Monday, October 29, 2007

A Post About Not Posting

This isn't one of those "fuck it i'm outta here posts." I have a down day, after a down day, I'm in beautiful San Francisco, which is vibrantly the city that most other cities aspire to be.

I have been hoping to do a performance snapshot (sorry, no pictures, I've been asked to refrain from that) except my experience has been weird. Fun weird, but weird nonetheless.

I'm playing with the founder/leader of a group that had a strong cult following through the eighties and nineties. When we're playing stuff from that era I often get the "nags" from my little voices. Stuff like "Yeah, fun. Contrived fun. Fun that's hard work. Fun from twenty years ago." Then the voices start in with "And twenty years ago kid, you were over forty."

With the WGA strike looming over Hollywood threatening to put sand in the jingle gig gears I'm also looking at having to put in a lot more performing time. Which I'm not all that enthused about. I've been doing this a long time. Frankly, I'm tired.

I've been giving lots of thought on what to do next. Go through with the threats to open my truffle shop, start up a non-profit business helping folks rebuild sober lives after they go through drug and alcohol treatment. Lots of stuff.

Like the politicians claim when they talk about Iran. For me, right now, everything's on the table. The difference being, that when I say it's all on the table, I'm not bullshitting. It's not the "Valley of Decision" or drastic stuff like that. It's just time for a sober assesment of what I would be pleased to find myself doing five years down the road from today. I know that living out of a suitcase, playing the current gig with only the next gig to look forward too doesn't really sound that attractive to me. As a matter of fact, it sounds like something I don't want to do.

I have some advantages other folks at this kind of crossroad don't have to face. I've already made enough money to truly retire. I'd have to totally scale back my lifestyle, cut back on spoiling the kids with material shit (although they are all pretty much set), but the possiblity of kicking back and spending most of the day reading books is on the table with everything else.

We shall see. I've felt like this before. I'm glad that I'm a pretty deliberate soul and not given to rash or drastic actions.

Then again, like Socrates said:

An unexamined life is not worth living.

Peace ya'll.

big brass blog


Anonymous constant comment said...

In this economy, MB, the fact that you have options is a luxury in itself. (Especially if retrirement is one of them...)Funny, but I didn't see any mention of writing a book as one of your possibilities??? Hmmm...

10:35 AM  
Anonymous constant comment said...

Arghh, make that "retirement." I can't type today...

10:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


As usual when I read this in my mind I heard the words read aloud (in this case by your voice since I know what it sounds like). I heard someone who wonders how to find the pollen path and who at present doubts he is on it.

Here is one way to that path. This is a cliché, but it works:

JOSEPH CAMPBELL: If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Wherever you are -- if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment, that life within you, all the time.


Now, I came to this idea of bliss because in Sanskrit, which is the great spiritual language of the world, there are three terms that represent the brink, the jumping-off place to the ocean of transcendence: sat-chit-ananda. The word "Sat" means being. "Chit" means consciousness. "Ananda" means bliss or rapture. I thought, "I don't know whether my consciousness is proper consciousness or not; I don't know whether what I know of my being is my proper being or not; but I do know where my rapture is. So let me hang on to rapture, and that will bring me both my consciousness and my being." I think it worked.


BILL MOYERS: Do you ever have the sense of... being helped by hidden hands?

JOSEPH CAMPBELL: All the time. It is miraculous. I even have a superstition that has grown on me as a result of invisible hands coming all the time - namely, that if you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in your field of bliss, and they open doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don't be afraid, and doors will open where you didn't know they were going to be.


My general formula for my students is "Follow your bliss." Find where it is, and don't be afraid to follow it.

- Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth, pp. 113, 120, 149

Understanding, of course, that "your bliss" is what you are passionate about, not that which simply amuses or pleases you. Your own true self already knows what you are passionate about. Usually the challenge is getting your rational mind to shut up long enough so that it can learn from your instinctive self that which your instinctive self already knows damn well.

Walk in beauty.

- oddjob (Oh, did you know that one of the Red Sox is a Navajo?)

10:41 AM  
Anonymous tata said...

Man oh Manischewitz, this must be an exciting moment to be you!

11:32 AM  
Blogger Ralph Hitchens said...

If you've truly made enough for a scaled-back retirement (without needing to sell off your horses, right?) then maybe you should give it a try, plus looking locally for temp gigs -- must be a decent music scene in Phoenix/Tucson that would have room for an older backup guy. & Clearly you need to stay close to your cultural roots.

1:04 PM  
Anonymous Lisa said...


You seem to me to be a remarkable person. That you do not live hand-to-mouth allows you to pursue your "passion(s)." You do not need to buy expensive gifts for anyone; you are the gift.

I understand what you are saying about that moment of being in the consummate location, but sensing something is awry.

You have several talents. Why not open a truffle shop? You will bring great pleasures as a chocolatier, and I suspect your shop will offer a lovely and unique ambiance. You may take on apprentices, who will also revel in your passion and bring it forth in the world. It will be the sort of place to go off the beaten track for.

You need not hang up on gigs; just be more selective. I know your generosity in playing at servicemen's funerals and benefit concerts. As Joseph Campbell says, you are already on the right path; just look at the doors on either side. What calls to you?

1:12 PM  
Blogger seventh sister said...

What a delicious place to be! Of course, we all choose where we are and what we are doing each moment even though we are not usually conscious of it.

You seem to have many passions but most of all, a passion for life. I am sure that you will come up with a most interesting and engaging pastime. In the meantime, I hope you realize what a positive effect you have on a lot of people with your writing.

3:32 PM  
Blogger Sherry said...

hi. i think the best thing of all is that you are still here to make a decision.
that and the fact that you are safe and secure enough to think about doing something that will fulfill a different need in you.
i can understand being tired of coming and going.
whatever you decide i'm sure that it will be interesting.
i hope you will take us along on the journey.

4:08 PM  
Anonymous amish451 said...

.....having scaled back (just a bit) and made the step last March I can say that the most difficult decision is simply that ...deciding to stop. The kicker for me was the math, what I would draw, compared to what I was earning, the difference amounted to barely gas money to get to the job....How much is it worth for you to be the ultimate master of your time and place ....perhaps now is the opportunity to haul that trailer out to the mesa with the spectacular vista .....

7:40 PM  
Blogger Brave Sir Robin said...

I suspect whatever road you choose you will do it with passion.

Musicians never retire by the way.

If you do open that truffle shop, you'll have to let us all come to the grand opening.

No profit grows where is no pleasure ta’en.
In brief, sir, study what you most affect.

7:30 AM  
Blogger Paul said...

"And twenty years ago kid, you were over forty." Jayz, I thought you were 57, like me. How about opening a truffle-coffee shop that stays open Saturday nights for live music?

PS. the Red Sox who is Navajo is Jacoby Ellsbury. I wonder what he thinks of the Cleveland logo.

7:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder what he thinks of the Cleveland logo.

During the ALCS I remember reading or hearing a comment of his about that. Basically he said he could understand both points of view. He may have indicated a personal leaning one way or the other, but I can't recall for certain.

- oddjob

10:08 AM  
Blogger BadTux said...

I've been at that inclination point a couple of times in my life, where it was clear that the way I was going wasn't what my life was going to be in the future. One thing I'll say is that it's good to be deliberate, but if you're too deliberate the choice will slide away from you and you may end up with the choice being made for you or, at the very least, having to make hasty choices. I'm a fairly deliberate person myself and have had that happen to me. Luckily I had options, but I wonder what would have happened if I'd made the choices, rather than having them made for me because I waited too long...

2:19 PM  
Anonymous Lisa said...

I rather like the idea of the truffle shop - music venue combo.
Talk about something that will land you in Gourmet magazine or somesuch.

I happen to be a culinary traveler. I remember my delight at finding a magical patisserie years ago off the main street in Moab--Ace of Hearts, or something like that. How did this fellow land there? Well, that kind of delicacy, to me, is what civilizes a place. And we need more civilizing influences, I think.

9:07 PM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

the truffle shop is looking like the most realistic option right now. i found out that there were folks in san diego who remembered the shop from twenty years ago. . .

that kind of memory exists with chocolate.

10:36 AM  
Blogger Sherry said...

oh yes, it most certainly does! : )

12:55 PM  

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