Tomorrow I go in to interview for unemployment. I've also started getting food stamps. The system is helping me. What a fucked up idea. Over the past few weeks, I've had to deal with a certain amount of judgment from certain friends and acquaintances about whether or not taking money from the government is unethical or shady or lazy or whatever. My reaction is to defend my position, but in the course of doing so, I'm usually just making shit up - really good shit, though, and frequently I am able to offer a perspective that makes it palatable or even appealing to them, but it's pretty bogus, because I don't have any qualms or moral hangups about the whole business. I've got a thousand and one reasons to justify my actions, but none of them are really part of my inner dialogue. There have been a few passages that I have read by Buckminster Fuller and Henry Miller where they talk about encountering similar obstacles, so I'm not really surprised, but... whatever. So far so good. When my money ran out, more was made available and I am not going to ignore the perfect timing. There is such a deep assumption in our country that you have to "work hard" to validate your existence and I think it's just bullshit, because it is often the case that "working hard" translates into working to make someone else money and getting a tiny droplet of the trickle down. For me, "working hard" has been shipping incense and barely legal drugs for an internet site, scooping prepared deli salads into plastic containers, bussing tables, making pizzas, etc. This is what I'm supposed to do? Not work on the art and music that has meaning and purpose? Come on! Of course, I bust my ass staying up all night working on mixes, and compositions, improvising with a wide variety of friends on different instruments and in different styles, and trying not to lose my mind, but to be "working hard" I also need to stand behind a counter at Walgreens? Fuck that, world! I'm not going to do that until it is my last option!
Right now, my net is cast wide - a gospel project, a wind ensemble, making an acoustic rap trio record, discovering new ways to dj and mix music, and transcribing soul and christmas tunes. Keys, drums, bass clarinet, voice, and computers. All full steam. Also, I have noticed that the artists I collaborate with here are incredibly self motivated and for the first time, I feel like I don't have to drag everyone around with me to get stuff done. My availability is often surpassed by opportunities and that's without having a day job!