When I was younger and living at home, I always felt like the black sheep. My dad is a practical man, my mom, though definitely more artistic, has a strict practicality about her. My sister and I just sit on two opposite sides of the fence on many issues. Though we are both passionate about our differing interests, we can carry on intellectual conversation that is both frustrating and stimulating. Any time I try to bring these things up with my dad, though, I feel like he does not “get it” and because of that I am the odd man out.
A few days ago I applied for an internship with the Metro in Chicago. Yesterday I received an e-mail that said I was a perfect candidate for an internship with in-house promotions, but hiring for that is next fall (2011). However, she said, I should definitely interview for the position posted because it is a way to get a foot in the door. I would have a one-up. After receiving the e-mail I could not stop smiling and was beyond giddy at my prospects. Metro Chicago. For a girl who has a music blog and who dedicates several hours of the day to music consumption, this type of connection is huge. I told my mom and she congratulated me on getting the interview. She then suggested I call my dad to tell him. My initial thought was, “hell no, he’ll shit on it.” But I didn’t want to ruffle feathers. I dialed his number, let it ring, and when he answered I broke the news, my exciting, wonderful, delicious news: I have an interview for an internship with METRO CHICAGO. (My heart races just thinking about the exciting possibilities of having my foot in the door to such a Chicago institution for the music scene.) There was a silence, followed by a sigh, followed by a, “I guess congratulations.”
My dad has never understood my passion for the arts. More specifically, he does not understand why I have such a deep connection to music. Why it has taken such a hold in my life and refused to let go after many years. I am not sure I can even explain it, it just is. Like how the sky is blue. Sure, there is some convoluted scientific study about how music and the brain interact and how some people are more predisposed to developing that type of sensory bond, but simply put: it is because it is. It hasn’t changed in twenty years (the reason I say twenty is because my first memory of truly experiencing music was when I was five). And he still hasn’t given up on trying to change my view on it.
Last night I went to the Riviera Theater to see fun. perform. I sat in the balcony with a pen and notebook transcribing impressions, moments of enlightenment, song listings, set design, crowd interaction in an effort to write a review of the show. To me, the evening, though enjoyable, was not for pure pleasure. It is my goal and my desire to wrap my life around music the way music has wrapped itself around me, and because of that I am taking the necessary steps to provide a viable resume and offer writing samples when the time comes. It was work, last night, though I derived pleasure from seeing one of my favorite bands, it was not a solely pleasurable evening. But in his eyes I am doing nothing but wasting my life.
While at the Riviera, my dad and I got into an argument. That has happened a lot lately. He sees me as a failure and has said and implied as much since moving back here. My emotional upheaval and pain, he said callously, has cost him too much already, and he is sick of it. I have applied to various jobs throughout the area since the first week I was back. This is my first real break, and it is in an area I love. I have not sat on my ass, but I have continued to write and maintain my music blog, created a writing group to not only help others, but give myself an outlet and provide experience in organization and leadership, and have made a consorted effort to explore the promotions side of music not only to help my wonderful friends, but to educate myself. Events are fun, yes, but just like he always has said, networking is key. What he doesn’t understand, yet, is that in this side of business, with artistic ventures, social networking is just as vastly important as business networking. They go hand-in-hand. Fans creates buzz creates interest. Business rests solely on the shoulders of monetary draw and money comes from the fans. And how do you get fans but to advertise and promote? You can rest on your laurels and believe that sheer talent will push you through to the end, but the sickening reality is that it won’t. Annie Dillard wrote in her introduction (I posted this a few days ago) that there is a culture of celebrity in the United States, hell, the world. There is the next great thing based on talent, but unless you have celebrity, fan-base, and money-making potential, you are far more likely to fail. I’ll go to a show, but I will talk to more people outside my comfort zone so that I can self-promote a product and promote my friends. (It sounds so unmoving and conceded, but, it’s the unfortunate reality. Doesn’t mean I do not make genuine connections, it just means that the symbiotic relationships of business have to co-exist with genuine and inherent interest in a person.)
But my Dad is clueless. And when he doesn’t understand, he never supports. “I just want you to be happy,” he says. Then why are you bringing me down? Why do you always question every passion I have ever had? It is not support to tell me I can’t or won’t. Just say “congratulations,” and be done with it.