Ladies in Guitar Stores

littleguitarToday I strolled about a Guitar Center and as I walked in an older musician like gent said to me, “Can I help you with something?”

I replied, “I’m just going to stroll around.”

He smiled at me at said, “Why don’t you go find something in there, buy it, go home and start making some music.”

I smiled back and said, “Yea sure.”

You see, I do play an instrument. The one I am most comfortable with is the guitar, I used to play the flute, and I sometimes dabble on my Peruvian cajón. But this man doesn’t know that. All he knows, is that a disheveled Peruvian lady just walked into his store and looked eternally lost. And I was feeling eternally lost, Blog Land. Mostly because I had an hour to kill before picking up my boyfriend from work, and I had just spent $50 on magazines at a corporate bookstore. I was feeling guilty and also curious. Walking into a Guitar Center might have been a moment of weakness for me; a place where I can tickle the strings of a guitar and get lost in memory of back when I wanted to be a rockstar in 2004. Well actually, I wanted to be the first Peruvian folk star, but that’s a long time ago and I can’t get into that right now.

Anyways, I enter the store and find myself surrounded by the most amazing view. A father and daughter sitting side by side and playing an electric guitar together. On the television monitor in the center of the store, a young tween girl with a nose ring sings into a mic and she looks like she’s loving it. In the back of the store a woman employee — the first woman employee I have ever seen in real life at a Guitar Center. And maybe seeing the daughter and father made me more aware of who was working there, and maybe seeing a young girl artist portrayed positively in the store also made me aware of it, but seeing that beautiful brown lady in the back with bright pink hair cut like Jack O — well reader, it just brought a smile to my face.

Why? You might ask. I’m sure some of you come from places where this is not news. Where seeing a confident woman musician is as common as apple pie. But for me, reader, it was like witnessing a unicorn.

Maybe this is because when I entered a music store in 2003 to buy my first guitar, I was approached with raised and crooked eyebrows, and followed up with questions like — Is this for your father’s day? Did you want a gift receipt?  etc. etc. etc. I did not see a lot of women represented on the sales floor. And I definitely wasn’t made to feel like I was “one of the guys” — so yeah…seeing these three women representations today on the Guitar Center floor made me ecstatic.

From the little girl with her dad, who had since my arrival moved to the keyboard section. To the sales lady who was pushing on her cashier box and answering a customers questions. To the representation of the young girl in the television who was on song number three on her concert set list. Me? Overjoyed.

Go girls! Go womyn!

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Midnight Post 3 aka food for thought

You know that part in the book The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, written by the ever-fabulous Dr. Seuss, when the Grinch’s heart grew three sizes? Well, it has happened. I have matured by three tiny levels tonight in a way I have never before. Okay, the truth is I’ve been on this “growing-up” kick for a while now, but tonight I feel like all the things I have been challenging through have been paying off. I would like to share some of these discoveries with you. Just know, that this is all based on my personal experiences. Everybody is different. But if it can help a few fellow artists out there, then good! So here’s the deal writers and artists alike:

1. Take your art seriously because if you don’t, nobody else will.

2. Be responsible. If you know events are coming up in just a few weeks – don’t be wimpy and do things the last minute. Prepare, prepare, prepare! Better to be over prepared then have things falling apart during your events. In fact, in the film industry (when I used to work in it) we had this saying, “Have a back-up for your back-up.” It’s no joke.

3. Don’t be a flake. Do not expect people to come to your music concerts, fundraisers, food events, screenings, readings when you do not invest into that person/community. Give more–take less, in the end it’s most rewarding. You develop as an artist, plus, the more things you go to — the more you get to network!   Get out of your comfort zone already.

4. Write your mom. It’s good karma. If you don’t have a mom, write someone dear to your heart who has seen you grow up and develop.

5. NEVER–and I mean NEVER FORGET TO SAY THANK YOU. To those who have helped you, supported you, stood by you, loved you while you were on your path to self-discovery as an artist. These are the people worth keeping around.

6. I’ve learned that the people I feel the most awkward/uncomfortable/defensive with — are the people I usually have the most in common with. Do not ignore yourself. Great work can come out of these awkward encounters sometimes.

7. It’s okay to have your downs, just as long as you appreciate them as much as your highs. I get very creative during my lows, so use that depressing time wisely peeps.

8. Remember that what you create, whether it is a piece of writing, a canvas full of paint, or a song — you are impacting some type of energy around you. This energy can be a single person. It can be a community. It can be the self. Be bold and brave, but know that there are always consequences to your creations.

In my short life, I have found that everything is balanced. Therefore, after something really bad happens — I look forward to something really good happening. And when something really good happens, I TRY to make peace with the likelihood of something bad happening. Because good and bad are irrelevant. It’s all about how you take it into your being and your creations as a writer/artist/performer/ etc. etc. etc.

Just know that the bad is just like the good: fairies, fantasies, and farts. Everything is ephemeral.

Long live Art.