At any rate, I'm ready for new COFFEE projects--I have two.
But first, I want to reflect on Project #1:
Little P's Big COFFEE Project #1: Get on out the door, now, and play some music for people.
I am still playing at open mics. I just played again this last Thursday. That makes 4! I'm going to keep doing this. I am not the best guitar player or the best singer or the best lyricist or the best songwriter, and that bothers me infinitely less than it ever has in my entire life. In fact, this past Thursday, I had my first encounter with a condescending asshole after I played (Condescension is on my list of cardinal sins.). And I found it more... interesting... (Ah! So that's what that looks like!) than anything else--someone who lets Ego fly the plane. Although I logged it as irritating and rude behavior, it didn't unsettle me, and I'm not sure I can properly describe how liberating that is.
Although I will confess one thing slightly unsettling: Playing personal music in a bar. People go there to hang out with their friends and have fun. Which is a-double-okay, completely. 100%. Still, I was in the middle of a new piano number that's kind of intimate, and all I could hear was chatter chatter chatter ha ha ha ha tink tink tink chatter chatter chatter. I felt kind of... dumb. Embarrassed. A small impulse to just stop playing. I've heard Wendy talk about this phenomenon before, so I knew it wasn't an evaluation of me, per se. It was just sort of... I don't know. Weird. It felt bizarre.
COFFEE Project #2: Get on off the couch and make some stories, Sugar.
For a long while I've had an idea for a creative side endeavor. A year ago, I gave it a name (and then promptly stalled):
little bird big tree storybooks
Custom, commissioned "children's" stories (I say "children's" with quotes, because they probably appeal more to child-like grown-ups.). I've actually been doing this a long time, in one form or another, starting with middle school story trades with Tanya, T-Bop. We wrote short stories for each other featuring ourselves with boys we liked. I still have every story Big T wrote for me. All of them! I have them! 10-page epistles, big flowery 12-year-old girl handwriting, folded up in 2 large tins in the basement. When I moved away from Kansas to Iowa, we continued to write them for each other, between the two of us, keeping the US Postal Service in business, as each tome required several stamps.
In high school, I wrote them for my friends as gifts (including one with Wendy ejecting Madonna from the stage for encroaching on her Grammy rehearsal time). I've written them for my nieces and nephew using photos from family vacations and get-togethers. Most recently, I wrote one for a friend's new baby, and I used finger puppets as the characters, conducting elaborate photo shoots in my backyard.
I see a more professional version of this in my head: treating each book like a piece of art. I've known instinctively that this project will align a lot of things that I feel led to do. But I've resisted, and I don't know why exactly. It will be a lot of self-starting work: I fear my lazy tendencies. I fear having to fight with my own expectations constantly (so exhausting). I fear losing my joy for story making. I fear being bad at it. I fear having to learn new technology (more advanced photo editing). I fear resenting my day job when I don't have time to work on my creative life (already happening, if I'm being honest).
Because of the elbow-bumping of...
a) instinctively knowing this is a good design for me;
b) resist resist resist; and
c) a recent nudge...
...I know I'm supposed to do it. One of my very favorite lines of any book any time, is from Beloved by Toni Morrisson. It comes toward the end, when *I think* Sethe, a former slave, is speaking to Beloved, the ghost of her dead daughter, and says, "Get on off the porch, now." (I would double check that, but Beloved is a book I loaned to someone and never got back. "What the crap?" I say indignantly as I take a quick mental inventory of the loaner books on my shelf that I have not yet returned.) At any rate, there is something about that line that burned into my brain all those years ago, and it is one of the mama voices I hear in my head, especially when I'm resisting forward motion.
"Get on off the porch, now."
Project #2 First benchmark: Build a portfolio with at least 3 completed storybooks. (Worry about the business aspect later. Right now, I just need product.)
Goal for the next 14 days: Draft the story for 1. (I bought the puppets months ago. And haven't done a thing.)
COFFEE Project #3: Get on off your tush and grow some coffee, Sweetie Cake.
A project about the project. COFFEE wants to grow. She's taking big belly breaths and poking at her confines. I have ideas. Over the next 14 days, I'll put together at least 1 of them for your review (privately. I won't post it in detail here.). Step one however, is the addition of two new and very welcome and spectacular COFFEE-Mates:
I think Jenna is set to launch this Friday. Angie launches in another two weeks.