Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Bottle Rockets and Space Shuttles

The New Age Of Fear, Apathy, and Complacency Has Killed True Ambition..Except Mine

KC Shoen

ShoEnTeL Music

‘Aim High’ has long been the Air Force recruiting mantra of the ages. The obvious implication being to dream big; go beyond assumed levity and expectation. Reach for the seemingly unattainable and achieve the lofty and daring which for most may appear impossible.

The concept also has great acceptance and admiration in the American lexicon. The crevasse between its sloganeering and actual application is, to say the least, incredibly vast.

Almost beyond being cognizant of one another.

George Carlin once said about the purchasing of motivational books, “ if you were already motivated to go and purchase the book in the first place, then your motivated. What do you need the book for?” I began thinking about the complexity of that seeming rudimentary observation while at a previous gathering. Talking with a friend of mine who recently acquired his necessary qualifications as a paramedic, it suddenly began to dawn on me how little Americans at current devalue true risk taking in the face of more ‘traditional’ career aspirations.

This friend worked like a goddamn dog to achieve this goal, and he was met with a large round of indifference by members of his family, some I overheard complaining about all the ‘wasted time’ he spent studying in various schools to acquire the degrees necessary to be an EMT. The most common complaint was that there was so much money he ‘lost’ in his schooling. It didn’t matter that the end-result is his finally achieving his goal, and is now working in his given field of choice, and that the money and time invested will now pay off thrice fold. He is living his dream.

Americans at current devalue
e risk taking in the
face of more ‘traditional’ career aspirations

It still didn’t matter.

No, he should’ve been more willing to just get out there and work some mid-level corporate bullshit job, overpaid for an expensive car, then bought a house to prove his immediate worth while still under thirty. Never mind the incredible unhappiness and sense of self-loathing it would have caused, affecting every personal relationship with those close to him. Just get the material necessary right away to prove your worth. It’s the American Dream.

Fuck being the Space Shuttle. Be the Bottle Rocket.

The economy being so incredibly fragmented and irreconcilably damaged has prompted more fear, and more leniency to this type of linear aspiration. ‘Just get a job that pays well, shut up, and stay there’. In the last eight years that I have been perusing music on a serious level, I have found a much more vehement willingness to hold on to such rancor in light of the jobless rate edging higher. There are times I’ve had to go back to a regular job to get money up and support my craft that I have dealt with employers who bristle at me when they discover I actually have ambitions beyond than what they are offering me within their company. I have even been cornered with “who the fuck do you think YOU are?” on many occasions. I attribute this defensive loathing to me being a musician and a label owner simultaneously. How dare I think I am competitive enough in the current abyss that is the industry to have confidence enough to strive for greatness and success!

How appalling to have ambition that breaks with the rank-and-file of American corporate sheepishness! The gall to sacrifice and skip on the finer material trappings for something more meaningful, and potential greater reward!

How dare I portend to be a Space Shuttle in a sea of mediocre compliance, fear, and culpability in the vox populi of Bottle Rocketry!

There are times I’ve had to go back to a regular job to get money up and support my craft that I have dealt with employers who bristle at me when they discover I actually have ambitions beyond than what they are offering me within their company

I don’t have much, really. What I do own is semi-functional to completely dependable. I do skip on eating out, turning instead to try to grab a special once-in-a-while moment with my lovely wife whenever there’s a little extra. My studio is about the only area in the home that is ‘new’, and this was (and is) obtained, to this day, through discounts and hook-ups through one of the many places I’ve worked at in the past. I have to mind my money, like everyone else, but it has forced me to become creative, and take more risks with my art.

Imagine that. Broke as hell, yet taking expanded risks..what a novel concept!

I decided in 2000 this is absolutely what I wanted to do, and only in the last few years has my vision for myself as an artist and a label started to come more into focus, and gain some fanfare. The dream is coming into realization. And this is the time to step on the gas. Work harder and smarter. Try to gain more traction. Try to get YOU to be a fan of me.

Because I am that damn good, and you would love what I have. And I believe that.

So should you.

Of your OWN aspirations.

Don’t settle for what it is in front of you, if your soul craves more. If you do, it is a slow and painful suicide of mundane and esoteric proportions. Fear creates hesitation, and hesitation is the gateway to failure. You can’t act if you can’t think clearly and without doubt.

You will be the bottle rocket. Small, short spurts of mediocre and meaningless achievement followed by an insidious ‘pop’ as the ceiling stunts your rise; coming to crash quickly on the asphalt.

Be the Space Shuttle. Go for the long distance; the incredible flight. See and do what others will hate for, as they can’t even aspire to such potential greatness, let alone take the risk to make that journey in the first place.

..and can you explode in mid-air? Yes. But you control that dynamic. Your decisions will determine whether you will remain buoyant, or if you will crash and burn. You own it; so do the maintenance to keep the machine flying.

I believe that.

Or else I wouldn’t bother with the passion I have for my art in the first place.

So, to hell with the bottle rockets. I gotta go fly...

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