Creative neuroses. A common theme.
"Oooh, Robert are you ever satisfied?", my close pals ask.
PREPARE TO BE WHINED! ...again...perhaps one day I can dine.
I am currently hustling and pitching good albums to labels, a strong book project to publishers. And it can drive me crazy. I certainly get enough validation and approval from trusted sources. Yes, I know that they are good and not just taking up space. Often people are totally surprised that I've never had a label or publisher before. I look bigger than I am, people often think that I am totally set up. I know that with a couple of the projects I've had some people say, "I can't believe that no one's released this" which just messes my mind further. With some labels that I pitch to I get "This is really great" a lot but nothing further. Sometimes they act like they just know someone else will put it out. The worst feedback that I have received (so far) was from one publisher, a publisher I respect, that is known as being notoriously picky, telling me that my work wasn't "polished" enough which made sense to me at the time as much of their books are rather technically refined and precise, but then weeks later I saw that one of their latest books looked like a bunch of crude finger paintings and I asked myself, "What's the audience for this? Who would want to buy this?"
I'm not supposed to let it get to me. It's outside of my control, right? Just move on to the next one (I did). It's eating me up inside.And I can't get bitter...again, I've taken measures to not get bitter (again), even moving to a new city.
The thing I am most sick of hearing when I tell random people that I am searching for labels/publishers of pretty much any size (but the right fit, etcetera) is, "Why don't you just do it yourself?"
From now on, I will respond by banging a table and yelling, "Do you know who I am? Do you know the things that I have done? Oh, you don't? Well! For near on twenty years now I have been self-publishing numerous little mags, even a newspaper, etc., and have even- with various acts- released half a dozen albums, numerous tours to strong response. Not to mention the numerous performances, art shows, and mags I've contributed to. Hmm. And you don't know this...perhaps it's because it's had no backing! I repeat: no backing!" Many of these projects that I do have garnered more attention than some of the stuff out there that actually has backing but, because it was DIY it lacked decent distribution (case in point: a rave review from a noted authority causes people in England to want to get an album of mine but the 'distributor' tells them it's sold out- tho it's rather not). I'm told that I am the most known unknown source. I'm not deliberately trying to be obscure. I'd like to create (communicate/express) unhindered and not lose money. Many of my peers and collaborators are garnering well deserved success so that they can develop and grow and do what they do and do it well with something to say. I sometimes have to hear a few of them complain about their lack of acclaim, yet they have labels, or complain about their Italian dealers, yet they actually have dealers, or having to tour, yet they have booking agents and huge shows...I love them but it can be hard for me to listen to sometimes.
I'll admit that some of this sounds like horn tooting, some of you readers of this blog know my history and output- that's how you found this blog- but some of you don't so I have to back up my complaining. How much do these feelings of mine stem from a sense of entitlement? Hmm. Well, is it really too much to want backing after putting so much into it? There is a sense of ego at play here that mixes in with a sense of selflessness, of considering the audience, to make sure that it is relatable yet not banal. Cynics seem drawn to my work. Another ridiculous notion is one of focus when it's obvious I raise a high bar for each project, maybe I should ask James Franco to put his name to it. Or Banksy (yuck).
By writing these thoughts am I sabotaging greater successes? Shattered illusions. I feel like I created multiple mythos long ago so does that even matter, or is the constant reinvention at stake? Nobody knows that I am actually 200 years old (as someone suggested the other day) so the youth culture chips don't need to be cashed in (bless you Debbie Harry).
I've been learning to let go, to not force things, but those feelings have been creeping up again.
I can't stop creating, it's a force working through me that keeps emanating, anti-block, it's spiritual, still it actually feels more spiritual when I feel like I am working towards something...
I'm tired and I don't know what the fuck I am doing wrong. I'd just love to know so I can improve and grow and make things happen.