This is hard.
The other day, I read a blog post from Seth Godin entitled “Finishing Well”:
“It’s not enough,” he wrote, “to finish the checklist, to hurrily do the last three steps and declare victory.
“In fact, the last coat of polish and the unhurried delivery of worthwhile work is valued all out of proportion to the total amount of effort you put into the project.
“It doesn’t matter how many designers, supply chains, workers, materials and factories were involved—if the box is improperly sealed, that’s how you will be judged.”
It’s not that I’m overly concerned about being judged. But I want to do this album right. I’ve worked so hard, and come so far, that I want it to be absolutely as good as I can make it. That means paying attention to all these final details—making sure that the overdubs are perfect; that the bridge on “Real Thing” is pure and true (I’ve rewritten it at least 15 times; in fact, I woke up at 2 o’clock this morning with a new one running through my head; I THINK it’s the right one); that I record my extra guitar tracks properly; that I capture the perfect feel and vocal tone for “Bearded Lady”; that I get the intonation right on that one line in “Dog Day” I need to re-record; that I properly direct and produce the two electric guitarists who are guest-soloing on a song; not to mention doing the album cover, the CD layout, the posters/lyric sheets, the website updates (I can’t even remember if I announced my new site to you all: www.jennykatzmusic.com), the Facebook fan page, the Lyric Hall gig planning (more about which soon)… Oh, yes, and the kid-rearing, the money-earning, the wedding-planning, the eating right, the keeping-in-shape, and the dishes.
Everybody’s life is like this, I know. Sometimes I get a little overwhelmed. How about you?
I’m learning so much, and it’s so rewarding, and it’s so hard. There’s so much I don’t know how to do! I feel like a chick just hatching. (I stole this great photo off http://www.macopinfarm.com/’s website.)
As it happens, this is a theme for me. The first song on the album is entitled “Egg”, and the refrain goes:
This is a song from the inside of the egg/
Won’t somebody somewhere come and help me break out?
Thankfully, I AM getting a lot of help. The people who love me are putting up with me, even though they don’t always love how I’m acting. (I get a little nuts sometimes; other times a little disheartened.) But they’re hanging in, and offering lots of assistance. Mom’s making soup and helping with wedding stuff. Dad’s offering piano tracks and positive feedback. Eric’s laying down extra percussion, guitar, and voice tracks, hugging me a lot, and being patient. My kids are being tolerant. I am grateful.
In fact, a few days ago I got some specific help from my younger son, Emerson (the one who filmed/did a cameo dance in my original Kickstarter pitch video). He and his friend Shiva, son of fellow Kickstarter artists Brainard and Delia Carey (www.twobodies.com/wordpress), traced me and my guitar in chalk on the driveway, then took photos, which I‘ve turned into a constellation for the inside of the album jacket. You can see it below. I’ve blurred some of the text, because I don’t want to give EVERYTHING away, but you’ll get the idea.
Hard. Good. Getting there.