When My Creative Epiphany Turned Into My Creative Apocalypse – Wednesday October 25th

Chicago, IL

El Train: Brown Line

One impetus for my creative epiphany was a series of random and incredibly fun events I’ve been going to with a friend of mine.  She’s more accurately a Superfriend: fun, thoughtful, dear, sympathetic, supportive, and encouraging. I like to think of myself as her ringer, but she’d probably argue that I’m just so fucking fun she wants me to come along to whatever she’s going to.  In the past month we’ve gone to a famous sports guy benefit, two Cubs games, and a benefit liberal social services that make a difference in the local community.  These events involve incredibly fun pre and post parties, usually at a fabulous restaurant that I had never heard of until we walk in and are hugged by the owner.

I own my own business and go to many many industry events.  I know how to pay for your lunch at someone else’s event… I went out of my way to talk to the akward client, or give feed back if it was helpful, or buy an unreasonable amount of raffle tickets because I was drunk and couldn’t figure out how the app worked.  (By the way, you don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to know that they design those apps specially to trick the drunk and the elderly.)  But these small gestures paled in comparison to the opportunities she was giving me.

And then Superfriend texted me an invitation to see Katy Perry perform at the United Center in a skybox full of business people.

“That sounds like my worst nightmare” I graciously replied.

“Please” Superfriend wrote.

“Yes, of course I will” I typed quickly.  It would be powerfully shitty for me to only say yes to the stuff I wanted to go to, and say no to stuff that made me want to hide in a hole until it’s popularity faded.  So I arranged for a babysitter for Thursday night, I charged up my Hoverkicks, and started to psych myself up to see Katy Perry.  I figured I had a few days to get right in the head about it- Thursday was almost a week away.

Wednesday evening I took the EL home.  It was a nice commute, I saw a new mom-friend and we talked the whole ride back to the suburbs.  When I finally looked at my phone, I had a few missed text messages from Superfriend.

“Hey, we’re all at the bar, you on your way?”

“My phone is going to run out of batteries, if you can’t meet us call one of the other people in the group, we can meet at the United Center”

“Is everything ok?”

Huh.  How odd.  I wrote back: “Shoot, I can’t go out two nights in a row – I just got off the EL by my house”

She replied “You’re not coming?”

I called her; “Ummm are you guys pregaming for Katy Perry?”

“Hi! Yes! Are you ok?” Superfriend said with concern in her voice.  I can be a terrible flake, but not a casual canceller.

“Superfriend, I thought it was tomorrow.  My babysitter is for tomorrow…I just got home.  I screwed up.” I hung my head as I talked into my phone.  ”I’m so sorry!”

“Pfffft it’s fine!” SF said. “I don’t want you to come all the way back downtown, it’s not worth it for this.”

“But but but I wanted to say yes! And my blog! I was going to write about it! And I owe you this yes!”

She laughed and assured me that she’d find someone to use the ticket and would try to have fun without me.  I felt like a real shitheal.  I berated my brain: “if that had been Beck you NEVER would have fucked up the day!  You worthless turd!  You can’t even run a mile without stopping.”  That last one is a standby in my shame cycle.

Eventually I realized that my whole creative epiphany was going to be derailed.  I wouldn’t have Katy Perry to write about.  Then I’d be frustrated and I wouldn’t write about an upcoming advertising party.  Then I’d sink lower into the chasm of self loathing and ignore the whole weekend.  And I’d feel like shit.

I talked to Superfriend the next day.  The show was everything we had imagined it would be.  It was the best/worst, it was stupid/fun, it was ridiculous.  I’ve never been so mad to miss something that I had no interest in going to until I couldn’t go.

So fine, I’ll write about that.  It took me days and days and it’s not perfect and that’s barely even bothering me.  Just kidding, I care so much I just realized I could write about that someday…about how much I care about stupid shit.  And here is where I think of some inspiring thing about productivity and self loathing and choosing your own happiness or something.  And I write it in a way that won’t embarrass me when I read it six months from now.


Brain Goes Boom – Monday October 24th, 2017

Pabst Riverside Theater, Milwaukee Wisconsin

Alt J (with special guest  NoMBe)

I stood in front of my seat in the Pabst and couldn’t believe how much fun I was having.  The tickets were general admission, but that included the option to sit in the theater instead of standing in front of the stage.  I hesitated at first- what about the energy of the crowd, the collective joy, the slick sweat of the molly’ed out frat dudes who always wedge themselves in front of me? Then I chose a seat.  A glorious aisle seat, a protective little piece of real estate, a red velvet force field.

The theater is intimate and easy- even 2/3rds of the way back it was the best view of a band on stage I’ve had since the 8th grade, when my height was still average.  The beer lines were short and accessible, the bathrooms were not disgusting.

When the first notes of 3WW creeped out and the lights came up, we all stood in our seats and gasped.  All of us.  Every one of us.

It occurred to me that I didn’t have a concert enemy.  You know that horrible person who ruins a show for you no matter how carefully you avoid them: The Talker.  The Wasted Chick Who Swings Her Hair In Your Beer.  The Guy Who Pushes His Crotch Against You. The Space Stealer. The Falafel Burps Guy. I could see those people, standing in front of the stage, but from the safety of my seat I just enjoyed their enthusiasm.  I drank my cold beer without being jostled, I sang loudly and bobbed along happily.

All it took for me to have a creative epiphany was two years of melancholia, a road trip to Milwaukee, my (current) favorite band, and access to euphoric and mildly hallucinogenic state.  Everything suddenly fit together.  Like, this must be what it’s like to have religious faith – I could see purpose in my struggles and disappointments. All the fears and insecurities and dullness and ache fell away as I stood there. It was just me and my brain, loving each other again.

I’m back.  I’m writing again.


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