I had a visit from my first guests for the album event. My old pal David and his friends Steve and Jane showed up at my door this afternoon with a bottle of wine, ready to sing. Unfortunately, the rehearsal is Sunday, not Saturday. AND it's NEXT Sunday, not this Sunday! We had a good laugh, and we drank the wine. I was really happy to see how excited some people are about this. I hope you are too!
It's strange! Some people I never expected to hear from are so excited! Some people I thought would be jumping up and down about this haven't said a thing. That's show biz. I hope you're coming.
Dear friends, In the spirit of true musical mayhem, I have decided to write and record an album in the space of one month. I’d like your help. On Sunday, February 21, at about 3 PM, I’ll begin teaching the songs I’ve been writing since the beginning of the month to whoever comes over. The songs are easy to sing and easy to learn, and fun as all-get-out. If nobody comes, I’ll practice them myself. The next week , at about 3 PM, I’ll make my album. Anyone that shows up gets to be on it. We’ll run through the whole thing, record what we get, and call it a day. I want you to come! The whole point of this is for it to be fun, and to cost nothing. I have no expectations, I’m making no promises. Whatever we get, we get. The album will be whatever happens that day. If you can play an instrument, bring it. Can you sing? Be my backup singer. Like to bang on things? More power to you. Want to record it? Bring your equipment. Want to bring your kids? I don’t care. Let ‘em run around while we sing. It’ll be fun! Bring food, bring drink, bring your video camera. In the end, we’re just going to have a good time. No promises, no expectations. This is just about fun. FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: 1) I have no musical talent. Should I come? Sure ya should. Want to try to sing? Go for it. Want to listen and clap? I’d love that. 2) Why are you doing this? It’s that time of my life. Time to open up and let the fear go. Time to stop taking myself so seriously. Time to bring other people into my world to share what they have. This album is the open door. It’s an unrepeatable event. I will never do this again. 3) I can’t make the rehearsal. Can I still come the next week? Sure you can! No expectations, no promises. 4) What are you going to do if nobody comes? I’m going to sit down at 3 PM, turn on a recorder, then play all the songs on the piano by myself. Then I’ll have a drink or something! 5) Are you really going to do this? Yep. Why not join me? It’ll be fun! 6) How do I get to your house? If you don’t know where I live, shoot me an e-mail through my web-site and I’ll give you directions. 7) Can I tell my friends? Yes!
Dear friends, Okay. Notice that I haven't blogged lately? I think the secret to a successful blog is that you write something every day. I don't know if I can manage that. I'm five days away from taking my comprehensive exam for my master's degree in music education. I'm taking a class at night. I'm working full time. I also have these things in my life called kids. So should I bother? Maybe the blog isn't the way to go. Well, you'll also notice that I haven't done what I said I was going to do in the last blog. I noticed. That's why I'm doing this. I now have a slightly stronger voice in the back of my head saying, "Hey. You said you were going to..." So the blog stays, at least for now. And I want to do better.
One of my friends sent me an e-mail about my blog. She suggested that some of the great creators were compelled to create, even biologically, that they couldn't NOT create, that they created freely and without thought to more mundane considerations, and that if I took that attitude towards my work it would undoubtedly open me up to a greater source. First of all, I am biologically unable not to write or compose. I couldn't stop if I wanted to. There's no way I would have written all the garbage I did if there were any logical reason behind it. I spent 17 years writing Myth of Magic. I've taken 18 years to write my woodwind quintet. Other books have taken anywhere from 3 to 8 years. This isn't because I have some noble streak. It's because I simply can't stop until the thing is done. It continues to rattle in my brain like an itch. So I don't need to create like this, because I already do. Okay. So here's my dilemma. Stuff comes out, and I have to write it down. Then I don't know what to do with it. I could self-publish my stuff, but that's very expensive and time-consuming and I may not see any return of that money. I could seek a traditional publisher, but that's like trying to get a helicopter pilot's attention from Times Square on New Year's Eve. I could put it on the web. Costs me nothing, costs the audience nothing, but then I have no notion at all of who is valuing the work. Did ANYONE read it? Did they like it? I can't just create and leave it at that. I'm not just automatic-writing or therapeutically cleansing myself. I'm trying to share, to communicate. I need some kind of return response, either money or words, to connect me to others who understand what I'm saying or to let me know I've missed. So for the time being, I'm prioritizing getting a response from the industry. I suspect I haven't really been motivated sufficiently before. The Blog is my way of committing myself to that. Love Adam
I think I'd better clarify. When I read the first blog I wrote again, I couldn't believe how depressed I sounded. I received several supportive e-mails afterwards, and one important person in my life informed me that they couldn't even deal with what I'd written and had to stop (I quite understand.) The blog isn't a cry for help...not that kind of help. I have been published before...a number of times! I'm not a failure. I simply fail a lot. My score is roughly this: ADAM: 3 published stories, 6 or so published articles, and a few self-published items. OBSCURITY: Over 100 rejection letters in my file. Depending on who you are you'll either think that's a lot of rejections or not very many. I'm in the latter category. I don't think I've submitted nearly enough. I think I need 1000 rejection letters, at least. Most rejections were not because I "suck." Most of them were because I didn't send what they needed when they needed it. Within that equation, part is my ability to write what sells, part is my ability to know who I'm selling to, and part is dumb luck. Publishing means getting better at at least two of those three things. And the only way to get better is to keep submitting and know that "no" is mostly what I'll hear. I know that the best baseball players miss 2 out of every 3 swings. I'm down with that. But it's still really hard to get those letters. Each one is like someone forgetting your birthday. So I started this blog, because the only way I can keep myself submitting is to make public what I'm doing and what I'm not. That way, if I'm not doing anything, I won't be able to hide it! So now for the Ugly..err...the truth: I didn't place in the Creative Loafing Fiction Contest (sob). I wasn't able to interest my friend the Agent in reading the latest draft of my science fiction novel, A Thousand Points of Darkness (been working on it 8 years). And worst of all, Playwrights Horizons sent me a polite rejection for my play because they don't do adaptations. My play is an adaptation. I should've read the submission guidelines more carefully. (See what I mean?) So on to the next swing: I have to get some of these childrens' book manuscripts out there. I want to see if there's a competeition I can enter my play into. And since it's looking like the other agent who is reading (or not) my mystery novel isn't going to ask for more, I'll have to find another place to try it. Keep me honest! Love, Adam
Dear Adam Cole Watchers, Now that I've "committed" to this blog, I'm finding it harder than I thought to write in. Not that I don't have ideas...it's just nerve-wracking to write them down. I read in Julia Cameron's "Artist's Way"...no, wait...maybe it was Derek Sivers' Blog...that you shouldn't tell people what you're going to do, because it short-circuits the process and gives you a feeling of accomplishment that may prevent you from actually DOING it. So I have to limit myself to telling you what I've already done...okay...tonight I fixes some music files that are going to go in some music related kid books. What are they? Well, I have to submit them first, then I'll tell you all about them. That means I have to finish the files, find some publishers... Argh. See you next time. Love, Adam
Here's the deal. When I die, I don't want to be remembered as the incredible person that nobody ever heard of. I don't want people to find my stories and my books and my songs and say, "Wow, some of these are really good. How come I never heard of him?" I don't know whether my books and stories and plays and songs are any good. What's worse, I don't know if they're worth anything to anyone. When I teach, I can see that I'm making a difference. The kids learn, they like the class, they get excited and perform well. But when I write, I have no idea. I think it's great and everyone hates it. I work on it a lot more until I hate it. Then I either put it away or I send it out and spend months waiting to be ignored. There's no other way, though, is there? This is the process I've ignored for too long. I can't really get away with storing any more nuts for the winter. I have to start submitting. A lot. And not wait to hear back from anyone. So I have this blog. And in this blog I'm going to tell you (whoever you are) what I'm doing, what I hope to do, who told me I suck, who told me they like my stuff. I'm going to share that with you because it's the only way I can keep going now. I can't do this alone anymore. Today I printed out my play and put it in an envelope to send to Playwrights Horizons. They take unsolicited plays, and mine isn't doing anyone any good sitting here. So that's something. If I'm lucky, I'll get some kind of response in 6 months. I also sent a story to Exquisite Corpse, and the first 50 pages of my murder-mystery novel are on an agent's desk somewhere. So usually I sit around and wait for someone to answer me, and then the rejection comes, and I feel like I want to die. But this time I can't wait around anymore. I've got to do what I always said I'd do. I've got to fail bigger. Keep submitting until I drop dead. Submit smarter and then move on. None of this waiting around, looking in the mailbox. You can help me with that. Love, Adam
Hello, Adam Cole watchers. It seems hostbaby.com was cool enough to give me a blog option at precisely the moment I wanted to begin a blog. If you're an Adam Cole watcher and you're not subscribed to my mail-list, please subscribe! That way I can send you special notices. In the meantime, keep checking this space for the new developments in Adamcoleland. Your friend, Adam

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