verb: to feel or express worry, discontent
noun: A sequence of bars or ridges on the fingerboard of some stringed musical instruments (such as guitar), used for fixing the positions of the fingers to produce the desired notes
I have this memory of being a young girl playing alone in my bedroom. But I wasn’t playing with dolls, I was playing pretend, and not that I was a ballerina, but that I was locked in my room and pounding on the door desperately trying to escape. I sat by the door with tears in my eyes, though I could get up and walk out any time I wanted. There was no lock on my door as a child, so I drew one in with magic marker. The imaginary lock remained there until puberty when I upgraded to an actual locked door. I remembered this childhood game only recently as I’ve been contemplating my reasons for being an artist. Whenever I feel my efforts are in vain I take a step back and really ask myself if I am on this journey because I am compelled to from within – or if it is a game for me, a goal I set in my mind that I’m too stubborn to let go of until I reach it. The question keeps coming up, why art, why make it? Does it really help anyone but myself?
The song I am releasing today is called, “Sweetie, Don’t,” and it was written a few years ago when I was experiencing some heart ache with my boyfriend. Being involved in the Spirit Science community where we are advocates of love and positivity, I had to contemplate whether or not this track would be received well. But I realized that for me to be happy, I have to live according to my values, and I value sadness and the beauty that comes from it, I’m a blues singer.
In the book, “The Family” by John Bradshaw, he explains shame as a “soul murderer.” He says experiencing guilt is like saying, “I did something bad,” whereas feeling shameful is like saying, “I am bad.” As we research spirituality and read about the law of attraction and philosophy that says ego creates emotions like fear, frusturation, jealousy, etc…it is easy for us to feel shameful when we encounter these feelings. And I’m sure the ego does create these “negative” emotions, but so much great work has come out of these feelings, and I can’t help but think some of us, if not all, are supposed to experience them. What would our art be like if we didn’t?
My sister, Rachel Roze, http://rachelroze.com/ , visited recently, she is an artist and took me to see the ”In Wonderland: The Surrealist Adventures of Women Artists in Mexico and the United States” exhibit at LACMA featuring the work of Frida Kahlo. There were many great works there, but it was clear that Frida Kahlo’s painting, “The Two Fridas” was most stunning and powerful. My sister and I felt Frida’s pain reverberating from the canvas. To stand in front of that painting was an experience I will cherish. I do not know anyone who has suffered like she had, and I felt grateful for her for her painting, so I may get only a sense of a fraction of the pain she felt. Do others feel the same way about art? Why do we need art?
The reason I ask myself time and time again whether or not my efforts are for ego or for enlightenment, is because I feel there are so many artists now – so much art – do we really need more? Recently I was interviewed for a documentary about music where I admitted that I have little knowledge about popular music. Contrary to what my acting teacher used to tell me, I don’t think it’s necessary to be “obsessed” with the creative field you’re in. I do wish to be more knowledgeable, but I want that to happen naturally. I rarely have music playing in the background – it penetrates my attention – and I don’t want to lessen my sensitivity to it. But there is so much music, so much art, so many poems and prose and film and comedy, and sometimes I feel overwhelmed. Is there really something that I can say that hasn’t been said before?
But that’s why it is important for us to be truly honest. Our perceptions are really the only things about us that are truly unique. Having said all this, I need to touch upon a concern of mine – that there is a terrible misconception among aspiring artists and the fetishism of misery. I admitted to doing it myself as a child so I feel alright about advising against it. We see movies about artists such as Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, Billie Holiday, Marilyn Monroe, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, all having similar themes like drug addiction, alcoholism, and relationship abuse. In some of our subconsciousness we may think that to be great artists we have to have these issues and actually make them ourselves. This is cause for dishonest art and delusional artists. We cannot live life without pain – but real pain comes when we strive to live content lives and life gets in the way. And when those true moments of sorrow and hopelessness, heartbreak and humiliation arise, it gives us opportunity to expand our emotional range, turn those feelings into art, morphing them into something positive and getting back what we initially wanted. That is the right to sing the blues. That is why we make art. So sing.
To download, “Sweetie, Don’t” by ShePatch, the original recording, and a special live recording, visit
Love and Gratitude,