I’m in a band. 20-something Jenn
I’m writing a book. – a few more years older than 20-something Jenn
When I was in my 20s, I had a lot more time for creative outlets. Sure, I had a full-time job, and a demanding one at that, but I had hardly any responsibility outside of myself. When I wasn’t wasting that precious time, (SERIOUSLY – what I wouldn’t do to have back half of it) I pursued my fantasy life of rock star.
My heavily-glitter eyelined little self loved the heck out of performing. I wasn’t the best, but I wasn’t the worst, either. But as the mundane details of life distracted me from the primary goal of world domination through music, I would often cling to the “I’m in a band!” defense. With “I’m in a band!” as a key element of my identity, I was able to convince myself that I was fulfilling my need to create.
But I wasn’t.
Sure, we wrote songs, and we recorded, and we performed, but I was more in love with the outfit shopping, the persona creating, the surface stuffs that are great fun but completely and totally secondary to what should be the focus of any creative endeavor.
This is not to say that it wasn’t a blast. I loved every minute. I strongly suggest anyone with the slightest amount of musical talent be in a band just the one time. Traveling with friends, writing songs, eating gas station fried chicken, hauling amps up rickety steps, having self-indulgent photo shoots, getting to play with fun gear in vibe-y studios, it was all the best of experiences. Even the time in a redneck bar that some yahoo kept screaming, “Show us your tits!” (First sign I was not cut out for the rock life: I responded, “Oh, no thank you!”) And totally something I will use against my kids when I am inevitably referred to as uncool.
“Shut your yap about my mom jeans, kid. I was in a band.”
Alas, I have hung up my platform shoes and my armbands because I am middle-aged. And not the Gwen Stefani/Shirley Manson/Annie Lennox kind. I’m the “I drive a minivan and that’s cool with me” kind.
But I still have a need for creating. And while making four people was impressive, and it was, I have more to offer. So I started a novel. As someone who has been writing all her life, whether it’s been in a journal, a letter, school assignments, or yes, song lyrics, I have something to say.
But I don’t want “I’m writing a book” to be the “I’m in band” of my grown up life. I don’t want to get caught up in the daydreams of writer life. Yes, it would be amazing to have author photos shot by Annie Liebovitz in Central Park, or a glowing review in the New York Times by Michiko Kakutani, and I would be lying if I haven’t procrastinated by dreaming of a film deal where Kate Winslet puts on her best American accent and takes on the meaty role of my lead character, (she would ROCK THAT, by the way!) but my one and only goal is to write. And write well.
I meandered around a bit before arriving here. But I have arrived. Which is good timing, because nobody wants to see my minivan mama self in leather pants.