I can’t work until I have my fully-stocked mansion in the woods
by Harper the Fox, author of Wandering Lust
It happens often– that niggling thought creeps into my mind, the one which says I am missing something essential to success.
I am pretty sure this is a form of excuse-making. When I am feeling calm, confident, and rational, I remember that I have more tools at my disposal than most humans in history to produce outstanding content and distribute it widely. I have space I can afford, I have a variety of computers, I have webcams, I have guitars, I have an enormous number of cheap or free applications to help me produce. It’s truly amazing.
Today, the thing I feel I am missing is ISOLATED space. Over the last several months, my partner Max and I have been dealing with a conflict as old as human socialization– trouble with neighbors.
We share a wall with an inconsiderate man-baby who litters the parking lot, yells on the phone, cuts through water lines, and blasts his music. His horrible music. Don’t get me wrong, I like a lot of varieties of music– what drives me up the wall about this guy is that he listens to songs that are well-known, catchy, and wah-wah-crybaby depressing. It’s the sort of playlist that makes me want to walk up to this man and just ask him, “Man… what happened? Who hurt you?”
Sometimes, I feel at peace with this conflict. This guy pays for his space too, and he has every right to make noise in the space he rents. Other times, I just want to scream. Max and I have tried many tactics, from polite requests to subtle strategizing to all-out sound war. And still, the gravelly voice of a 90s-era sad sack wines through the wall, interrupting my thoughts.
I have come to the conclusion that this man is an unfortunate combination of deeply inconsiderate and genuinely hard of hearing. It seems that in trying to get him to turn his music down, I am fighting against two fundamental aspects of who he is as a person.
I’ve heard that young Dr. Dre sat in a dark room with a two-chambered tape deck, rewinding, playing, and recording to meticulously capture his samples. He certainly could have languished in his home, bitching to anyone who would listen that if only he had better equipment, he could be something really special.
By contrast, I have met quite a few young, slim stoner-bros whose life dream is to “make beats.” They pursue that dream by buying thousands of dollars in expensive equipment, and making a couple ‘meh’ tracks a year.
I am not better than this kind of practice, though I am working against it. Every day, I find myself day-dreaming about our future home, and the workshop we will build on our acreage. A workshop with high-speed internet, power outlets galore, and an assortment of comfortable places to cam, film, record audio, and process our content. But in order to afford a place like that someday, I need to hustle through the obstacles today.
Excuses are a dime a dozen, and so, so tempting. But the bitter truth is that I have everything I need– there is nothing in my way. Another bitter truth is that I love my excuses so dearly, the idea that I have everything I need for success makes me upset.
If I find myself stalled, it is a product of my own monkey-mind.
-Harper the Fox