This is Putting My Shit Together-week. Well, I suppose it’s really been my Putting My Shit Together-years — these last few years of my life… I started writing this blog when I was just in the beginning of my journey of independence and self-realization. A trek that I am sure will last a lifetime in certain ways. But having your shit together seems to me like a somewhat finite business. There are only so many possible loose ends, eh? There are only so many contracts; only so many organizations to belong to as an artist; only so many affiliations. Surely this uncovering of my past and present business-stuff will come to an end at some point? I think it will, and I think it’s about to.
The first 16 years of my career all of the business parts were handled by people other than me. I had no idea what any of my contract-terms were (and I did have many contracts), what all organizations I belonged to as an artist and what those organizations actually did. I had a blind trust towards the people running my career, as all paperwork might as well have been gibberish where I was concerned. Other people registered the copyrights and publishing of my music, my songwriting and my performances, and I had to trust that they did the work correctly. And I did trust. As it turned out later on, they often registered them incorrectly, and I’m still discovering more of this stuff. I’ve been doing a lot of correcting work for the last few years, to make sure I receive the royalties that belong to me, but I believe I’m almost done. I keep Robert J. Hanlon’s adage in mind as I go through this process: “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”
There’s only so much you can do in any one week. There’s only so much you can do to change yourself in a year. It doesn’t happen just like that is what I’ve found. Things will move at the pace that they are wont to move in. I have not been able to rush my growth and miraculously have my shit together all of a sudden. It’s required a lot of work, a lot of healing, a lot of sobering up. In the end it feels like there is one week where you put it all together, but it’s not what’s happened here. I am reaping the benefits of showing up daily for myself. In clearing the clutter from my mind and from my life–lo and behold–the paperwork is no longer gibberish to me. I can understand my contracts just fine now, and I know what time it is, motherfucker.
I registered my music on ASCAP, (a society of composers, authors and publishers that I belong to) for the very first time this week. It felt amazing to fill in the paperwork and after each song mark “100%”, signifying the percentage of the composition I had written. It is startling how much more solid I feel as a human being…sitting in this chair…at this cafe…now that I know that my life and my career are in my hands. It is impossible for me to convey the amount of fog that has been lifted, and that I have lifted. I am present. I am here. Right now. And I have my shit together. Almost.