Monday, December 6, 2010

Who'd 'a thunk???

Albert Einstein once said, “If at first, the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.” Sounds nice on paper, right? I mean, in theory, it's true. What's the use of rehashing the same old same old? Sure people do it, but it isn't what goes down in history. It's only the really insane stuff -- the Earth revolves around the sun, E=MC squared, "Nah nah nah nah, hey Jude" -- that stands the test of time. Once the universe gives its seal of approval -- a place in the science textbooks, the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame, whatever -- it seems obvious that the thing was a work of genius. But until then, it was nothing but a silly idea; probably a silly idea that somebody grappled endlessly over following through with, because who in the world would ever be into THAT???

Thus was the case with Ballads to the Buffy Big Bads. It was the crazy little brainchild that wreaked havoc in my head, and no matter how odd and out of place it seemed; no matter how many bewildered responses it elicited; no matter how badly I wanted to get rid of it, I couldn't. It was untamable. It had a mind of its own. Eventually, I realized that the only way to make peace with it was to bend to its will. Seriously, it was like chasing a misbehaved five-year-old. The harder I tried to punish it, the faster it ran. When I let go of the idea of punishment, it slowed to a reasonable pace. And when I finally sat down with it face to face, it was so darn lovable, I couldn't bring myself to put it in a corner for a timeout.

Every step of the way, I have doubted this project. With each new song, I am consumed by self-judgment. This is so insanely ridiculous! I think to myself. Yes, it is. Of course it is. That's the reason you are doing the project in the first place. It's the reason people like it. And it's the reason you must continue doing it -- because NO ONE ELSE IN THE UNIVERSE CAN! This past song was no exception. I struggled with the music and lyrics a lot. No matter how happy I am with the outcome, part of me can't help but cringe, laugh nervously, or feel randomly awkward when I think about these songs. But I keep going with them, and I'm always glad I do.

This weekend, I feel particularly victorious. We shot "If I Were a Robot" on Friday evening. I posted it Saturday morning. By Saturday evening, it had about 24 hits. Sunday morning, it had 200 more, PLUS a plug and a tweet by By the time Sunday evening rolled around, there were over 500 hits. Right now, Monday morning, there are 726. I have no idea who all of the viewers are. They could be anybody, from Joe Computer Geek to Joss Whedon himself. And I know if you're a celebrity or some kind of public figure, you're probably used to people talking about you in the third person, but for me at this moment, it's totally trippy to go on a widely known website and see:
Karuna Tanahashi who gave us such great songs as "Ooh, Mr Mayor" and "You Renegade Vamp" now presents Ballads to the Buffy Big Bads #4 "If I Were A Robot" about the nastiest of nerdboys.

I made this stuff up in my bedroom, and there it is, being talked about by all those people! I guess Einstein really was onto something. He probably fiddled around in his bedroom with a million ideas, including that awesome absurdity quote. We all do, hopefully. Concepts of great genius float around like dust particles, and we just need to keep our eyes open and our fingers ready to see them and catch them as they pass us by. Also, we need to be confident enough in ourselves to know that it is worth our time to seize them and doubly worth our time to give them away. I was in an amazing workshop today with the illustrious Barbara Deutsch, who said, "It's criminal not to let the world have your gifts." As artists, we always wonder whether we are being overly indulgent by putting our work on display. But if it's done from a place of truth, it's actually the opposite; sharing your creativity is an act of selflessness.

So now that I've shared mine, I invite you to share yours. Tell me about a time when you followed through with something seemingly absurd. How was that experience for you? Were you glad you did it? What did you learn? Or if you'd rather just show me (and the rest of the world), that totally works too.

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