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Posts Tagged ‘interview with mikel jollett’

Even though resolutions are usually made before starting the year, I’m a bit late in writing them down.  I’ve been mulling them over long before the clock struck twelve, but my laziness has kept me from capturing them in word form.  I guess because then they are real and I should do something.  When I made my list last year, it was things to get done before the impending rapture.  Although none of last year’s predictions for Armageddon came true, we can still hold out this year to see if the Mayans knew what was goin’ down.  We’re in good shape though because they did pick December so we have plenty of time to get this resolution shit done.  Here we go.

1.)  Work with critique partners:

The elusive creature called a critique partner was something I’ve been in need of for quite some time.  I didn’t really know it at the beginning of 2011, but realized it when my finished novel didn’t bag the outcome I wanted.  I spent a lot of time wondering how I would find the perfect match.  They don’t have any internet matching sites for crit partners.  Well, okay they do, but it’s really hard.  Kinda like finding someone to shag.  You need to make sure they won’t laugh when they see you naked because it could scar you for life.  But I was fierce about sticking with it and put myself out there.  I’m pretty psyched about the two chicks I’ve hooked up with (sounds dirtier than it is) and I have high hopes my work will improve because of it.

2.)  Attend two concerts:

For the past three years, the goal has been to see one concert.  After making it to five shows last year, I decided to up the ante.  There is something about live shows that I love.  I’ve discovered I need them to continue my creative edge and therefore they must be on the list.  I still plan to call them research because in me somewhere there is a book about concerts I’m waiting to pull out.

3.)  Work with fondant:

With all the baking going on in my life, I’ve decided to expand my horizons.  That means I must break into the crazy world of fondant.  I already made one attempt in these first few weeks.  I learned I have a long way to go before Food Network’s Cake Challenge, but there may be some pretty cool creations out there using it.

My first fondant cake

4.)  Read 25 books:

I have seen blogs where people set the goal for 100 books in the year and I am in awe of those people.  I’ve started with a smaller number, but it doesn’t mean I can’t do more.  I have to admit, four years ago I was one of those people who said “I don’t really read.”  I was addicted to the television crack and it didn’t leave much room for anything else.  I read a Stephanie Plum here or a Sookie Stackhouse there, but I wasn’t committed to reading regularly.  In 2011, I realized if I wanted to write like good writers, I had to read more of them.  So I committed to books and saw how much they added to my life and writing.  This realization made it a “must” priority for this year.

5.)  Interview Mikel Jollett for the blog:

This may be my most lofty goal of the batch, but what the heck?  Sure, he may have amped up security after the last concert or put me on a do not call list after seeing what I did to him with bubble art.  Even if he fell upon this blog at some point and vowed never to give me any more fodder for this obsession, I’m going to try my damnedest to get some time for Q&A.  We may even have a contest for what questions to ask at some point in this year.  Be prepared like a Girl Scout, ya know?    What I learned from the tons of searches leading people to this blog when they are trying to find Mikel is people are interested in him as a writer.  Aren’t you ever curious if he has the same crushing doubt as all other writers?  I do.  Hopefully some time this year I’ll be able to ask.

6.)  Get an agent:

It’s no surprise to see this on the list.  You will see it on every resolution list until the year it actually happens.  There are days when I doubt it ever will, but then I pull out my favorite line I’ve ever read on someone’s blog “the only difference between a published author and a non published author is one gave up.”  I say it just about every day and in every situation where someone faces something difficult.  Anything is possible.  I wholly believe that with all my heart.

There are other things I hope to accomplish in this year, be a good mother, a fine wife, a hard worker, blah, blah, blah.  They aren’t annual resolutions because I commit to them daily.  Of course, progress will be tracked on here and I appreciate your support as I work towards the resolutions made.  There will be pictures, quotes, and updates to document the steps it takes to reach them.  And if it doesn’t happen this year, maybe they will carry over to the next.  Well, that’s counting on the fact those Mayans didn’t know what the hell they were talking about.

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The context of this blog should be made clear from the beginning.  And since I was the one who was there, talked to Mikel, and now writing about it, I guess I’m responsible for doing such a thing.  This short conversation took place after the concert.  This means it came after my ceremonious Jager Bomb at the bar before the venue, three hours of exhaustion from shoving others, and ended with a crotch and boot to the head.  This doesn’t mention the dizziness from swooning in the presence of Mikel’s kick ass smile.  The whole ordeal took place with the video camera held tightly in Hubs’ hand without once moving to hit the record button.  (You can guess the crap I flicked him the rest of the night, day, week, hell…it’s still going.)  But my notes were scribbled out at 6:30am after three hours sleep from what I could remember.  So even though there are quotes, this is the jist of what he said or my interpretation of it.  There…disclaimer done.

In his way, Mikel worked up the barrier line meeting and greeting one by one.  He gave personalized attention to each with photos, autographs, and a few minutes of networking.  Panic spread on my side of the crowd when a security guard walked up to inform him he had five more minutes before they were going to shut the place down.  Mikel shrugged his shoulders and continued on with the chicks about seven people down.  Hubs goes with shouting his name to attract his attention while I focus my efforts on the security dude.

“Really?  You’re going to make him stop?  He’s doing such a good job at it,” I said.

“If it goes five more minutes I have to pay for security, lights, everything.”

“I think you have plenty of security volunteers lined up here.”  I tried a flirtatious smile, but I suck at that.  He smiled back kindly and walked away.  But the clock was ticking. 

I reassure Hubs there is plenty of time.  The other fans deserve their time as much as I do.  Crazed fans have an unspoken agreement…well, maybe that’s a little much.  But the chick down the line was from England and he was signing her flag.  I only had five hours of car time to put up against her.

But Mikel made it.  My first words came out in a jarbled “That was a great show.”  Lame.  Unoriginal.  Amateur.  Hubs asks immediately if I can get a picture with him.  Mikel poses in his rehearsed stance with a safe distance.  After the snap of the flash, he asked how his hair looked.  He then grabs the black Sharpie and scribbles his name anticipating the next question.  I ask if I can pretend to write something on his hand to choose a blog winner.  This part perplexed him.  But I’m sure he’s had stranger requests with signing arms, tits, or asses with the plan of getting a tattoo over it.  So how weird was this?  He stuck out his hand and went with it while checking out more of the line.

“Why don’t you let us buy you a beer at the place around the corner and I can ask you about writing.  Not music writing, but fiction writing for my blog,” I said.

“Whoa, you’re bringing out the big guns now,” he said.  He mumbled through beer vapored excuses of being tired and needing to travel 33 hours to get to San Diego for the next trip.  But his curiosity asked what it was for.  I explained I had a blog about writing and I was interested in his take on the whole writing thing.

“Oh because all writers have blogs?”  he said.  I wasn’t sure if the implication was all writers have blogs or all bloggers consider themselves writers.  I nodded while Hubs screamed out “she’s a writer” like he suffered from Tourette’s.

“I’m that guy everyone fucking hates.  I was sought out because of my previous things published,” he said.

“You’re right.  I fucking hate you,” I said with a pat on my shoulder for being so brave. 

Mikel then went into a several minute discussion about it.  Since there is no recording, I only remember the things that stuck out to me the most. 

“Everyone wants to be told they’re good,” he said.  “No one is fucking Mozart.  Only Mozart was fucking Mozart.  But if you work at it enough, you can be good.  You have to write twelve hours every day for five years.  Every day committing to write another twelve hours and in five years you will be a fucking good writer.  Most people will say ‘I can’t do that’,” he said with a slightly pissy accent mocking the people who use the excuse.  “I took years off and was just writing.”

I flashed through how much dedication I have given the process.  Hours every night when they are limited with the other duties of my life.  But it wasn’t the complete sacrifice of the other things I treasure like family.  I start calculating how many more years I may have to invest for success and my heart began to sink.

“I haven’t had a day off in three years.”  His light chuckle couldn’t laugh off the realism behind the statement.  The blood-shot eyes, the rest of the line waiting for their moment and about ready to kick my ass, and knowing still dozens more sat outside by his bus waiting for their piece was the truth behind it. 

I thanked him for his time and told him to move on down the line before a riot broke out.  I was grateful for the time, advice, and nuggets shared.  Hubs and I walked around the corner with all our concert gear in hand ready to reminisce over drinks.  We were there for about fifteen minutes before the drummer walked through the door.  In fifteen more, the whole band sans Anna the violinist shared drinks with friends in the booth behind us.  They were gracious once again with photos and signatures.  Mikel was still working with the smiles, personable conversation and a wink when I caught his eye. 

I know he didn’t remember us from the hour before at the show or having a rather lengthy conversation in comparison to the others.  I remained faceless when he snapped some more pictures and shared his excitement of the ring his brother bought his fiancée even though he didn’t make me feel that way.  And he certainly didn’t notice when I watched him interact with the chicks at his table or when I caught him stealing another check of his hair in the bar mirror.  He leaned into the blonde one like he was interested in her company for the night (and she was certainly willing from what she told Hubs earlier) but it didn’t stop Mikel from falling asleep twice while sitting up.  It was the most impactful advice he’d given all night.

It’s his passion.  Even though there are tough, long, or lonely days, he lives for doing it.  He works it every night in every town for every crowd.  Each performance gets another piece of him and takes it away from something else.  Maybe it was a dream of having a Norman Rockwell painting family, the freedom of being able to enjoy drinks with friends without autographs, or a quiet night writing a blog on a laptop while his soulmate snores loudly in the bed next to him.  It doesn’t matter.  We choose our level of success with how much time we are willing to dedicate, the passion needed to study, and the sacrifice of missing out on other things. 

The experience was needed more than I knew at the time.  It was a good reminder when I worry if I can do this.  Am I on the right path?  Mikel’s right–I want someone to tell me I’m good.  (Someone outside my close circle of friends and family.)  But, even if I don’t have that in the first two years, do I throw in the towel before I get to the five?  And if my calculations are right about his twelve hours a day, I still have eighteen years left to work it out.  Phew…that takes the pressure off.

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