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Posts Tagged ‘TATE concert’

Who wouldn’t want to be an arms length from the band you love?  Hubs, for one.  But his hesitation didn’t deter my perseverance to be as close to The Airborne Toxic Event as I possibly could.  This goal required standing in a long line before the show, running (well, walking quickly) to the front of the stage, avoiding the beer garden and standing for two hours in a crush of people until the show started.  What I learned from this experience was I might not be cool enough for front row any more.

My most memorable experience of trying to get to the front of a general admission show was my sophomore year of college.  It was Pearl Jam and I was madly in love with Eddie Vedder.  Two of my girlfriends, Hubs, and I drove to Indio, CA the night before so we could be the first in line.  Since we didn’t have any money, there was no way to get a hotel.  This left the four of us to sleep in a Honda Accord on the edge of an old orchard.  It screamed horror film set up.  It was a long night with a full moon shining into our car making it impossible to sleep.  It almost ended friendships, but the sun finally came up and we set off towards the entrance.  We made our way to the line where we were greeted with hundreds of other fans who had better timing.  We sat in the desert sun for EIGHT hours before they opened the doors.  Then it was a sprint for the stage which was a quarter mile away (no lie).  We were pretty damn close to the stage when the realization hit of the start time still being five hours away.  After more sweat, tired legs, and complete exhaustion, we skulked to the back and laid on the grass to watch a small fuzzy figure I think was Mr. Vedder.

TATE was going to be different.  I was positioned with only two people between the security barrier and me.  Then Douchebag #1 nudged past with a mumbled “excuse me” and stopped in front of my right shoulder.  Usually I brush off rude people because it really isn’t something worth getting into a fight for.  This was. 

“What do you think you’re doing?” I said.

“Wha?” His wide eyes blinked like I was crazy.

“Oh no.  I’ve waited to get up here, you can’t just push your way up.”

“Am I blocking you?” 

My eyes darted to the stage and there was still an unobstructed view of the front microphone.  Nothing had really changed with his presence and my righteous attitude took a hit.

“Well, no.  But it better stay that way or there’s going to be hell to pay,” I said.  He nodded in agreement.

It was about twenty minutes later when it happened again.  This time it was a tall Rude Dude with his girlfriend who pushed in front.  Go time! 

“What the hell?” I said.  Rude Dude  turned around with the same innocent look like is this a problem?  “I don’t think so.  One row back buddy,” I said in my best “don’t fuck with the babysitter*” tone.  (*An Adventures in Babysitting reference?  Can it be true?  Yeah, I’m that cool.)

“That’s fair,” he said and wiggled back behind me.

Hubs was most impressed with my assertiveness.  I conquered the seventeen year old assholes who thought they could step over the old lady in the front.  I was ready for my front row position.  I’d earned it.

Douchebag #1 and Rude Dude’s girlfriend.

Hubs bailed a couple songs in and headed for the beer garden in the balcony.  He said that crowd was older, calmer, and dressed better.  I was in the pit where I listened to Douchebag and another kid with fire engine red hair going back and forth guessing the playlist.  Red had been to the show the night before in Seattle and was giving a play by play of each performance.  He pulled out his fancy ass phone and showed his collection of pictures with each member of the band.  They discussed the different versions of the different releases and Random Girl was shaking with anticipation.  I thought I was a fan, but now I wasn’t so sure.

When the show started the differences became even more apparent.  Sweaty bodies reeking of stink pressed against my skin and wiped their moisture across on my arm.  When the crowd cheered, their arms raised and the smell almost knocked me over.  Do these kids even shower?  Of course not, they’re going to rock shows.  Towards the end, there was a small movement of a mosh pit which slammed into my back and crushed us against the barrier.  The fear of falling to the ground made me widen my stance and start to slam back.  But it was too late.  I understood my place.

 Soaked in sweat, looking like hell, exhausted from defending my life, and a little light-headed from getting Mikel’s crotch to the face (and then a boot to the head) when he stage dove, I sat down on a bench and waited for Hubs.  I replayed the night and asked was it worth it?  What did I sacrifice versus what I gained?  It seems like when things are the hardest, they make the best victories.  But that requires them to become a win.  If they don’t ever pay off, were they wasted time and energy?  Did it steal from something else?  Some days those questions are louder than others.  But I come back to my same answer.  Every experience is worth it whether we know why or not.  We must continue on with working towards what we want and take the setbacks that come with it.  It’s what makes us who we are…even if at the end of the night you look like this:

Favorite quotes from friends on FB under this picture: 
“Holy sweet Jesus” and “wow…um…yeah.”

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Writing fiction always requires a fresh eye.  This is extremely difficult after you’ve read your WIP for the hundredth time.  You rely on others to read through, make adjustments, tell you where you’ve gone off the rails, and all the places they would’ve stopped reading if they weren’t your friend.  But readers sometimes don’t know how to tell the writer these honest observations.  They want to be supportive by reading to the end and giving positive feedback even when they know there were times something didn’t feel right.  They assume someone else will be there to critique the story, they are just there to read and get to the end.  What I’ve learned in the last couple years is there is a big difference between a “reader” and a “critique partner.”   

Lately, I’ve been in desperate need of a critique partner.  This isn’t to diss the great readers I’ve had to tell me if the story is good or where “it’s ooookay” with a wince because they are too afraid to hurt my feelings.  I completely need those people, too.  In fact, they’ve been a great resource when I’ve recently finished and second-guessed if I have the skills to continue.  But a critique partner is someone who understands the structure of a story and can give a straight up insight like “your plot sucks here” or “your character would never do that.”  A crit partner understands how important it is to say, “Dude, you fucked this up.”

To date, my only crit partner has been Hubs.  I must admit, he’s been brave at times to say he doesn’t like something.  But he’s only one man.  And sometimes I don’t give him the credit he deserves.  When I fire back “what would you have written?” he shrugs his shoulders and reminds me he’s not a writer.  Maybe if I had a few partners I would get different views to hone in on the issues which really stick out before sending it out to query.  (Hell, I’m having a hard enough time finding one and now I want a few?)  But it would be so much easier to fix the issues before they were in front of the agent who I only have a few pages to make a rock solid connection.

This lesson was illustrated today when Anna from TATE tweeted “and check out this guy’s sweatshirt. he made it himself. xx Anna.”  I’m prepared to be wowed by the sweatshirt which caught the band’s attention; so much so, she actually stopped to take a picture of it.  At first glance, I’m like “So what?”  It has some words on it in some weirdo font and the gray figure on the side is like a visual puzzle.  What is that thing?  A knight? An abstract depiction of a man?  Some psychological test?  Sure, it has the lyrics of one of their new songs on it.  Big deal.  This was really the thing to stop Anna in her tracks, take the photo, and upload it?  Really?  But then I read it. 

(The lyrics from The Graveyard Near the House are “It’s better to love, whether you win, or lose, or die.”)

You can see the smile on his face although his identity has been protected.  We’ve all been there.  We are so excited about the great idea, the creation of the work, we can’t wait another second before we put it in front of other people’s eyes.  Then you get the chance of a lifetime to have it in front of someone you are trying to impress and the euphoria is blinding about the “what if” possibilities.  He may have dreamt Anna would be so overwhelmed with his devotion she would ask him to join their tour.  Okay, wait, that’s my fantasy.  But you can tell he is over the moon.

In reality, he needed a crit partner.  He needed a fearless set of eyes who didn’t care he spent $30 making the sweatshirt or was up all night ironing on the decal.  The crit partner would have known it was better to be truthful than to let his work be in view of the public when it wasn’t ready.  The crit partner could have saved him some humiliation and frustration later when he realizes what he’s done.  Because a critique partner would have said “Dude, you fucked up.  There is only one ‘O’.”

Special Note:  This is my 100th blog post.  Who would’ve guessed it?  Certainly not me.

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