This is a picture I took of a totally weird sculpture I fell head over heels in love with (no pun intended). It was the most non-Buffy thing I could think of. I'd been stressing out about writing the next song, determined to write some kind of epic 90s power ballad for Ben and Glory, which I may still do. But it wasn't ready to be born yet, and worrying was doing me no good so I said "Buffy, I am letting you off the hook." Easier said than done.
Oftentimes, you'll hear writers or artists emphasize the importance of "letting the creation wash over you" or "walking away to get a new perspective" or "putting your mind elsewhere so the story will seep into your subconscious." And yes, that is absolutely true. But here's the thing -- you REALLY have to do it! No cheating, no multitasking, no appearing to the outside world as though you were fully ensconced in basket weaving or mini golf or high tea when your brain is actually working overtime. You have to let the thing go and shoot yourself completely the opposite way, and hope that you will have gone so far, you actually circle back around to it, now endowed with the wisdom of the journey. And even if you meander and never find the thing again, you were having such a good time adventuring, who gives a rat's behind? Once you extricate yourself from the ironclad kung fu grip, it's a first-class Caribbean cruise. It's that step that kills.
Luckily, the holidays and Berkeley are a good diversion. For almost a week now, I've been staying at the house my family moved into when I was nine; enjoying the crazy family antics, my mom's hot tub, and my dad's home cooking. I hiked up Mount Tam before dawn on the solstice, sang some karaoke, went to a couple of nice holiday parties, traipsed about San Francisco in all of its pre-Christmas glory, enjoyed a lazy rainy Christmas with my folks, and had an awesome post-Christmas shopping trip to the city, followed by a lovely sushi dinner with my dad. Wow, not stressing out about Buffy love songs-- I could totally get used to this!
I'm trying to keep this mindset even as I dive back into the world of writing. I do, after all, want to keep putting my work out there. And now that I actually have a fan base (albeit a little one), there is some element of expectation. On top of that, there is the expectation I put on myself. I really do want to finish this project in a way that feels like it tells a complete story. My goal is 12 songs on a CD by the end of July (to coincide with San Diego Comic Con). This may not happen, but hey, I'm throwing my hat over the wall. Of course, immediately when I start thinking about these deadlines, that little voice in my head goes "PRESSURE PRESSURE PRESSURE PRESSURE PRESSURE PRESSURE PRESSURE!" And then I think to myself, "Wait a second. I am singing love songs to vampires and demons from a campy 90s TV show. What the hell is this if it's not fun?" Right??? Keep telling yourself that, keep telling yourself that. This is fun this is fun this is fun.
Interestingly enough, I’ve been somewhat productive on the project. After being locked inside my house all of Christmas Day -- and appropriately so due to the pelting rain, the fact that the stores were all closed, and it being my mom's last day before leaving for India -- I was feeling a little cabin fever. Luckily, one of my favorite haunts-- The Pub on Solano-- was open, my favorite bartender Chris Strong happened to be behind the bar. I mused a little by the fireplace, consulting my Buffy wiki printouts as my sense memory happily received the old sights, sounds, and smells. Later, I accompanied Chris into the dish room and he washed his beer glasses while we had an interesting conversation about celebrity dynamics and fandom. (Interestingly enough, he experiences it much more palpably than I do, since whatever fan base I have is mostly online, whereas he, as a bartender, gets people approaching him all the time and striking up conversations in the most random of places.) By the end of the night, I felt both a sense of relaxation and accomplishment, having made some progress while seemingly twiddling my thumbs. I'm excited to get my hands on some instruments because I think that just may do the trick...
Okay, back to my other life. Buffy, I release you from your holding cell, but you are officially on probation. And by probation I don't mean I am keeping constant watch over you. I mean I am keeping you in check. No misbehaving, no messing where you shouldn't be, no interrupting my metaphorical mini golf. Got it? Good.