraged to do this. Other times, I’m just a pain in the ass. I haven’t learned the rules on this one yet. I’m always in jeopardy of making the wrong call here.
- Getting impatient when she doesn’t understand what the hell I’m talking about. Serious, egregious error. This deserves a classification. Maybe pain up the ass or just asshole. Maybe another body part or organ is involved here.
After looking that list over I really can’t understand why she puts up with me. So I asked. She pointed out that we are all artists and should learn to give each other enough slack to express ourselves however we choose. I love her so much.
I don’t think I could live with me. But I have little choice. No matter how many out of body experiences I have, I’m coming back. Until I don’t.