Fill your bowl to the brim and it will spill.Keep sharpening your knife and it will blunt. Chase after money and security and your heart will never unclench. Care about people's approval and you will be their prisoner.
Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.
---Tao Te Ching, verse 9. translated by Stephen Mitchell
I've been thinking a lot lately about the fact that, in the not-too-distant future, this EP will be released and will begin to take on a life of its own. People will be able to hear it and perhaps for the first time in my life, meet me through my work without really meeting me. Not everyone will like it (I have a feeling that musical theater listeners are what one might call a niche audience). But I'm getting to be okay with that.
To be sure, there are plenty of artists I respect and even like, that I have not liked in every single thing they've done. Does it matter? Not a bit. Do they care? I'm sure they have no idea, and even if they did, what does my opinion have to do with their work? I admire artists like amanda fucking palmer, even though her music isn't exactly my thing, but because she has the balls to put the word "fucking" in the middle of her name and create her art-to-the-masses site and blog and label and just, you know, do it. Not about to call myself "katie fucking zaffrann," but you get the idea.
At my day job, I work in Customer Service for a major television network. We air a lot of different kinds of programming, and if I have learned one thing in my time there it's that you can't please everybody all the time. It's an impossibility. (And dear me, but there are a lot of different perspectives and points of view in this world.) We even have a crafted response saying something along the lines of "with thousands of programs aired for a wide variety of viewers with different tastes, it is impossible for every program to please every viewer." In other words: if you don't like it, change the channel, and come back when you do.
Last fall I was walking through Central Park on a Sunday afternoon. It was a beautiful, warm day and the benches just below the Bethesda Fountain were packed with artists and spectators alike. A seedy, possibly odorous guy with a harmonica sat near an old gent in a beret with an easel and oil paints. A young violinist played away, well within earshot of the rollerblader with the hip-hop-blasting boombox. People chatted and strolled by and stopped to watch and listen; it was one of those tiny utopian moments with everyone coexisting, doing their thing and letting everyone else do theirs. New York Moments of this ilk are part of what makes the city great, and a big part of what has brought me out of my shell. Like I told my mom once when she was fretting over what to pack for her visit -- you could wear a plastic bag, and no one would say anything.
I'm hoping that soon, the little girl that just wants everyone to like her will have been in New York too long to care. For one thing, it's out of my control. For another, there are plenty of people in this world that I'm not sure I want to like me anyway. But really the point is that when it comes down to it, it makes me happy to follow this bliss and express the things in me that need expressing, and that's what matters. If it makes you happy too, I'll be thrilled! But for the moment, I'm not going to worry about that.