I lost my job.
It was ideal. My highest paying babysitting job ever - $25/hr - all to look after a 4 year-old girl twenty minutes from my apartment. I’d even managed to convince her parents to delay my start date so I could finish my artist-in-residence in LA.
Basically, I got cocky. High off of my big songwriting showcase in LA, I wrote them a week before the job started, demanding I work less hours. Thursdays I’m good until 5:30, but every other Tuesday I’ve got to be out by 6. I blamed my new kerfuffled schedule on creative writing classes I hadn’t even signed up for yet.
The day before I flew home to New York, after not having earned a single dollar for a straight month, they emailed me. It’s not going to work out, they told me.
Ok. Don’t panic. I thought. This is perfect! NOW you can focus on the new record.
Which is precisely when Dave, the producer, called, and told me the songs I’d just spent the past two years writing were not going to cut it.
Everywhere I looked, it seemed like some self-help guru was trying to tell me to fail my way to the top. “Fail more, fail harder, fail often”.
What nobody ever tells you is that failure sucks.
Freshly unemployed, broke, and humbled, I took a staycation. Which, in reality just meant I needed a way of justifying my frequent day-trips to the beach on Facebook. I spent several chilly September afternoons on Coney Island, alone, staring at my toes in the sand. What now? I thought. Read a book? Eat ice cream?
I slept in until 1PM, soothing myself through long afternoons with Cookies N’ Cream and Law & Order reruns. I continued sharing stories about my career online, but meanwhile, was struggling to write songs. Instead of motivating me, the talk I’d had with Dave just confirmed everything I’d ever thought about my writing: I was a hack and a faker. After expenses, I could barely scrape together enough money to buy avocados. How the hell did I expect to come up with 40k?!
I tried getting up early each day to do twenty minutes of songwriting. With every new line, I heard Dave’s voice in my head: your metaphors need work. Your writing is too literal. Listen to ""GRAMMY AWARD Winning Artist” instead.
I couldn’t take it. One verse in and I was done. The mere thought of songwriting sent me careening down a shame-spiral.
So I stopped songwriting.
Over the next few months, I took on multiple babysitting jobs, only doing the occasional show or tour. I took weeks off at a time to fly home and hang with my mom while she went through chemo. I taught guitar lessons, went to AA meetings. Spent dozens of hours on my therapist’s couch, wondering aloud, if I should just give up music altogether....?
Until next time....
PS. Hungry Ghost is officially out TODAY! To celebrate the release, I’m sharing stories about the record. This is Part 2 of 5.
The best you can help is to order the record on iTunes, or leave a quick review. You can do that here.