Posts Tagged ‘self esteem’

My Own Space

June 24, 2014

Sunday June 22nd, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

I’m back from my bittersweet weekend in Sparta, WI and am ready to move forward. It’s fun to visit good friends, and Jim Wiggins and Bill Gorgo are as good as they get. Jim’s family treats Bill and I like we’re in the will, but on the down side doing difficult shows for tiny audiences is a self esteem sucker and a dignity drainer. At this time in my life I just don’t need to be doing this.

Jim and Bill get it. They’ve been doing comedy for decades just as I have, and they know how I feel. Bill has been a high school teacher for years now, and has already made his transition into being able to do comedy when he feels like it. It works for him. I’m not so sure it works for me.

Jim could see that I was less than thrilled with the shows this weekend, and he took me aside at least four or five times to strongly suggest that I find my own space and start promoting my own shows. He said it should be a place where I can live as well so all my energy can stay in one spot. He’s done it himself more than once, and said it can be an exciting experience plus creative bliss.

There’s a comedian named Chris Speyrer that did exactly what Jim speaks of in the small town of Mason City, IL. That’s the home town of another funny comic named John Means – aka “Dr. Gonzo.” John and his wife owned a restaurant on the main drag, and Chris bought a building on the same block and has been able to keep the doors open several years now. I congratulate him.

Mason City is tiny, but it’s within driving distance of Peoria and Springfield and Chris books a lot of his headliners from the Bob and Tom radio show which is on in both of those cities. He has been smart to do that, and kudos to him for taking the plunge. That took a lot of guts on his part.

I’m not sure if a town that small would be to my personal liking, but there are all kinds of other options in a lot of other places. I have been wondering for years now how I could get off the road but still get on stage regularly, and my own place would be a way to do it. It would solve a lot of problems – but create a lot more. I’m fine with that at this point, and would enjoy the challenge.

I don’t know if I can find a place that I can live as well as do shows, as everything would have to be ideal for that to happen. I don’t have any money to buy any buildings, but that’s never been my goal. I just want to do standup comedy shows on a regular basis for people that want to enjoy what I do. I don’t want to have to fight drunks or drive 1000 miles to get there. Does that exist?

Between Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison and Rockford, I have to believe there has to be at least one facility that would be able to fit my needs. Ideally it would seat around 100 comfortably, and in theory I’d be able to work there every single week of the year for several years if I’d want to.

If I could attract audiences, why would I not want to? I’ve said before that 100 people a night for multiple nights in a week can provide a very nice living. I’m not greedy, and I wouldn’t need anything else to survive quite nicely. In an area that’s populated, it would take years for everyone to see the show in a 100 seat room and I could keep it going indefinitely. Mr. Wiggins was right.

I see this theory both in Milwaukee for the ‘Schlitz Happened!’ show and somewhere near the Chicago area that’s not near a Zanies club. I wouldn’t attempt to compete with them because for one I couldn’t, and also they have been great to me for a lifetime. There are plenty of other joints in that squared circle, and I’m up for trying to get my own thing going. If I had two dozen in my own audience, there would be only one person to blame. That I could live with. I like Jim’s idea!

Chris Speyrer figured out a way to get off the road. He bought a building and started his own venue. Smart!

Chris Speyrer figured out a way to get off the road. He bought his own building and started his own comedy venue. Smart!

If you are ever near Mason City, IL go see his club.

If you’re ever near Mason City, IL visit Chris’s club.


Someday Has Come

August 28, 2013

Tuesday August 27th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

   The major life purge continues, and I feel improvement every day. Organizing my inner world is the only thing that will organize my outer world, and I desperately needed it. Every bit of junk I throw out opens that much more space to fill with something much better that I can use today.

   Less truly is more, and I feel noticeably better with every full bag I either throw out or take to a thrift store for donation. There’s almost a spiritual quality to what I feel as I do it, and that makes me want to do it more. Today I spent a full eight hours working, and could have done eight more.

   Most of this stuff I will eventually get rid of, but for now I just need to know what’s there. That takes time, as I have to sort through every scrap of paper or trinket in every box but I’ve meant to do it for years and I’m finally “getting around to it”. Someday has come, and a feeling of genuine accomplishment has come with it. I should have done this decades ago, but didn’t have the time.

   I was much too busy dealing with life’s tornadoes, and there were many. I just stuck everything in boxes with no rhyme or reason and said I’d deal with it later. Well, it’s later and now it’s time to sort it all out and finally move forward. Until I do that, I’ll never be able to grow to the fullest.

   I’m doing it, and it feels beyond good. I know it’s right, so I’m staying with it. At first I sorted everything into big piles, but now I’m going through those with a fine tooth comb to eliminate all that I don’t absolutely need to survive now – which is most of it. I’ll find the occasional business card with a contact I haven’t talked to in a while or a forgotten comedy idea, but that’s about it.

   Out the rest of it goes, and I’m having less of a problem the more I do it. If I really need any of this stuff I’m sure I can troll it up somewhere, but for now I want it out of my life. The chances I will need any of it are far slimmer than a white man’s hopes of playing cornerback in the NFL.

   I’ve got things I want to do, and they take up enough time as it is. Having a backlog of useless clutter is just extra weight in the saddle bags. Cleaning it out will be a one time hassle, but then it will be gone for good and I can fill that space with much more important things. I need to do this.

   It’s finally to the point where it’s manageable, even though it will take a while to get it down to where it should have been in the first place. I bit off way more than I could chew, and I thought it would all work out. It didn’t, so rather than keep hauling it around the country I’m cutting bait.

   I’ll be able to do a little at a time for the foreseeable future, and that’s how it should be. It’s just like exercise – a little every day is the way to do it. Trying to cram it in all at once in a day or two doesn’t work and never did. It’s a gradual thing, and that’s what I’m doing. I’m just sorry it took so long. I’ve wasted a lot of valuable time and energy dragging this around and it’s gone forever.

   If I choose to dwell on that, I’ll depress myself right out of the game. I’m not the only one that has made mistakes, but it’s all about how one recovers. If I throw away as much evidence of the past as I can, I’ll have no choice but to look ahead. That’s where I need to be looking, and I’m on a great roll right now. It’s all about action, which I’m taking. I’m making room for a better life.

Thrifty vs. Cheap

May 22, 2013

Monday May 20th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

   I really needed to get rid of that Nissan Sentra. It was sucking whatever self esteem I may have had left right through the exhaust pipe, and no matter how good of a deal it was or wasn’t it put a vibe in my life I don’t want any part of. Living like a bum is not what I aspire to, especially after putting in so many years of paying dues. I made a big mistake, and it was time to cut my losses.

   I have a friend of a friend who wheels and deals cars on craigslist, and he is listing it for me for a small fee only if it sells. I could have run it through the auction I suppose, but who’d nibble on a ratty looking pickle like that? Even if it does have low miles and new parts, there’s no sizzle.

   The windshield cracked all the way across, and all the hubcaps are now gone. I started out with three, but after six rough months of potholes and railroad tracks the others jumped ship as well. It has been an unbelievably painful run with this car, and I didn’t expect it or I would have turned it down when I got the offer. For whatever reason, it has jumped up and taught me a painful lesson.

   A big part of it is about mindset. All too often a dented can feels he or she isn’t deserving of an item or position of top quality because that’s the message that’s been installed since childhood. It eventually becomes habit, and habits can be very hard to break. This is much deeper than a car or any other outside source. This is something that comes from within, and it needs to be changed.

   I really do feel I deserve to have a nice car and work the top level gigs. I have earned my place as a performer, but there’s still that little whipped puppy inside that was told all my life I’d never amount to anything and would be a total failure. I don’t want to believe that, but I sure do appear to be doing all I can to perpetuate that outwardly. I need to stop immediately and change course.

   I’m in the middle of a slump at the moment, but I’ve been in them countless times before and it doesn’t scare me a bit. I know enough to know they eventually pass, and good things will start to head my way eventually. I have been clinging on to a loser’s mindset of late, and that has to stop.

   Taking that car from my friend Rich was a bigger mistake than I ever imagined. It wasn’t just a car between friends – at least from my end. It was me settling for the lowest possible rung on the ladder because I didn’t think I deserved to have anything better. I didn’t see it at the time, but it’s crystal clear in retrospect. Again, there’s a difference between thrifty and cheap and I see it now.

   My father was painfully cheap, and looking at it now I see it was distinctly because he was not confident he would ever be able to do any better. He drove even crappier cars than I do, and now he’s dead and what did it prove? At one time he could have bought himself a brand new car right off the lot, but he never ever treated himself at any time. He went to his grave a mental pauper.

   I’m not saying he or anyone else needs to piss money away like a coked up rapper, but there’s a mindset inside everyone that attracts pretty much everything. There are unforeseen incidents of pure luck in everyone’s life, but for the most part what any of us get is programmed from within.

   I thought I knew that, but I guess I didn’t. This car situation sure drove it home with an unholy vengeance, and I’m sorry I was that thickheaded to not be able to see it. I have to change what’s in my head and then what comes to me will change. I don’t want any more two tone Nissans with no hubcaps. I’ve had enough of that for six lifetimes. I want to play with the big boys. I deserve a chance, and it’s up to me to allow it to happen. As for the old mindset, I want it gone like the car.