Tuesday, October 26, 2010

It May Look Like I'm Racin'...

But I Ain't Racin'.

I've tried hard to figure out ways to describe my musical life to people who don't seem to understand what I'm about, or what I'm doing with my music. I think I've finally hit upon a metaphor that works for me...

Imagine that I am skiing down a hillside (like I'd ever do that, but bear with me, it's a metaphor...). I used to race, but now I'm just enjoying the ride, seeing if I can pull off a nice move now and then, maybe show a little style. Now right next to me, very close on either side, are people racing like crazy down this very same hill. There are crowds everywhere cheering the contestants on. There are announcers describing every detail of the race going on all around me. There are scorekeepers tallying who's in the lead, who's next and who's last. There are critics making a living pronouncing their opinions about the race as if they were facts. There are fans of each racer yelling and screaming as well as groupies willing, or acting like they are willing, to have sex with their favorite racers.There are awards given constantly to the best racers. The race is covered by TV and radio stations worldwide. There are all kinds of prizes and money awaiting the winners, ridicule and derision awaiting the losers.

Now I'm just there in the middle trying to enjoy my ride down the hill. I'm not racing but since I used to, I know how, and even though I'm done with racing, I find myself unable to ignore the frantic pace on either side of me. I find myself leaning into it a little bit and catch myself noticing how the racers are doing and starting to strategize and think like a racer. All around me, of course, people assume I'm in the race. If they like me, they give me racing tips and cheer me on like I'm a racer. I am, after all, among all the racers doing essentially the same thing (writing, recording, posting songs and videos, etc.).

But then I notice what I'm doing and I have to remind myself what racing really involves and ask myself again if this is what I want to be doing. I regain my balance because, having given it a real look, I decided a long time ago that I don't like the race, don't like racing and don't want to be a racer. I'm constantly mistaken for one though, and truth be told, as long as I can just ski my own way down this hill, if I happened to win a race now and then, I'd take whatever came with winning. But I'm not "in it to win it". If I'm in it at all, I'm "in it" because it's the only place to ski and I like skiing.

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