I'm like a dog begging for scraps. That reminds me of the part in "When Harry Met Sally" where she asks,
"Is one of us supposed to be a dog in this scenario (situation?)?"
And he says, "Yes. You are."
And she says, "I am. I'm the dog!" (And then I think she tells him to go do something that is off color because she was mad at him)
I'm like a dog begging for scraps in so many ways. I send out songs begging someone to listen or to like them so I feel validated. I beg people to come to shows and they come because they are nice to me. I beg people higher up on the food chain to give me advice or help because I can't do the job on my own. I think one more scrap is going to be the thing that gives me the energy or confidence to get through the next project or the next hurdle and sometimes it does. It totally does.
And then sometimes I take a step back and look at what I'm doing. I'm an idiot. I sought advice a few years back from an artist higher up on the food chain asking if she ever feels like no one hears her and asked how she gets through it. She was encouraging and helpful. And then she left me to consider how sometimes, if you're in the cookie making business and no one besides your parents buys your cookies, then maybe you should look for another line of work. She was trying to be helpful. I've thought a lot about that piece of advice.
I'm begging for something that's too much to ask. I'm begging for people to look past the oldness, and the lameness and the Midwestern obscurity to see what I've made. Life is full of precious little free time. People don't have time to humor a middle-aged mom and make her feel better.
Like my kids who come home to show me their art projects and I have a hard time tearing away from the book I'm reading. Like how my son asked to bring a puzzle to do while we hung out at the library last night when the older two were at choir practice.
The puzzle was awesome. It made up for the fight the other two had in the car on the way over there. That's the part of life that's cool. My kids are cool. I give them a hard time because I'm not a good parent.
My actions are not awesome. I feel foolish. I don't know what I'm doing, but I sure don't want to be remembered as the dog. At least I can see it. That's the first step, right?
ADDENDUM: An artistic pursuit is crazy hard. For someone like me who remembers the bad things and has a hard time remembering good things, it is crazy hard. I remember the criticism and the silence and my own sinfulness keeps me from remembering the good stuff. This is to say that I know my vision is warped. Sometimes I have the presence of mind to remind myself of the things I have a hard time seeing. Sometimes I let the bummer bowl me over.