Ok.when i grow up

This is about Juliana Hatfield’s biography titled “when I grow up” … and some insightful things she says <and my thoughts on them and Life>.

Now.

To be honest … this is not a well-written book <a little whiny in spots> and kind of a rambling diary.

It didn’t help the book in that inevitably I compared it with the other music biography <which I thought was one of the best I have ever read> Kristin Hersh’s ‘Rat Girl’.

<about the book Rat Girl: http://brucemctague.com/rat-girl>

<thoughts … like I will write later in this post … inspired by Rat Girl: http://brucemctague.com/rat-girl-thoughts… there is some really good stuff in this one>

 

Juliana’s “When I Grow Up” is not quite as good, funny or insightful as “Rat Girl” … however … it has its moments <which I will use below> as well as it is a glimpse into life in terms of “if I invest my entire life into something I love and my work … what do I do when it is done?”

It is also a glimpse of the fact you sacrifice some aspects of ‘growing up’ when you put some blinders on professionally. In other words … your career becomes your life … and other things inevitably get sacrificed in Life.

 

In addition … if you care about music and why you hear the same crap on station after station across the country … the book is interestingly insightful about the shift in the music industry from alternative rock during the mid-1990s to the mainstream generally pedantic stuff you hear today on the radio.

Juliana HatfieldAs you read you have to feel for her <and what she went through> as the perspective of a musician who pretty much wasn’t eased out but rather dumped out of the mainstream at this time.

Throughout the book you can certainly feel an honest unfiltered conflicted passion of a musician who genuinely loves creating music combined with a grinding disillusionment of the industry as a whole.

So.

I bought the book, partly out of curiosity and partly for nostalgic reasons <I liked that east coast music wave of talent including Blake Babies/Juliana Hatfield, the Pixies, Throwing Muses, Til Tuesday, the Breeders, Belly and the Lemonheads >. And I liked her music. Her lyrics were interestingly smart and she was a pretty good guitar player. Her voice was a bit little girlish for me but her youngish innocent sound juxtaposed against some pretty gritty grungy guitar sound made for interesting listening.

 

While her story has no depressing drug abuse or alcohol excess it does seem to explore her somewhat painful shyness, bouts of depression and anorexia … all of which she actually shares in an honest, forthright non-whiny or ‘excuse’ manner.

Regardless.

Some of her thoughts … and my thoughts about her thoughts ….

 

“I knew I wasn’t the best and that I probably never would be. I was always competing, and I did all right, but I was never number one. I knew I wasn’t the best singer but I knew I didn’t have to be the best. My intense compulsion to write and sing my songs along with my persistence and dedication would carry me when I got bogged down in doubt and fear. And my imperfections would distinguish me. However they tortured me sometimes, my imperfections were what made me unique.”

–          Well. This is about as thoughtful a ‘growing up’ thought as anyone could have. And it almost seems un-american <’I knew I wasn’t the best’> but at the same time an excellent recognition of ‘I didn’t have to be the best.’

Whew. I wish we taught this more often. To kids, to employees … heck … to people in general.  Competing is the name of the game. Only one can be the best. There is only one number one <hence its name>. what a great thought … ‘I can be successful and not have to be the best.’

In addition.

As we ‘compete’ in Life … I imagine we are all tortured in some way by our own imperfections … but if we take a moment we can revel in those same imperfections as the things that make us unique. Interestingly … we can often be tortured by both things … the uniqueness and imperfections. So often we want to be ‘like others’ despite not wanting to be like everyone else. Yikes. Now if there isn’t a paradox in life I don’t know what is.

Regardless. Standing out in any way can be painful <at its worst> and a burden <at almost all times>. The sooner we can accept that <and hopefully teach our kids this> the sooner you accept the burden and move on.

Trite thought about imperfections/uniqueness … but … it is what it is <they are what they are>.

You can either invest a shitload of energy wishing it was something else or invest the energy being ‘persistent and dedicated’ toward something so you don’t get bogged down.

 

Next.

<about a magazine interview & article she did>

“… when the issue with the pigtails and men’s underwear photo came out and I opened it and saw myself I thought then, “how the hell did this happen? I look like an idiot. Who in her right mind could have ever thought this was a good idea? … maybe they were right to want to enhance my appearance. Maybe they were really trying to help. … but what does this have to do with music? That’s what I was always asking myself.”

–          Oh. The things we all do on occasion when someone who supposedly knows better tells us it is the thing to do. I am not going to suggest we should ignore what other people tell us … in fact … this is often a lot of trial & error in finding out your own ‘what to do’ compass. Each time something happens you will always ask yourself ‘why’ or ‘what does this have to do with music <or your version of that>?  Sometimes you will scratch your head and wonder, sometimes you will scream in frustration and sometimes … well … it turns out okay.

That inner voice develops over time. You hope to avoid looking like an idiot but I hate to break the news to you … you will look like an idiot at some point.

At some point in childhood, in your working years, heck, as a parent … you will look like an idiot. Why? Because Life doesn’t come with a ‘how to’ manual. You learn ‘how to’ live life by doing and watching and listening <and being an idiot>.

Sure. At some point your inner voice matures … but until then? You will do something at some point that will make you look like an idiot.

 

Next.fearful of mediocrity

“I decided I had enough of the road. I was burned out. I’d been on this schedule for years … write, record, tour, write record tour … the schedule had become a grind. But that consistent repetitive work cycle was all I had ever known. If I stopped what would happen?

A job like mine – any job without specific hours really – can start to make you question whether you are working hard enough or working enough … whether you are even really working at all. Without a clear schedule every minute you spend not working is one you later worry you should have been working.”

–          Yikes. So this means following your passion or doing what you love for a living isn’t all champagne and chocolate?!? Oh Life … please don’t be so mean!

Sorry. I needed to get that off my chest.

Every job, every career, every person … has its challenges and issues. The grass may look greener … but even your passion comes with some issues.

Yes. Even following your passion is work at some point.

That doesn’t mean you don’t love it … and aren’t happy you chose doing it … but everything and anything can become a grind. This is something we should all think about a little as we gaze at other peoples’ lives.

Lastly.

What happens when I stop doing what I am doing?

Oh my.

And we wonder why so many of us remain in the ‘rat race’ despite the fact we call it something to do with rats let alone bitch & moan all the time about it? Well. The devil you know is better than the devil you haven’t met yet. There is a Life lesson for all of us.

What devil will I meet when I stop doing what I am doing? Yikes <most of us say: Just keep doing. >

When working is all you know … and it defines who you are … stopping work is really really difficult. We should all remember this. Why? Because I bet we all know someone going through exactly this issue.

 

Next <and lastly>.

“… this incident taught me that a person with confidence doesn’t necessarily know more than an insecure person. It just means that she has confidence. It doesn’t even necessarily mean that she is especially skilled. Or maybe she does have certain impressive qualities and is justifiably confident about them but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t lack other qualities. From then on I felt a little less insecure about my place in Berklee <school of music>.”

quiet confidence–          Confidence. Whew. People with confidence can seem so intimidating in their … well … confidence. It is a suit of armor that protects them from the rest of us ‘less confident’ people. But here’s the deal … confidence doesn’t equal knowledge or skill or ability.

Simplistically … all confidence equals is confidence. It is simply an attitude <albeit it sometimes appears as a skill>. Until actions match attitude all you gots is a whole bunch of attitude.

It seems un-american these days to suggest that confidence isn’t the key to success.

But here is a Life thought to ponder … maybe it is simply being a little less insecure that can insure some success … not having more confidence.

Having less of something means getting more of something else? <sometimes a good Life formula>

Sure. Someone could probably argue that is confidence … I would suggest it is simply being lessening some weight slowing you down and rather than adding something that can pull you forward <but possibly is an additional burden>.

But, hey … that sounds a lot of some Law of Gravity or something like that and what the heck does that have to do with Life?

 

Well.

That’s it.

Some of her thoughts and some of my thoughts.

 

Oh. To close this out … in case you don’t remember Juliana … she is most recognized as singer-songwriter for the 90s band Blake Babies and later as a solo artist <Juliana Hatfield Three>.

Here is my favorite Blake Babies song:

 

Blake Babies ‘temptation eyes’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fShYRCqlyeI

 

<I was tempted to use “Out There” but their version of temptation eyes, even not being an original Blake Babies song, is very good>

 

And here is My Sister which was a staple on early MTV:

 

My sister: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cer5n10rXAg

 

And another good one, Spin the Bottle, which had fairly heavy radio rotation:

 

Spin the Bottle: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUAVbGoR81I

 

In the end.

Not a particularly good book from a pretty good musician … but with some really thoughtful thoughts interspersed.

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Written by Bruce