Friday, January 1, 2010

I Hereby Resolve...

I celebrated the New Year by looking at my horoscope - Susan Miller advised me to figure out which bad habit was always cropping up to set me back. Peering into the lights of the Christmas tree (as much as one can peer into a strand of twelve budget lights on a misshapen pine branch), I thought for a while.

"Self-sabotage. That's my worst habit." I remembered all the incidents of self-inflicted ill-timing (Norwich stage dive anyone?), strings broken at key moments mid-show and me with no spare G or D. Relationships I knew were only going to lead straight to the sackcloth, or the therapist's couch, often embarked on just as I had a new record out. Split-second decisions made almost in defiance of good judgment and the resulting fallout that constitutes, if not the entire thing, then at least major portions of my adult life.

I blame a lot of it on being half-Irish. Who is more willfully negative and fatalistic than an Irishman or woman? Things are bound to mess up anyway, so having a hand in the disaster at least lends a sense of control.

But how to change something so ingrained, so much a part of my makeup? It would be like asking someone to have their dodgy eyes exchanged for a better pair. The new ones would help you see better, but all the adapting you'd learned, the odd perspective you'd grown up with and adjusted your behavior to, would have to go out the window. Leaving you more effective, possibly, but in a cold Children Of The Corn kind of way.

No, I decided that maybe the best course of action was to work with the bad habit. To embrace my contrariness. By cannily planning to do the opposite of what I should be doing, surely I might succeed about 50% of the time, due to ingrained bloody-mindedness and the law of averages?

So here are my new year's resolutions:

Drink more - one or two glasses of wine a night is not nearly enough. Why not aim for a whole bottle?

Why bother trying to maintain some kind of an artistic profile? Putting out records, busting my ass booking and playing shows, maintaining websites, trying to get promoters to put my name on the poster - why? Embrace obscurity. Demand to play in a darkened corner of the stage, wearing a hood, with my back to the audience. Become a "whatever happened to?", another Bobbie Gentry.

Accept that I may have already said everything I need to say. Exalt in the emptiness.

All my journals over the years sing the same sad refrain: "I need to make more money." "How can I make more money?" "There must be some way to make more money." Never seems to work. This year my goal is to earn less. Or nothing.

Stop worrying about getting in better shape. So what if my clothes no longer fit - that's what those big sweatpants they sell at the market in Chalus are for.

I have yet to begin investigating all the canned and frozen, heavily-processed food I see in the French supermarkets. Why fret about making balanced meals with fresh ingredients when there's a wealth of already-prepared exotic crap with high sugar and salt content to choose from?

Spend more time on the internet. There's probably a very good reason why I need to know what other movies the guy who plays Matthew McConaughey's buddy in "Failure To Launch" has been in. And while I'm checking that out, might as well take a look at Terry Bradshaw's bare ass scene from the same movie. Which reminds me, how have the Steelers done this year? Better check and see...

And on and on. By resolving to do worse, any promise I fail to keep will at very least keep me right back here at square one.

9 comments:

Peter said...

Sarcasm, right?
Those of us who finish the bottle look to people like you to keep the dream alive.
Sure there's not enough money, but an artistic profile is what you have and if you ever stop you'll miss it every day.
What IS Bobbie Gentry up to these days?..

Bobwd said...

oh Amy.... ob la di ob la da - right? when i look at you and Eric i see success. know what i mean ??

Wornoutmorgan said...

Well. You must go on the internet because I've resolved to blob every day - only in cartoon form. I am wildly confident, having done one so far. (http://morganhell.blogspot.com)

On the money front, I think you're in a better position than the artist who just signed the rest of his life over to our wacky Tasmanian billionaire. It makes me feel queasy, that story.

hola.

amy said...

No Peter, I clearly (or maybe not clear enough) stated at the beginning that I was laying out the worst things for myself, and due to a rebellious streak chances are I would do the opposite of at least half of them...But I do get your point, absolutely. Now I better go do a search on "Bobbie Gentry"!

thanks Bob - but the more I think about it (and Eric found it appealing too), the more the hood/dark corner idea sounds very cool.

Anthony you've given me two more reasons to put off not doing my resolutions.

Ed Ward said...

As far as I remember (I'm too lazy to go look it up), Bobbie Gentry married well in Las Vegas and gave up performing. While we wish you well, we also wish you another route to happiness and success. Although, having said that, I must admit I've never set foot in Las Vegas. Now get off the dang computer, okay?

KudzuCarl said...

From Wikipedia:

Roberta Lee Streeter (born July 27, 1944), professionally known as Bobbie Gentry, is a retired American singer-songwriter notable as one of the first female country artists to write and produce her own material.[1] Her songs typically drew on her Mississippi roots to compose vignettes of the Southern United States.

Gentry shot to international fame with her intriguing Southern Gothic narrative "Ode to Billie Joe" in 1967. The track was fourth in the Billboard year-end chart of 1967[2] and earned her the Grammy awards for the Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance in 1968. Gentry charted nine singles in Billboard Hot 100 and four singles in the United Kingdom Top 40.[3] Her album Fancy brought her a Grammy nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. After her first albums, she turned towards variety shows. After a successful run on the Las Vegas Strip in the late 1970s, she lost interest in performing and has since lived privately in Los Angeles.
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By the way, second marriage was to Jim Stafford, who recorded the classic "I Don't Like Spiders and Snakes" in the mid-70's. Any Jim Stafford fans out there?

amy said...

An all-singin all dancin' Vegas show, Ed? That dream died for me when I saw "Showgirls" (a film I admit I've watched repeatedly)

No need to do a Bobbie Gentry search, my cousin Carl has done the work for us (although wikipedia is often full of misinformation, this sounds close to what I'd heard a few years back when Holly George-Warren did the liner notes for a collection of her work).

Jill Sobule, who frequently seems to read my mind, came up with this: http://bit.ly/4VOi1M

Rosie said...

I think I'll justlet myself get blown about randomly like a leaf in the wind as usual and give up all idea of self control

HDavis1049 said...

"embrace my contrariness."

Go for it.

It's why we love your work -- and you, if we think we know you.

warmth,

Hal Davis