During a recent conversation with my friend Lillian, I realised it was rather sad that I had stopped creating music and films. I don't know what took me away from doing it - actually, that's a lie. I do. I got distracted by life.
When I started making little experimental films in the early 2000s, iMovie was in its infancy, Garageband was novel, and I was pillaging the brand new Prelinger Archive site like no one's business. I spent a lot of my spare time in Patterson Building - most of it, actually - downloading, transferring, rendering, editing, rendering, waiting, waiting, waiting. It was absolutely my most creative period. I lived like a nun, lost in my head, sleeping on the hard floors of the computer lab when rendering a file took an hour a pop. My friends and I in the same class would often take up 3 or 4 computers at once: rendering on one, internet surfing on the other, creating music on the third. We'd leave desperate signs on the keyboards: "PLEASE DO NOT TURN OFF! RENDERING IN PROGRESS!"
I loved those days. I met some of my closest friends of that time in those labs. We fed off each other, inspired each other, starred in each other's work. It was maybe the last gasp of true art school collaboration at my school - before things started going super corporatised. We were pioneering techniques, mixing in old, and having a fucktonne of fun. I lived on pretzels and Mountain Dew for almost a whole year.
During this time, when I needed something to do during rendering sessions, I started making up music to go with my little animations. I'd write songs that were about a minute long and then do Terry Gilliam-style cutout stuff on Photoshop and string it together in iMovie. "Some Guy and the Plural Nouns" was what I called my pretend band. The name came from a chat I had with a guy in my juggling club - he said something like, "bands used to call themselves 'some guy and the plural nouns' but now they're all pretentious." I latched onto Some Guy and the Plural Nouns and decided that in itself sounded like a funny band name - because none of it was true. It was just a woman all by herself. I made a Myspace page back in the day with a photo of me putting a Jagermeister lanyard over my face and screaming. Accurate.
What happened was that I went down another path and I always associated filmmaking with intense focus and usually isolation. For a while I wanted a "normal" life: a boyfriend, some time to wander around, etc. What I didn't figure out until recently was, that "normal" life wasn't all that cracked up to what I thought it would be. I never got as much satisfaction out of that as I did feeling clever and accomplished with my work. I encountered a lot of road blocks, both self-imposed and brought upon by jealousies and rivalries. I could be bitter about it, but I'm not. I realise now it was part of the path.
The other difference was, my work back then was all about trying to impress someone. A cute boy, a professor, the judges in juried exhibitions. The line of thinking "When they see how clever I am they'll love me!" is one I'm embarrassed by now, but that's part of immaturity. The one element missing back then was whether or not I was impressing myself. I rated my success and failure over whether someone liked my little film, as opposed to whether or not I liked it myself. That took many years to really understand that THIS IS REALLY DUMB. Why the fuck would anyone spend that much time involved in something if they aren't satisfied with it? Unfortunately it took years of shit jobs and shitty relationships to also come to this conclusion.
Now I have zero patience for anything that doesn't involve 100% commitment. Oh, I'm not being responsible? I'm not "settling down?" That's a load of bullshit. Your only responsibility is to your well-being and happiness. Everything stemming from that is icing on the cake. If you aren't happy, no one else is. Not your family, not your friends, not your situation. The idea of self-sacrifice and martyrdom for the sake of someone else's happiness is also a bunch of hogwash. And another stupid lesson I had to get past. If you hate doing something, just stop doing it. Something better happens. If you love doing something, don't make it a "sometimes treat" or occasional reward for getting through your hated job. Make it your passion. If you hang out with people who make fun of you or mock you, ditch them immediately. They're jealous fuckwads not worth listening to. I'm not just saying this because some trustfund hipster dumbass wrote that in their Etsy bio - it's true. I'm living it right the fuck now.
A lot has happened since my art school years...namely, technology has finally caught up to some of my ideas. People do what I did all the time now. In fact, someone on Youtube even made almost the exact same film I did. I was chuffed to see it - finally! Someone imitating me! (Badly!)
I also started in on writing music again. I was never very good at physically playing instruments - I could figure out a little piano and understand drums a bit, but most of my musical training was in voice. I was in various school choirs for years. I can sing pretty well, but I find that it's very hard for me to make the leap between singing other people's music and making up my own. Part of it is a complete ignorance of how to read sheet music. I have dyscalculia, which is just a Greek-y way of saying "shitty with math." All those years of musical training and I fudged it. I confess. I have no fucking idea how to read sheet music, other than what note is which and what clef. Can't figure out rests, can't understand beats. I've only ever figured it out from hearing and parroting. I guess that's alright enough but I have no idea how to tell someone how I write a song. The nice thing about Garageband is that I can still make up a fun song just like someone could on a synth 40 years ago. It's really just a fancy synth!
I could feel like I'm cliché, that I'm past my prime now, that I should move on to greener pastures, but fuck it. I really like making little films. I like making up weird little songs. And if you are missing a part of yourself you forgot about - you should find it and revisit.