APATHY AND THE CLOCKMAKER

Hello, good morning, and welcome to the Saturday Morning News Post!

Readers, belated Happy New Year to you all! Year of the SNAKE. Hell yeah! My year.

So everybody throw your hands in the air and shake’em like you just don’t care.

*Sigh*I just don’t care.

Anyone who knows me knows I don’t like to be a complain-y pants which is why I live by my childhood rule that “If you can’t think of anything nice to say, then shut your mouth you stupid, stupid boy.” So I took a deserved break from blogging, a step back from social media and returned to what I do best: incessant over-thinking to the point of apathy.

2012 was a busy year with a number of concrete goals (making albums, CD release concerts, big band charts, etc.) and I do well with these kinds of hard deadlines. It was a year of production, getting a few groups (the JD Trio, the Hummingbird Brigade, and soon (and I really mean it this time)… the electroacoustic project) up and running with recordings. It was a year of “opening doors” as I like to say. In other words, having a commercially released album to sell/share was the first step in getting more work. Door = opened.

And step 1 was fun! I love step 1, the conceptual work, the composing, the recording/producing. That’s my passion.

Step 2: hit the pavement and start booking some gigs. Effectively… selling the product.

Unfortunately, I strongly dislike step 2 and so this is where things came to a bit of a standstill. Partly because “sales” and the wonderfully humbling experience of being an artist don’t mix that well, and partly because it’s just a tough business. But mostly because I’m lazy and spoiled.

I don’t like doing it, so I put it off.

So gather ’round kids while I tell you the tale of, em… hmmm, of… a clockmaker. And let’s call him, I don’t knowJim Dandy.

Mr. Jim Dandy’s running his own business, working in his store to create beautiful clocks. He loves his work and his product continues to improve over time, but people don’t really know about his store because he doesn’t want to spend too much time advertising, bookkeeping, marketing, etc.. Although he knows it’s often not the best clockmakers who sell more clocks, he’s nevertheless playing the odds that if his clocks are one day good enough, people will come to him. And some do! … But not enough.

The odds, and time, are against him.

Well, eventually Jim won’t be able to afford to continue his work as he learns that a company doesn’t do so well without income. And now the clock-maker’s art is compromised. Instead of dealing with the business side of things while working on his craft, he largely ignored this responsibility and must now spend more time trying to generate income from other things.

“How about teaching?” his friends ask. “You love making clocks, so you’ll love teaching the craft to others! At least you’d still be involved with clocks!” they conclude. So Jim teaches, and discovers an appreciation for and, to some extent, an enjoyment of clock making education.

But something doesn’t seem right.

Education is all well and good, but teaching is teaching and clockmaking is, well… clockmaking is my passion, not education. A little is fun, but as my primary income? This simply won’t do!” says the clockmaker.

Furthermore, old man Dandy isn’t getting any younger and, with age, has a few more financial concerns to think about than simply survival. Modest transportation, his own place to live maybe, going to the theatre, perhaps an occasional night out drinking premium whiskey cocktails bottle of wine. All these things mean something different than they did 10 years ago, and one would presume they’ll mean something different again in another 10 years. More than any of these luxuries however, Dandy wants to make sure he’s never financially dependent on others, not even for his art.

So he pulls out the calculator and adds up what these things cost, versus what his income would be IF things were going well in the clock business.

“Oh dear! cried the clock maker. “These two amounts are simply nowhere NEAR eachother!”

And so he thought and thought and thought some more. Feeling slightly guilty about the fact that material desires were influencing his life at all, and slightly irresponsible for not dealing with these eventualities sooner.

“How can I make this work?” Exclaimed the clockmaker. “Do I need to learn a new skill and if so, what? Perhaps I might even enjoy learning something new! What else can I do while not quitting what I’m already doing? I’ve come so far, but I have so much farther to go. I can’t quit. Time is precious. What sacrifices am I willing to make, if any? And how is that all of these choices can seem both weak and brave at the same time?!”

Round and round the clockmakers thoughts whirl. Knowing that the worst decision is no decision, but man oh man… it’d be nice to make the right one.

Thanks for reading and have a great week everyone!

(Above partial painting “Clock Maker and Apprentice” by Andy Gard)

(*Special thanks to Phil Dwyer for the reminder that “Apathy is over-rated!“)

  • Guy MacPherson

    Hey, I think you’ve stumbled onto something. Ever think of getting into the clock-making business?!

  • Gorm

    My gentle fear of poverty kept me from strongly pursuing a music career long ago BUT, I wasn’t hopelessly talented, creative and good looking like you, so keep at my friend ’cause we need you. Keeping one eye on the clock though is probably good incentive for curing apathy.

  • jamesmatheson

    i have tried to make a clock maker make a wind up clock to charge usb devices so people have fans in extreme heat and everyone has refused, what is the answer