The Search For Balance Continues


I am gaining a much deeper respect for anyone who has started their own business, especially those doing it the way I am with very little prior knowledge and on a shoestring budget. These two distinctions translate into much more time and effort, and were not foreseen in the heat of the moment of birthing my new business adventure called "The Collabative".

image by birgerkingMind you I am not complaining. No, this is merely stating facts that have come from my newly focused observations and experience on this side of the business world. Intellectually I know that it will get easier as time goes on, but physically and emotionally I have to catch myself when I start feeling overwhelmed. Then there is the whole personal struggle with balancing this current - though unintentional - obsession, with the other parts of my life as a partner in a relationship, a father, a working musician and hopefully a reliable friend to others. Quite frankly the scales have been tipped heavily towards The Collabative these days and little signs of that are cropping up in conversations and manifesting in stress, fatigue and even sickness of late. This new "child" of mine is demanding lots of time and attention which is hardly a surprise. What is a surprise is how easily one can become fixated on something to the point of  excluding other equally important things.

So, it is time to assess, refocus and make finding balance a priority yet again. Truth be told I am sure it is a lack of patience and a caving in to ego (mostly) mixed with a genuine passion for making a meaningful contribution to the local creative community. Collectively they have led me to believe I have to do great things quickly in order to be considered "successful".  This of course is not true and I know it. Still that knowledge has not kept me from trying to over achieve. So, the search continues but I don't think I will look for balance the way our friend on the left is attempting to however.

In my mind I imagine we ALL struggle with achieving balance. Do you agree? Is that your experience?

The New Adventure: Launching The Collabative

I am going to tell you the name of my new venture and YOU are going to say one of three things. "You spelled it wrong", or... "Huh?", or... "Hey, that's catchy; I like it!" It's okay if you're in one of the first two camps because I don't mind explaining. First the name. "The Collabative". Now the explanation and it's a simple one. The name comes from combining two words, collaborate and creative (Collab / ative). 

This new adventure is evolving from my experience with The Showcase of Original Music, which I've mentioned here before. The Creative Center, the non profit organization which hosted The Showcase was recently dissolved. The team behind the scenes that put on the shows have begun pursuing individual interests. As one of the founders, I held much interest in seeing that something continue based on the original intention of promoting local original music. After much thought, discussion, pondering, planning and choice-making, "The Collabative" was born on paper through several massive mind mapping sessions.

So, these last few weeks have been my cannon ball dive into the waters of business ownership (I'll tell you about my company another time,) and building a dream from scratch. Thank Heavens for Melody Watson, the woman who is helping me, for without her loving care, support, endless time, effort and Pollyanna outlook (don't cringe, we joke about it light-heartedly on a regular basis) as well as her computer savvy, I would probably just curl up in a fetal position on my couch and pull a blanket over my head. Not true, but certainly a tempting thought.

There's more to say about what we are visualizing than can be covered easily or completely in one blog, so for the moment, I will share some links which you may explore when you have time. I will talk more here about what we are doing as things progress. It's exciting (Melody will be glad I used that word; she uses it routinely and seems perplexed that I don't, as well,) birthing a dream and yet, if I were the nail biting type, there'd be nothing left to chew on right now... heh.

Check Out These Links:

Music Gurus: the voices of "Musivangelism"

Say what you will about musicians. We can be flaky, flighty, irresponsible, prone to procrastinate, loathe reality, unaware of time, lost in a daydream, in love with fantasy, broke most of the time and always in search of a party. There are easily a thousand  excuses to be found justifying almost all of those traits. That's not my intention. What I want to look at is the phenomenon of what happens to those of us on this planet that experience a genuine passion for what we do and how I believe it connects us to the divine on some deep inner level. As a musician, I can only speak about music and those who write or perform it, but I know without question that the divine connection is there in any passionate pursuit.

To get some fodder for my premise, I googled the top 500 songs according to Rolling Stone Magazine. I will work my way through the list seeking the performer and/or writer of each and then search out quotes made by those individuals to see if their own passion felt words back up what I have theorized. It will be an interesting journey for me and I hope for you as well. You could take the journey all by yourself now that I have given you the idea and I wish you well if you choose to go it on your own.

Kevin Mazur/WireImageRapper Jay-Z introduces the Rolling Stone top 500 song picks and he has some eloquent words that immediately hit me. Here are portions of his essay.

"When I'm writing a song that I know is going to work, it's a feeling of euphoria. It's how a basketball player must feel when he starts hitting every shot, when you're in that zone. As soon as you start, you get that magic feeling, an extra feeling."

"When you hear a great song, you can think of where you were when you first heard it, the sounds, the smells. It takes the emotions of a moment and holds it for years to come. It transcends time."

"A great song doesn't attempt to be anything — it just is."


John LennonThose words tend to make me think of the divine, though he doesn't ever come out and say it. Now... I will start the journey to discovering the "guru" quality in many musicians that I didn't  include in my previous list of descriptors in a purely random way by starting with a profound quote from John Lennon, one of the more prominent musical voices of the 20th Century, though I have no idea where he ranks on the list. For some reason, of all the thought provoking things he had to say, this one has stuck with me over the years...

"Life is what happens while you're busy making plans"

There's plenty said in those few words...think about it.

Inspirations: Susan Buslett

Susan Buslett As I sat down in front of the computer to write today's piece, I find myself going back in my mind to March 16th 2013, the date of the most recent Showcase of Original Music. There I was behind the sound-board hearing Susan Buslett's name being announced as the next open mic performer and watching her make her way - with some assistance -  to the stage. As I pictured the scene again in my mind, I wondered silently how she felt in that moment, in front of mostly strange faces, about to put herself "out there" after such a long time. I remember feeling her nervousness empathetically, but could hardly imagine what kind of physical effort she was having to exert. That part is important and you'll understand why when I tell you some of her story. But first; since this series is about inspirations, I thought it might be a good idea to see just what the dictionary says about that word. Here's what I found:

in·spire  (n-spr)

v. in·spiredin·spir·ingin·spires
1. To affect, guide, or arouse by divine influence.
2. To fill with enlivening or exalting emotion: hymns that inspire the congregation; an artist who was inspired by Impressionism.
a. To stimulate to action; motivate: a sales force that was inspired by the prospect of a bonus.
b. To affect or touch: The falling leaves inspired her with sadness.
4. To draw forth; elicit or arouse: a teacher who inspired admiration and respect.
5. To be the cause or source of; bring about: an invention that inspired many imitations.

Inspiration can be, and often is, a two-way street. My connection with Susan Buslett and her eventual performance at The Showcase is a perfect example of that. Susan and I were introduced through a mutual friend a couple years ago. Over the course of time and with the aid of some material solicited for this blog, the picture of her journey is now much clearer. Susan began her performing career singing and playing guitar back in 1977. Becoming a mom in 1983 meant juggling responsibilities with dream chasing and so music became, by necessity, more of a part-time endeavor. Being a mom was not the only big event that year. She also wrote and recorded two songs that received air play. Now that might not sound like a big deal today, but in 1983, it was still quite an accomplishment. There are not many performers out there, when asked if they have recordings someone could hear, are able to answer "Yes, and I have them on vinyl." That's real records folks, round black plastic discs and pretty damn cool, if you ask me. Life must have looked pretty good at that point and I imagine what happened next could have hardly been imagined as a possibility in Susan's mind. But then tragedy never announces its arrival nor does it discriminate when choosing its next victim.

With a blinding flash and the grating sound of crushing metal, Susan's life took a horrible turn in 1996 when she was involved in an automobile accident that left her with a serious spinal cord injury. As you can probably imagine, there have been multiple obstacles to overcome in the effort to recover some semblance of her former life. It's been a long, trying process dealing with doctors, hospitals, red tape, pain control and rehabilitation, not to mention her struggle with her ability to play guitar and sing again, which were both affected by the crash. It might have been enough to make someone else give up, but not Susan. By finding the courage and desire to perform on stage that night, for the first time since 1996 (except for some church singing to tracks) as nervous as she may have been and as uncertain of how her hands or voice would respond, Susan was an inspiration for me and reminded of how much I have to be thankful for. Oh, but you know what? The crowd provided her with their own inspiration in the form of some enthusiastic applause.

Inspiration... it's a two-way street.