Wow. It's hard to believe that a year has gone by. If you haven't yet read Christian's post on how his year went, you should. Clicky-clicky.
I feel, first, that I have to apologize for my own spotty posting in the last month and a half. Life has changed in ways that I can't even quite understand yet in a single year. I'm a different person, in a different place, with different people, and with additional family members (one by marriage, and a few who are cooking in wombs currently.)
SpireSpire's goal originally was, for me, to be all famous and stuff. I mean, not really, but kind of. In a year! My original goal was to be a best-selling author at this very moment. I envisioned myself among the pantheon of people I admire, rolling in pirate doubloons and having my current hovel burned down before moving into my mansion that Oprah bought me. Okay, not really, but kind of. I don't think any of my dreams have much to do with "fame and fortune" as they have to do with "meaning and impact."
I desperately long for meaning. I deeply long to have impact. I want to know that I'm here for a reason and that my thoughts are valid and important. I would say it is probably the deepest desire of my heart. And sometimes, the lack of millions of people knowing my name lies to me and tells me that I don't have impact, and I'm not important. I hope someday I'll get over needing to "sound cool" when people ask me what I've been up to lately, and I hope someday to find better questions to ask then to put someone else in that spot. We all have value. We all are impacting others...and sometimes in the search for more impact, we neglect where we actually CAN make a difference in the place that God has us...right now.
So, while major publishers are not clamoring for my book...as it's not edited yet, I am excited for the progress I've made this year.
First, I wrote a book! I never ever ever ever (x infinity) would have ever thought that would be something I could say truthfully. There's a story that people could read from start to finish, and hopefully be entertained by. And I like it fairly well. And I have ideas for other ones. And I want to write more in the future...that's saying something.
I am incubating a human being. I mean, that's pretty cool too! Granted, the second "thing I did" (bow-chicka-wow-wow) kind of interfered with the first (scribble scribble scribble) in the form of MEGA morning sickness, but sometimes you gotta be like...hey, I'm growing a new organ for my tiny human to live in for a little while here, whilst growing the tiny human as well...I gotta give myself a break.
I ran a website that had posts on it for longer than two weeks. That's pretty impressive for my own track record of blogging.
I hopefully helped to give a platform for a few other people to be all goal-achieving and such. Technically, a 24 hr musical, CD's, a soon-to-be one woman show, a novel, and other life change occurred because of SpireSpire. I'm not saying they wouldn't have without SpireSpire...but I can't help but think it might have helped somewhat. Accountability is pretty good stuff.
I started a course for writers to write their own books in a year. It's currently being guinea pigged (It's a verb!) by two lovely writer friends of mine who are helping me fine-tune before it becomes open to the public in January.
Plus I took care of a family, a house, my hubby switched jobs, taught voice lessons...and got to spend my days with the most hilarious, kind, empathetic, exuberant three year old on the planet.
I think most importantly, however, I got my bubble burst on writing. When I imagined writing, it was surrounded in the romantic mist. Tea was there. Candles were there. I had a whitewashed attic and wrote with a quill or something. And my book immediately sold and came out perfect because I am oh so talented, didn't you know? And I got interviews and movie deals...you might think I'm exaggerating. I'm not. I skipped the part about staring at a screen, and agonizing of your words (or when I thought of it, I imagined the great pathos of being a genius artist)...nope. If I can press this into the brains of anyone who wants to be a writer...it is about as glamorous as garbage pick-up. You sit in a chair. You probably sit in a really stupid manner which means you probably cut off circulation to your legs and then collapse on the ground whenever you try to stand. (true fact about Shay) Facebook and the internet will be singing its siren song in the background. The refrigerator will be calling to you. Heck, cleaning and laundry will sound better than what you're trying to do. Sometimes you'll be really excited! Sometimes nothing will come. Learning how to craft story takes TIME and you will not be good at it right away. You will write terrible sentences. You will have a thousand other things to do that will feel more urgent or important. Because, you see, YOU stay the same. All the flaws, the bad habits, the desire to procrastinate, the house, the kids, the unromantic environment...they all come with you on this journey too. I think I thought I would morph into someone new, someone who writes romantically and has access to an attic, and maybe just maybe, is a little bit more diligent about sitting down to write versus getting sucked into an entire season of 30Rock.
But you're the same. And hopefully you love your story idea enough to keep going. So you're faithful. And if you're faithful long enough (and that takes wisdom, and habits, and accountability which takes time to build up too) you will have a story. And then you will have to edit your story. Because, remember that you're completely new at this? Oh yeah, you'll mess stuff up. Funny enough, from being around professional writers and reading blogs and stuff...it doesn't seem to be a WHOLE late different later on. Words...tap tap tap...desire to procrastinate...editing...it's all still there.
But now I've done it once. And NOW, I know. I know what it's like to write a book. I don't know what it's like to get it published or have it completely edited, so I guess I should say, I know what it's like to have completed a manuscript draft...and frankly, that's a miracle in itself. I would say, for the Shay that I am, and not the Shay I dreamed up...writing a manuscript was a huge accomplishment. Getting it partially edited was huge. And even though my bubble of romantism has been burst, it's far better that way...because now I know that I actually like writing even when it's ME writing with all my life and habits and quirks. I'm actually pretty psyched to repeat the process. And that's a pretty fantastic note to end on.
I'll still pop in and out, and SpireSpire itself will be going through some changes, so don't delete us from your RSS feeds just yet. And watch Lexie, whose journey is still continuing. And my journey is just going offline for a bit (And I'm thinking about taking a pretty major break from the internet for a month or so just to readjust some bearings) but my book is still being shaped and worked on and someday, I fully believe, will be on people's Kindles and bookshelves and stuff. It just MIGHT take a little longer than a year :)
I love you all, thank you for reading along with me, for being supportive and I wish you the best of luck in all your endeavors.
Listening to ‘Funeral’ by Arcade Fire was one of the first times I realized how influential and awe-inspiring music could be. I understood how much emotion could be stirred with the appropriate melody and lyric, and finally everything clicked. I wasn’t writing to impress people anymore. I attribute my ‘click’ to this record, but it wasn’t the only momentous thing that happened while listening to the album. While listening to ‘Crown of Love’, I wrote my very first Spire. I thought it only appropriate to write my final post with Arcade Fire blazing through my headphones as well.
When I was writing, playing shows and collecting friends to help me, music ingrained itself into my life. It wasn’t just something to do in a friend’s basement anymore. It was a conduit for all wholesome, ignorant, self-serving, loving, introspective, kind or hateful things that you and I harbor everyday. And I clutched it tighter as time wore on. I remember worrying and worrying over whether I would be any good by the time High School ended, because at the same time that I thought highly of my music, I compared it to that of my friends’ and that of my inspirations, understanding full well that I had miles to go in growth. I at some points was even worried that I would end up like one of the many adults I have met that “used to play music. It just got too hard to play and balance life at the same time”. The majority of people that I met gave up or joined stupid jam bands in their 40’s. So when Shay approached me the summer before my Senior year while I was asking myself everyday how I was going to handle writing, playing and practicing music as well as getting into college and eventually going there, I jumped at the opportunity to set goals for myself and approach my situation realistically, the way an adult would. That being said, I’m going to reiterate the list of sub-goals I made for myself one year ago and condense the best and worst parts of my year into one post.
1. Work with Lauren O'Connell
, Will Sturgeon
, or Jack Conte/Nataly Dawn/Pomplamoose
2. Earn 1000 Subscribers
3. Be featured on Youtube
4. Get played on the radio
5. Have a song played on television or through the media in some way.
6. Sell a song I wrote to a major artist
7. Have 1000 downloads of my album, Vessels
, on Bandcamp
8. Have 1000 PURCHASES of my album, Vessels, on Bandcamp (way different, trust me)
9. Release a new, 3-song EP with songs no one has heard.
Around February, it became apparent that my attention had shifted away from the ultimate goal, which if you can even remember, was to record with professional bands of some sort. Most of my focus was attributed to my sub-goals, and several other sub-goals were added to the list from things that I wanted to do for years but never got around to. Some of these things didn’t require as much effort as I thought, but several required more. The list is as follows:
10. Form a cohesive and standard group of musicians to help you perform your songs.
11. Create more shows for yourself
12. Emote at shows. Invoke more emotion in yourself and your audience.
13. Create a significant music moniker and stick with it.
14. Show your music to other musicians and be proud of it.
15. Learn how to graciously accept both compliments and criticisms.
Of the new sub-goals, 12,13, and 15 were the most difficult, but I actually completed all of them. I learned how to do #12 when I wrote Color Collector, and I perfected it on accident when performing Reservation Blankets.
Of the original sub-goals, the very first one, which seems to be one of the more difficult, I completed. Will Sturgeon was kind enough to give my music a chance and contributed his excellently varied musical expertise into Reservation Blankets, which has in turn became one of my favorite full songs of the six that I wrote this year because of its ability to emote. I also had the great fortune of being played on not only one radio station, but 4 of them. The University of Dayton, Bradley University, North Central College, and College of DuPage were all kind enough to feature my music this year, ranging from Powerlines to RE: Blood.
I’m halfway towards my seventh goal with 528 downloads from bandcamp, although a number of downloads have come from other sites such as Last.FM or ReverbNation, so I’m estimating around 700 to 800 total downloads of my music have occurred this year, which is only 200 shy from the goal. Perhaps the most exciting almost-achieved-goal is the 9th, which states that I wanted a 3 song EP with entirely new material on it by the end of the year. I don’t have 3 songs to record because I have 6.
A comment made by an early supporter of SpireSpire named Dave inadvertently helped guide me throughout the year, and it said that the best way to get recognized by other artists was to have a vast breadth of material for them to choose from. So with an average of about 1 song per 2 months, I have a complete 6 songs to record under my new moniker, Sun Brother. They were written in this order: Electric Feather, Divide, Reservation Blankets, Color Collector, RE: Blood, and Bible. Bible is a song that needs only one more verse for completion, but has been in the works for probably 6 months.
All of these accomplishments are relatively tangible, and part of Spire’s original agenda was to succeed quantitatively. Can I check on my Bandcamp site to physically look at the numbers and figure out how many plays and downloads I have? Sure, but these results are only significant because of the qualitative principles that allowed them to happen. For years I struggled with the fact that my music in High School wasn’t taken seriously because it sounded like it was written by a High Schooler, and I expressed that frustration many times this year. I always believe in my words, and they are the most important aspect of my music. I might never have fixed that problem had I not written Divide, though. When writing it, my goal was “to use the music to create the emphasis that the lyrics are attempting to convey; to use the music as a vehicle, not just something to accompany the words.” That concept guided my material for the rest of the year.
So, I spent my year writing really worthwhile material, but of course with each success came a bigger hardship. I was plagued with writer’s block the majority of the time, and grew frustrated often at the rate of success I was having. But, SpireSpire forced me to sit down and try to come up with logistic responses “to combat the ever-growing sense of writer’s block. I decidedly went about my writing process differently. Before when experiencing Writer’s Block, I usually just wait it out, but a sense of urgency existed with SpireSpire ending, so I experimented with the actual process.” That particular method included a combination of techniques I learned from friends Colin Borows
and Chris Keckler
; writing with the lights off while crouching next to my amp for a few hours.
Sometimes the process wasn’t the only thing that needed a facelift, however. The blockage was so bad at times that I couldn’t write anything at all. No inspiration came and I had nothing to say. So I had to approach it like an equation. Problem: Writer’s block
Solution: Write as much as you can, and don’t think about it so hard at first. Turn your base ideas and observations into something articulate and clever later. You need fat before you can slim down. Gorge yourself in words, and hone them later.
When the block was done and I finally had some quality tunes again, I still had the problem of distribution and sharing. I usually spent lots of the time promoting it to people who had already heard it before or knew that I was a musician. Water becomes stagnant and tepid when it stands for too long, and so does music if it stays in one place, especially if it’s not in a stimulating environment. One of the weeks when I was feeling particularly under accomplished, I realized that “I am a wimp. I suppose it’s a lot easier for me to aspire to things while sitting in my room rather than actually doing real life scary things.” I learned that if I didn’t start playing shows more frequently and inviting people new to the genre or my music in particular, I would just be the musical equivalent to a bog. In short, if I really wanted new ears, I had to find them and jump out of my comfort zone.
So I ended up playing some really incredible shows this year. I played a full set to over 350 people, and I played a longer set to a crowd of 6. I played music at school to crowds over 800 people who barely listened at all and I played remarkable shows to 60 people who listened hard. It no longer mattered where I was or to how many I was playing to as long as someone new heard me. In the very beginning, I addressed the real struggle for my Spire journey, saying, “I can’t help but sweat a little bit over the idea that I’m not in control over the end result. I can only continue practicing and promoting and playing and praying that I will ascend to my dreams and hopefully beyond.” This encapsulates my fight all year. It was my job to get people to listen and play my heart out to them. After all, if I don’t act like my music is worth listening to, why should anyone else?
But to win this fight, I had to better understand the importance of performance. I used to go to shows because they were fun, and I invited people because they would have fun, but there is an entirely different motive behind a performance, as I learned watching Jeff Tweedy of Wilco or Arcade Fire or Bon Iver or S. Carey. I no longer invite you because you’re going to have a good time, even though you will. “I invite you because I want you to know me. I invite you there because we're all on the same team. I want you to be validated in the way you feel about things, because I feel that way too, and so does everyone else in the room. The best way anyone can get to know you or me is to pay attention to music. It will tell you everything you want to know. Musicians analyze the best and worst parts of you and me with it. So pay attention.”
I learned how to believe the paradox of writing as entertainment and writing as art. “My music is wholly personal and obviously belongs to me. It is also utterly and irrevocably yours. I write for myself and I write for you, because none of us are so different that our lives can't relate.” We are not separated by our different outlooks of the world, but united in the fact that we have them at all. And because we are all so inter-related, we naturally aspire to each other’s achievements. Very early on in this project, I was flattered and humbled one week because “I’d wager over 10 people have mentioned to me that, as a result of reading all of the aspirations on here, they themselves have ‘unofficially’ started their own goals to see if they can achieve them through hard work and passion!” To be told that I had any sort of impact on someone was simultaneously validating and mind-boggling. I have felt that way many times about other artists, but never did I dream it would be said about me that I served as an inspiration. This reoccurred throughout the year, leading me to, when preparing for a speech about music that I later posted, glimpse the strand of humanity in music people often miss. I feel as if I’m on the coat tails of countless talented musicians, but at the same time I know of kids who aspire to do what I do, so if we’re all on each other’s tails, it should be inherent to pay attention to one another as I mentioned earlier because really we all want the same things.
With all of the learning and growing I was doing this year, it wasn’t surprising that by the end of it all I was absolutely jazzed to share my music, and with it my thoughts with everyone else. And, excited about the increased number of shows and people interested in my projects, my momentum skyrocketed. At least until I moved away from the area I had been helping to musically cultivate for years to start all over again somewhere else. And this somewhere else had a seemingly worse music scene than Naperville. This change taught me probably one of the most important lessons of my Spire quest. I needed to learn how to be patient. Feeling aggravated and neglected for the first several weeks here, I was worried somewhere deep down that this whole year was for nothing, and that maybe no one really does care about my music. Such was my thought process until I realized that people were beginning to be interested here as well. I knew then that all I needed was time. People will give you a chance if you give them time, and we have all the time in the world if we learn to let it take its course. It’s much like the concept behind a difficult breakup or death in the family. You can understand all you want that things will get better, but you won’t feel quite right until there has been a sufficient amount of time passed, and you don’t control that.
So now after an entire year you can find me in Peoria, and in some unbelievable time-warp/act of god/destiny’s child, ‘Crown of Love’ by Arcade Fire has started playing again while I finish my last Spire post just as it did for my first. I suppose you can say that I failed my goal with flying colors. I did not record with a professional band, and in fact I didn’t even get close to meeting one. But as it turns out, I didn’t even have to because I knew them the entire time. I saw shows and connected with the bands and the audience; I met musicians and made lifelong friends; I solved problems and grew within my music. And finally, I played for you. I drove to farms, basements and living rooms and we got to know each other, me with my art and you with your attention. I will never forget this year of my life and the people who helped make it so important. If you’re someone who read this all the way through or stuck with me for these 49 weeks (give or take a few), I want you to know that I learned all of these things because of you. If this is what failing feels like, I’m going to try failing more often.
All good things forever and always,
Mark Christian Lyon
I had my first microwavable Raman this week.
I’ve been waiting for several weeks to start eating the boxes and boxes of Raman my Mom bought for me. I didn’t wait for any particular reason; I have really just been focusing my bowels on adjusting to college food and PB & J. In any case, I felt it was time to unleash soup into my system. So college.
The reason why I gave this any thought is that it just felt like with each slurp, I was completing the transition to college. Every noodle I was digesting equaled my digestion of the crazy change to college. Noodles= Transition.
Not really. That sounds really lame.
I do think that it draws an interesting comparison, though. The last time I ate Raman was probably around 10 years ago. I didn’t even listen to music then, and my biggest concern probably had something to do with what I was going to use for my 4th grade hobby fair. So now I’ve found my hobby, and it’s taken me places I never would have anticipated as a 9 year old. There will always be places for music to take me, and I’ll try to always be ready for them.
I don’t know if you can tell but I’m pretty sentimental about my Spire journey ending next week. I’ll save my thoughts on that for then, though. In any case, this week was pretty good lyrically. I have 4 stanzas of lyrics and I’m considering leaving it at that. We’ll see if I need more, but I’m hoping to keep it short and sweet. Here they are thus far:
I want to love you like my Father’s Father
Might have loved your Mother’s Mother.
You can lean on your parent’s door,
Ingrain the organ fight from your belly to its frame.
The pretty girls that might have had me all excited
Let their shins grow cold.
I read them like the scripture my Father recited
When he was growing old.
Have a great week, I’ll see you for the last time next time.
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Today is my day to post about all my progress with my one woman show. Today I do not have much to report on that subject. To be honest, my week was consumed with Young Frankenstein rehearsals.
The good news? Rehearsals are better than I could have ever imagined. I am having an incredible time. We are learning a lot and it feels great to feel "rehearsal productive." Instead of spending my nights on my spirespire, I've been vegging out in front of the TV watching Mad Men and documentaries about killers in a Tshirt braless in full bottom panties. I know I am late on the Mad Men train, but I am loving it. And if anyone knows me but at all they know I almost love killer documentaries.. not killer as in the hip way to say "awesome" but rather killer as in about killers.
Hopefully I will have to energy this coming week to work on my one woman show. Tomorrow I can promise you I will be doing NOTHING. It is my day off and I will be in my apartment resting.
More to come!
I think I have a tendency towards impatience. The post from two weeks ago (I didn’t post last week, it was my birthday and I got back to school late in the evening) proclaimed that no musician that I had met wanted to talk to me and that I was standing in a retention pond of people who are talented but disinterested in me. A little bit of a harsh outlook on my situation, I would say.
To an extent, I think it makes perfect sense that I felt that way, though. While everyone else is adjusting to the classes, rigors and free time of college, I was adjusting to a seemingly proverbial (excuse all of my water metaphors) draining of the rich musical talent pool I was blessed with in high school. Being surrounded by excellence all the time and having the confidence to know that you had multiple options if you wanted help with something was a indeed a blessing; it also makes an adjustment all the more difficult. Understanding that my school isn’t a ‘music’ school, of course there was going to be an adjustment. It was very difficult for the first two weeks, as you read. I did, however, start being proactive after I posted. I actually went out onto the quad (it pains me to say this) and played some songs and hung out with my roommate and mutual friend of ours, just so that I would be doing something, anything, to play my music somewhere that wasn’t a practice space. In doing that, someone actually came up and listened to me play, and then in turn played a few things for me. It was blues, and he wasn’t my kind of guy, but at least it was something new.
I started forging a new cover, as well. I’m very excited with it, but I’m not telling anyone what it is except Ryan (roommate). In any case, I tried to be productive in the best possible ways, and I laid in wait for something to happen in the meantime. And something happened.
I’ve been sending my music around to any musician I meet here so that they know what I’m all about. Generally, I just get a vague ‘nice’, which is fine. Some people really will love it, most won’t. I knew that when I started writing differently. However, after several weeks of this, I finally got a bite. One of the guys who was previously under the category of ‘talented but disinterested’ has switched to interested. Which makes him possibly very important. We have since played around a couple times and our collaborative efforts have been working out very well. We have been fleshing out ‘Electric Feather’, a song I wrote junior year for the original Sun Brother group, but never actually did anything with. By any means, I think it’s sounding really really good. So, if it keeps proving to be successful, Max and I will be looking for a bassist and drummer pretty soon.
So, all, thanks for listening to me gripe last post, because now I’m all excited and ready to make an impression on Peoria, IL.
Well. Here I am. I haven't posted in two weeks. Le Sigh.
Let's be perfectly frank here, I am really struggling with this whole goal thing right now. Even more frankly, I'm struggling with being a competent human being. Did anyone ever tell you that if you get migraines in "normal life" that they'll pretty much show up every day in "pregnant life"? Okay, maybe not for everyone, but for the last two weeks that's been my life. Oh, and migraines make me throw up, so it's been super cool.
I sound crabby. I'm not really crabby, mostly. Just tired. And frustrated. At this point in time, I wanted to have most of my large revisions done...well, originally I wanted to have sold a book and a million copies of it...haha.
I think what my big issue here is, is that this is one of my big issues. Even as I've been starting to feel better the last couple of days (which I do, thank you, thank you, thank you Jesus) I still haven't touched my work. I get very run on my emotions and "how I feel" and if I don't feel good, it's like I have a free card to be a lazy-butt and do nothing. And I am extremely skilled at doing nothing. And I mean, this goes back to me pretending to not feel good to get out of things or exaggerating my symptoms so people don't expect much out of me from a young age. To an embarrassingly old age.
So I can see (if I look at how I've been running life (or not running life) from a cliff far above me) that I've fallen back into bad habits. I was genuinely NOT feeling good. I genuinely was exhausted and sleeping for most of my free time. But now I'm not, and I'm still continuing to do nothing and be like "but I'm pregnant" in my own head. The line between taking care of yourself and coddling yourself out of ever achieving your dreams has become blurred beyond distinction and I'm waaaay across the line right now.
Can I also just say that I'm married to a guy for whom this is not an issue? Colin can be DYING of a flu or polio or something and still go clean the basement. (True example from life. Not kidding.) He does not have that part of his brain that says, "I don't feel like it..." I legitimately think it doesn't exist inside of his head. For someone whose brain says that about making toast or walking across the room or something...yeah, I pretty much feel like a giant wuss at all times.
So where does this leave me now? The dream to write is still alive, I've just allowed the spoiled kid that lives inside of me to win for almost a month. It's harder to get back on the wagon the longer you've been undisciplined...for whatever reason. So I'm going to start by doing one thing a day to forward me back to what I need to do. Transfer my files from my computer to my new one, write one sentence, one paragraph, edit a line, anything to gain any traction, any ground at all...
And to be perfectly frank, I'm going to be praying for help in this regard. Galations 5:16-18 says this... (The Message version, if you've never really read the bible, I would highly recommend going to biblegateway.com and start reading the Book of John
in the Message translation.) Galations 5: 16-18 My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God's Spirit. Then you won't feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day. Hello, root of sinful self-interest. Hello, two parts of me that are at odds with one another. One side of me loves others and the work that God set before me. One side of me loves myself and does random crap that only makes me happy (and even then, not really...hours of facebook, pinterest and not doing much at all actually makes me depressed and cranky). I'm ready to discipline myself again. I'm ready to let my spirit that's free to love others freely and free to do my work get back in the driver seat. I'm ready to do my work.
So, I did not report this past Saturday. However, I have a good excuse. I was teaching all weekend at a musical theatre intensive with rising juniors and seniors looking to major in musical theatre. It was awesome and also exhausting. To be honest, it wasn't until about Wednesday of this week that I realized I forgot. If anyone knows me, that shows you how incredibly swamped I was because I am not one to forget things.
Anyway, Let's regroup here for a moment. SO I had a lovely aug-cation. I took several vacation-like trips and weekender trips and drank a lot of red wine in the blazing hot. It was glorious. Alas, September hits and it is time for me to be mad productive! And I am actually very excited about it. I like being productive. I like accomplishing things. I like checking off a check list. Seriously, I probably like it all a little too much, and that is what drives me to the bottle in the blazing sun to take 3 weeks off from life because I just couldn't stand to do another project. I've never claimed to be the healthiest person when it comes to balancing a workload and not biting off more than I can chew, but it is all one big learning process and I am learning my limits and when it's best to push on.
So, in spirespire news, I have managed to meet with Andre (my new accompanist and composer for the show!) twice in the last month. Which is pretty good considering I was gone for most of the month. For those who read spirespire only when you are too bored from stalking random people from high school that have gained 20 lbs and have ugly babies, my show has really taken off in a great direction! Andre Catrini has been brought on as the new accompanist. But wait! There's more. After our first meeting, we decided that the songs that I had thought about originally putting in the show made it seem a little amateur and took the audience too far out of the very personal accounts in the script. Andre, being the musical genius that he is, has decided to write new material for the show;material based off of my script. So basically, this has turned into a one-woman musical? With all new music? From one of NYC's greatest new up and coming composers? I WILL TAKE IT! However, all this greatness comes at a price. That price is that my one woman show date has been extended yet again from my tour layoff in November to my tour layoff in January. I think this is the best move for the show. It gives Andre and me time to develop the new songs, and really try to perfect every aspect of the show. We are still going to have a hard time even making the January date a reality because of scheduling. Alas, FORWARD MARCH! (or January). Sorry, really bad joke. I have been around my mom who has "teacher humor" all week and have found myself making really lame jokes for the last week. Like puns... or the aforementioned forward march. I even debated deleting that joke... and I've decided to let it stay. And sit there. And think about the humiliation it has caused.
Anyhow, I am back in NYC as of yesterday and I start tour rehearsals on Monday, adding a whole new meaning to LABOR day. There it is again, bad joke...teacher humor. I am extremely excited and have been running around like mad belting Young Frankenstein material from the moment I wake up in the morning until I go to sleep at night. It should be an awesome experience. Obviously, being in rehearsals for tour complicates my time I can meet with Andre, but I am going to make it all work. I will be wonder woman. Rehearsing for a national tour, writing a one woman musical, and surviving to tell the tale. FORWARD MARCH! (JANUARY)!
To read more from Lexie, click here.
Over 6 months ago, I launched a SPIRESPIRE series so that the world could follow me as I embarked on the process of putting on my own 24 Hour Musical.
In those 6 months, I was faced with fear, rejection, grief, stress, and doubt. In those 6 months, I was also faced with acceptance, encouragement, joy, excitement, and success.
In Shay's SPIRESPIRE challenge, she makes the following statement, " This person needs to be able to reject rejection, dust themselves off, face their fears of exposure and looking stupid and be creative in how they run after their goal." The first time I read this sentence, I didn't think it applied to me. I wasn't nervous or scared at all when I first launched this idea. I was propping my feet up and feeling super confident...
Half way through the process, I read this sentence again, and it scared me to death. I realized I was facing all those awful and terrifying emotions Shay had promised would come. I was afraid I couldn't do it, and that I would let down all of our donators, auditioners, and my team...
I didn't tell you this, but there was a week where I almost posted that the 24HRMusical was going to be postponed until Christmas. Fear and stress had literally brought my team to a stand still. We agreed to press through one final time and if nothing came out of it, we would announce the postponement of the event until early January. Well, one thing led to another and God provided us with money. Then, he provided us with a venue. Then, he provided us with a cast. Then, he provided us with a show. Then, God provided us with a band and costumes and sets and a full house and a memory that at the very thought of it now brings a lump in my throat because I can clearly see now that God PROVIDED us with the 24HRMusical.
Some perspective for you... we anticipated a budget of $1500. We were blessed with $3000 in donations and cast fees. We anticipated 200 member in attendance. We had over 500, practically a full house for our venue. (And for the cast, it sure FELT and LOOKED like a full house.) We had HOPED to raise $2000 to REPAIR a water well in Haiti. I am HONORED to announce that we raised $4000 and thus are BUILDING a NEW water well in Haiti.
^^^ The above paragraph amazes me. It really happened. We really did an entire musical in 24 hours. The 24HRMusical isn't just a thought anymore, it's a MEMORY!
And notice that I said "WE did an entire musical", not "I". There is absolutely no way on Earth (read those words six more times to understand my emphasis) I could have done this alone. Please, take through the time to read the list of names below as they ALL deserve more than my ultimate gratitude, something they definitely have earned.
Thank you to DJ Ulbert, Kat McKeown, Erin Ulbert, Taylor Kras, Rachael Caise, Martine Hunter, and Jon Jorgenson for being the best team I could have ever asked. I am honored to have worked along side you on this. Thank you Jake Cartmel and Christian Stilwell for your assistance in the beginning stages of this project. Thank you to the Stilwell family for your support through Christian and after his passing. Thank you to Claire, Alissa, Brittany, Emma, and Megan for being fantastic runners throughout the whole event. Thank you Doug for heading up backstage and doing anything that needed to be done. Thank you Mary Taylor for your incredible costume work. Thank you Jenny, Kelli, Melissa, Chrissy, and the rest of your front of house team. You made the evening more than just a SHOW but an entire EVENT! Thank you Maureen, Cindy, Mary, Cheryl, and every other mom who made a meal or helped with food or support throughout the night. Thank you to Christian Youth Theatre Chicago and Judson University for the access to your wonderful sets, props, and costumes. Thank you LIVING WATER for providing us with materials to showcase the amazing change you are doing in the world, and for letting us be a part of it. Thank you to every single person who donated on kickstarter. Thank you Steve Pugh and the incredible staff of THE CHAPEL for welcoming us into your church as if we were family. Thank you to the incredibly talented cast for working harder than I have ever seen a cast work. Thank you Shay for providing me with a way to keep accountable on this project, and encouraging me every step of the way.
Thank you to you all who saw the show, or just have supported this project through talking about it or reading these blogs.
Thank you Christian, for forever being an inspiration to this project and to all involved as people. Thank you for inspiring us to be better servants and leaders.
Thank you Lord for putting this call on my heart and providing me with an incredible team of volunteers, cast, directors, and sponsors to pull it off.
I am the essence of gratitude when I look back on the entire experience.
I will be posting on SpireSpire a few more weeks. We have a few exciting things about the future of this project as well as I will be posting pictures and hopefully video soon! If you STILL aren't following us on twitter or have liked our facebook page, I'd suggest you get on that. We're not finished yet!
And please, if you have the desire to do this project in some capacity where you are, please let us know. We would be HONORED to provide any help or support we can. It's an incredible challenge any group of artists can grow through. We would love to be a part of your very own 24 hour musical.
Again, the essence of gratitude. In awe of what a group of people can do when they come together for a common goal of growing and making a difference.
Thank you everybody. With your help, we made a difference in a day.
To follow Matthew's 24HRmusical from the beginning, click here.