I Fight Dragons

Sacrificing Convention

We've signed with Photo Finish/ Atlantic Records. We going on a HUGE tour. It's been bubbling for a while now and now the metaphorical tea kettle of my life is whistling like crazy in the other room and to be honest, I'm avoiding it. What happens when you're at the brink of everything changing? How do you prepare for it? Can you? 

No. 

Duh, Laura. No. 

For a while I thought I could continue to have a conventional life: living with my fiance in my own apartment with my bunny rabbits, piano and books. 

The reality is that I'm in a rock band, and a rock band (especially I Fight Dragons because we're all overachieving freaks) is a business. To make your business work, you have to do everything you can to keep its momentum and growth. It's like a little thing...a plant, a child, whatever, that you have to nourish. In the rock band that means touring, practicing, creating music, and a million other things that honestly, you probably don't care about and I don't want to list because even though you think you want to know, once you start you're going to stop caring really fast, much like this sentence.  Well, that was fun. 

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that when you have a goal, or call it a dream if you want to get sappy, there are sacrifices. I remember when I heard that Jewel was living out of her car, I squirmed and judged her. Eew. Who could live out of their car? There must be better ways, I thought. Ingrid Michaelson lived with her parents even after her song was a hit. Even after signing a record deal, I'm serving Guinness and Shepherds Pie to mostly businessmen and tourists who have no idea, nor do they care, what I do outside of wearing black clothes and a name tag. 

I'm learning it, meaning the sacrifice, doesn't stop there. Jeff, my fiance, and I have both committed ourselves to careers in artistic fields and are both traveling more than we thought we would. JESUS WE AREN'T BREAKING UP STOP BEING SO NEGATIVE!! Haha. Jeff is traveling to New York for the month of March and again to the east coast for three weeks in May. I'll be gone for a week and a half at the end of March and then again for the Too Fast for Love tour from the end of April through mid June. We realize that we shouldn't have an apartment if we aren't living there. I've also realized that I can't have pets if I'm not home. It doesn't matter how much I love them, it's irresponsible for me to keep pets. They deserve a home with people that are not only present and attentive, but love them as much as I do.  

What I've learned in the pass week as I was crunching numbers and trying to budget for being on tour (has anyone ever told you there really isn't a lot of money in being an artist? Seriously, not a lot of money in art. You see, that's where they get the whole "starving artist" cliche) is that if you want to have an unconventional career you cannot have a conventional live. I cannot have a conventional life. The responsible thing is to live with your parents, or out of your car. No joke. I'll give you a list. 

THINGS THAT ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR ME TO DO:
1. To sublet my apartment so Jeff and I won't worry about rent. 
2. To give my really adorable bunny rabbits to someone who will take better care of them than I could.   
3. Have a job that gives me flexibility to leave for 2 months at a time and (hopefully) won't fire me.
4. Being a minimalist. Do I need the massive library? Nope. Do I need all those clothes? Nope. Do I need to keep all those old scripts from shows I did 14 years ago? *sigh* Nope. 
5. Doing everything I can to keep the relationships in my life. Absence doesn't always make the heart grow fonder. People get really mad really fast when you don't keep in touch, especially when you're off being some sort of rock star.. Above anything else, this is the most important responsible thing I can do. 

This is my reality, at least for now. I say all of this not to have a pity party for myself or the rest of the band. I say this because if you want something...if there is something you want to be, or something you want to say...if you really want it, there are sacrifices. AND THEY SUCK!! And it hurts. 

BUT what I see very clearly is more about what is ahead of me, instead of what I'm giving up. That's kind of a lie since I'm really really sad about my bunnies. Still, I'm more aware of the potential in what I'm working towards. Not only am I one step closer to world domination (kidding,) I'm doing something I love. More importantly, I'm doing something that I feel has potential to do a lot of good. The songs Brian writes are incredibly relevant to what so many people are going through. It's comforting to know that someone gets it. "All this working, it's not working" is so spot on, not only in my life, but for most of my peers as well. 

The sacrifices are SO worth it. So worth it. 

Well, I'm going to wrap this up. I'm sorry to be so serious all the time, but we write for Chicago Now because they wanted to hear what it's like to be in a Chicago band on the rise. Well homies, this is what it's like. I think it's also important for you guys to know that we are just people. Real people. 

Well, I gotta peace. 
Laura
  

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5 Comments

Dani said:

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You could ask your parents (or someone else) too keep some of your stuff in their house... your books, old scripts... Same for your bunnies. It's sad that you can't be with them, but if they are at your parent's or other close friend, you can always visit them when you're back in Chicago. I'm sure someone you know will be happy to take care of them for you.

The other stuff are trickier, but I think I speak for all IFD's fans when I say that we wish you guys luck, and we hope you can figure everything out and that the sacrifices don't feel SO bad.

*hugs*

Will Sexy said:

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Well said as usual, Laura. Keep on keepin' on!

Larry said:

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Great letter, thanks for the insight into your life, sincerity and honesty!

One tip for you: these days being a minimalist with your information doesn't mean you have to actually be a physical minimalist. You can put things like your previous works (those on paper, at least), your books, and your records into the cloud. You can upload any file to Google Docs these days, even scanned PDF images of 14 year old show notes. You can replace parts of your library with a Kindle, Project Gutenberg, and Google Books. At least your possessions that boil down to various formats of accumulated data you can keep close at hand, even if their physical forms are lost.

Laura Grene said:

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larry, that is a really great idea about scanning all the old scripts. It will still have all of my notes and stuff. Rock.

Alison Romer said:

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I LOVE this! Love it! It is worth the sacrifice! Life is short, but it's longer than you think . . . there are bunnies and apartments in your future. Live it up, girl!

Only one thing . . . don't trash the old scripts :)

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