I am getting ready to go to LA for the ASCAP I CREATE MUSIC workshop in a couple of weeks. This year has been such a mine field that I am really lowering my expectations of this experience. I am going to hear famous rock stars talk about their "process". People like Lionel Richie, Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, Jackson Browne, Steve Miller (Steve Miller Band), Stephen Schwartz and many others are slated to be there. I am not a rock star but there are people from several other genres attending who are not near as fun to name drop. (I will probably be sitting at those workshops, to tell the truth). Last year I made a contact from Digital Juice and I got a fun job and a new friend.
This year, however, all I can think about is the big king sized bed in the hotel. There will be no toys in that bed (plastic army men. Why? What were you thinking?) I can go down stairs and meet musicians and learn things and eat things I choose (not things I choose with 4 other palates in mind). I can start and stop a conversation..1 conversation. I won't have to interrupt or raise my voice to be heard. I won't have to say anything at all if I don't want to. Heaven on earth...for a few days.
I will miss my button nosed, blondie boy who we call "Tiny "Heiney". (Been changed to "Tiny Highness" due to the air of authority he commands). I will miss my sensitive middle son and my attentive mind blowingly compassionate daughter. My entertaining oldest son will be home babysitting and I hate the thought of missing time with him. I love being a mom. I love being a mom of this group of kids.
I will worry that my husband is not doing it "right". He does not imagine horrifying scenarios hidden in every activity. He does not give the benefit of the doubt as often as I do. He sees a spade as a spade and calls it that where I often try to see the spade as a useful garden tool and re-direct it. We are a good team because of our differences, but the kids are used to the way I am different. Also, this is a stressful busy time at work for my husband. I don't like not being there to control things I have no control over. (Don't even start that Serenity prayer with me...).
And there is a lot of money being spent on this endeavor...Big beds in hotels where conferences take place are expensive. And I need new clothes/hair/make-up/nails. I needed them before but there were no real grown ups to witness that deficit. It takes a lot of effort to pull off the "Not a full time Mommy" charade. (I plan to give out this blog URL so the bag will soon be out of the bag anyway).
So Why do it? The timing is terrible. There is so much to be done around the house, my energy level has been lower than usual and there is always my back which has been a mess this year... (Sounds like 3 REALLY good answers to my own question right there). I guess I feel like I am being wise. I am looking long term. One day I will be lonely in my own bed without the plastic soldiers (unless they are replaced by a regimen of real soldiers). I will start and stop my own sentences and hear my voice echo in the space between my husband and I. His busy days at work will undoubtedly continue (just the kind of guy he is) and I will have to find something to do with myself (that I can blog about). I suspect sooner than I am ready I will have to find another fulfilling "job".
And so...I push myself away from my well worn clothes and my well worn path (rut?) and my astonishingly supportive well warned children. I make sure there are no noticeable gaps on my resume, and I cringe over the noticeable gap between the buttons on my jeans (all my jeans are "gap jeans" these days). I try to sharpen a point on my roundy self to find a usable edge. I try to plan for all contingencies so that I have a safety shield of professionalism around me. (Until they read my blog).
In my younger days the work was a means to an ego's end I suspect. I loved the work, but I also hungered for the recognition that should come with that work. That hunger fueled me or set me on fire depending on the day. The older I get the less hungry for the recognition I am. I am still sparked and excited by the work. I long to lose myself for days on a creative binge. And I want to feel the validation that what I have put out there has merit (does a high "C" sung in a forest with no one to hear it, still make a sound?) I suspect that I fear that the recognition would only increase the number of people I have to consider on a day to day basis and "losing myself" is an occupational hazard for a stay at home mom, so maybe I have less enthusiasm for giving my all to the pursuit of art. Losing myself in work well done, I find myself. However, finding myself some time to myself to find myself is a tall order in my schedule. I am forever balancing the gifts of endless hours of "material" to draw from with the curse of so few uninterrupted minutes in those hours being allotted for drawing from that well.
Which brings me back to where I started. Dreaming and preparing for a full 5 days in L.A. where I suspect some of the most precious time will be spent sprawled out on a king sized bed with my lap top and my creative juices (NOT in a sippy cup spilling all over my bedspread for a change).