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Re-inventing Myself...


Ever have one of those weeks (or months) when absolutely nothing turns out right? It gets discouraging.

Didn’t get the city manager job in Wheeler—didn’t even get interviewed. Realistically, I may no longer be employable: I’ve been out of “the business” eight months now, don’t have the degree everybody’s requiring (and won’t have for at least a couple of years), and I don’t have a great track record, either. It may be time to just write off the last 15 years as a pretty good ride, and go do something else. Of course, I’m almost out of money—again. That’s not a good time to be talking about reinventing myself.

That the country appears to be sinking into another 1930s-style depression, with a national leadership (and a pending national leadership) that can most charitably be described as clueless, doesn’t help.

If this were one of those 1930s movies, me and Judy Garland would be announcing at this point (with cartoon light bulbs over our heads), “Let’s put on a show!” And we’d save the farm, generate tons of money from God knows where, and get discovered by some media mogul and limo off into the sunset.

Alas, ‘tis fantasy—a fantasy peculiar to the ‘30s, when a lot of people were pretty desperate and trying to find something to cling to. (And Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney were making pretty good money off their po’ boy schtick.) As it was, the average moviegoer probably walked back home, hunkered down again and hoped there were enough beans to feed the family one more week.

That does not mean, though, that there aren’t germs of an Action Plan in the Garland-Rooney fantasy. No, I couldn’t pull that off—not yet. I’m not well enough known. What I can concentrate on, while I’ve got time (and no money, remember) is becoming as well-known as I can. (Now, this doesn’t avoid the need to get a job. While the music “habit” can support itself (and has), it won’t support me or the family.)

Time for a “S.W.O.T.” analysis—an old planning tool used by the U.S. Forest Service back in the days when they actually did forest management. (The acronym stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.) The strengths and weaknesses I’ve re-hashed unmercifully. My biggest strength is that I can write stuff, no matter where and no matter what. In addition, I’m an okay performer, can do my own graphic-design stuff, can produce my own records if I have to, and can sing and play guitar good enough to get by. And I’ve got the glimmerings of a fan base—there are people who are actually asking for the next record.

Biggest weakness—besides being almost out of money--is I am very conservative and reluctant to take risks. That’s a big one, especially in hard times, and I’m going to have to practice overcoming it. The biggest threat, I think, is running out of money.

There may be a lot of opportunities. The Saturday thing at the Tillamook library is one; I promised a poster, and volunteered to lead it, and I can help with the advertising. There’s the pre-Christmas bazaars at the Old Mill (and that pays). There are other bazaars, too (Tillamook PUD thoughtfully provided a list). I’ve got the Museum to talk to, and I’ve e-mailed the folks who run the open mike in nearby Bay City to remind them they haven’t had one in a long time (and that I can help with promotion, and bake cookies—something else I’m good at). I haven’t paid a call on county economic development about their “Taste of Tillamook” fair, and need to do that. All those opportunities can be effectively pursued with no investment of money.

The lesson, I think (there are always lessons), is there are always opportunities. Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney had that part right. No, one is not going to save the farm and get discovered and become fabulously wealthy with one show. But if one can see the top of the next step, and climb to it, one has made definable progress toward saving the farm, &c. Enough progress? In troubled times, one probably can’t worry about that. One does the best one can.

Oh, and there was one piece of good news. Friday night’s audience did like “Vampire Roumanian Babies”--a whole lot. A keeper—and definitely one for Southern Pigfish’s album, too.


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Hey Joe,

No magic words here; just wanto say your game plans in this and other entries help me feel like I don't walk alone. And have someone further on up to show what

to do.

As re: supporting a family, I am learning to take this a day at a time.



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