Sometimes it’s a “no.”
And not just a polite, “no thank you.”
But a big, FAT, honking, “N.O.”
You feel so free, so unaware of anything except your talent. You feel sure.
There is that moment when you take a deep breath, place your fingers on the keys, and open your mouth for your first note.
All the sudden you are acutely aware of your surroundings.
“Why is the air conditioner so loud?”
“I’m playing these chords too slow.”
“The mic is too far away from my face. Whoops! Now it’s too close.”
“Why is the casting director talking through my best phrase?”
“Why did I choose this FUCKING song!?”
“It is such a good song, but there’s that other FUCKING song that would have been better!”
“Oh fuck, not I forgot a chord! What comes after Asus!?! WHAT THE FUCK COMES AFTER THE GOD DAMNED Asus!?!”
“Well we fudged that part well enough… maybe.”
“Alright… here comes the big vocal part…”
“THANK YOU, SHANNON. WE’LL BE IN TOUCH!”
After weeks of perfecting, vocalizing, and visualizing yourself on the stage… ANY stage at this point. Alas, there must be another “no.”
And probably many more “nos” to come.
So how do we change a “no” into a “yes?” Ask anyone who has ever gotten their life-changing “yes;” it’s often serendipitous. Sure, that person was wildly talented and deserving, but that’s most of the New York City creative world.
The other constant conundrum is how to we persevere in a world of “nos?” What is the right decision? Do we curb our creativity and put it into a more prosperous or lucrative career? Do we take the small victories and take the unpaid shows, the background work, the open mics, the shitty bar shows that pay in beers? Do we sell out, find a producer that picks apart every piece of skin, sinew, and bone that makes us a person, and produce massive amounts consumerism shit to throw at the world?
Or do we continue to make art? Do we continue to be happy in the moment when our voices project from a speaker, or out fingers strum our guitar strings, or our hands hit the keys.
Maybe we hold our heads up high. Let each “no” be a little battle scar that a resounding “YES!” will eventually patch up.
I don’t know.
I really don’t know.
I do, though, very much know what a “no” looks, feels, tastes and smells like.
I’m all too familiar.