I am no longer in a band. This news is overdue, I imagine... a rational person would have recognized sooner that a recreational activity that serves only to make me miserable is best dropped as quickly as possible. But rational I am not; passive and non-confrontational I am very. Besides, I wanted the experience of at least having played a few shows. Trading a year of pain for the bragging rights to, "I was in a band. We practiced a lot. Never played anywhere." would have made the whole thing ridiculously pointless.
I gained experience. And I saw a significant improvement in my playing skills, owing to never having played with a drummer before. But it was a year of practicing, week after week, nonsensical musically-vapid "songs", churned out by a megalomanic illiterate singer/songwriter/guitarist who I could not respect in any of his three capacities. A year of not being able to write my own songs or otherwise creatively contribute outside of my instrument due to the complete lack of musical communication. A year of stifling my constant resentment and frustration. And five public performances of presenting something I was not proud of.
That was the kicker. I held out for a year so I could see how it felt to be on stage with a rock band. It felt miserable. It felt miserable because I was on stage to display something that I didn't believe in.
I am what I create. And I've created things I'm very proud of. Of course I love it when people express appreciation or admiration for these things, but even in the absence of an external response... I can look at these things, and I can know they are good, and they can make me feel good. But I cannot feel good about something that I am not proud of. It doesn't matter what anybody says about it. In fact, if it is something that I know in my heart is bad, the more praise I receive, the sicker it makes me feel.
So... I'm no longer in a band. Perhaps I will be in another one someday. I'm hoping that this experience was the exception, not the rule.
Now, about the project I'm looking at right now. Super Secret Mystery Project X. Currently just an idea, a fetus of a project. Before moving to the larval stage, I needed to answer the big three questions:
- Is it personally interesting and worthwhile? Yes. The technology and research involved is stuff that I'm actually quite interested in. And the purpose of the project is to help people who need help, so it is worthwhile.
- Is is technologically feasible? Yes, it appears so, but just barely. There would be some very cutting-edge stuff, and significant innovation would be required, but I think I'm up to that challenge.
- Is is commercially viable? Ah, there's the rub. It turns out that the group of people that we are trying to help is, relatively, rather small... and as a rule, they don't tend to have much money. Problem.
So, that's disappointing. Most likely, this project idea will get pushed off until I return to grad school, and I'll have to think of something else to occupy the next couple years. I'm thinking. The sad truth is that if any of the three is to be sacrificed, it'll be Prerequisite #1. Hopefully not, but if so... well, I'm still young. There'll be plenty of time to Do The Good Thing.
Unless, of course, I get married and have to support a family. That might curtail any reckless experimentation. However, a recent Google search for the phrase "i want a man who can do fourier transforms in his head" divulged no matches whatsoever, so I'm not getting my hopes up.