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The Grass is Always Greener Where You Water It

February 21, 2013

I got fired from being a karaoke host once.  True story.

Fact is, I hated karaoke.  I was ambivalent from the first moment I was asked to do it.  To me, it has nothing to do with being a musician, and its prevalence as a cheap form of entertainment for bar owners has taken many gigs away from actual artists.

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I also discovered that I was not very good at the realities of karaoke, most of which involved corralling drunk people for their moment in the spotlight, and keeping them out of the sound booth or from spilling beer on the monitors.  My distaste showed in my attitude, and honestly, I probably deserved to be fired.

Luckily, I was planning to quit in three weeks anyway.

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One of the benefits I gained from karaoke hosting, though, was learning a lot more about sound management – in particular, the ease of which a laptop could be hooked into a PA system.  Pre-karaoke, I kept my own PA, amplifiers, and other gear stored away in between gigs.  Post-karaoke, I made the decision to keep my gear set up in the living room.  Honestly, the sound quality is so superior, I don’t even need a stereo anymore.  And the sound is so crisp and clear, I can hear the smallest detail at the lowest volumes.

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mission control

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Having easy access to my gear has made me a much better singer and musician.  Because it’s there, all the time, I am much more inclined not only to practice, but to experiment and to record.  And having a microphone in the living room, and access to wonders of the universe like YouTube, is what encouraged me to finally put down my guitar on occasion, and start discovering what kind of singer I could really be.

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“Creativity is not a talent. It is a way of operating.”

– John Cleese     

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When I decided to start drawing and painting again, I knew I had to make similar space for my materials and supplies.  It was annoying to have to keep dragging things out of boxes on shelves in storage closets.  It took a day and some difficult purging decisions, but now my supplies are right there, accessible in the living room.

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making space 1

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Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we all had big, brightly lit garden studios somewhere in which to create and make a mess to our hearts’ content?  Sadly, for most of us, that’s a far and distant vision.  It can often keep us living in the fantasy mode of having the perfect situation before we can start.

If we want to blossom as the creative people that we are, it’s very important to carve out a space for that, wherever we are.  That could mean in our living rooms, or any old room – even a corner of a room somewhere.

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yamaha

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It also means carving out space in our lives for our creativity.  That means making time.  It can mean saying “no” to people when they want to intrude on the time we’ve scheduled for our art.  It can mean rejecting activities that don’t really forward our creative agendas.  (Like karaoke hosting.  Just sayin’.)  It can mean taking the time to plan and organize our spaces so that they serve us, tossing aside the glossy, magazine-inspired concept that our living spaces should look a certain way and have limited uses.

If we want to live creative lives, then we have to make space for that.

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bookcase

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After all, a living room is for living.

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Dodie Goldney

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related posts by Dodie Goldney:

Kali the Destroyer:  Cereal Killer Version

Creative Tools

After and Before

Getting Paid for Creative Work

The Insta-band


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