I Swear It Would Be Easier To Be a Rock Star

13 Oct

Maybe I’m going about this the wrong way. I’ve spent a lot of time in the past few days thinking in big headlines like: “What Is the Writer?” and “The Difference Between Artist and Writer”.

Living with an artist (yes, Mark) gives me lots of time for comparing myself to him and him to myself, backwards and forwards, upside and down. I’m realizing that concentrating on being a full-blown writer ultimately means this: sitting alone in a room with armwarmers and glasses.

my trusty Peruvian armwarmers

I love the creatures I find when I’m alone in my room. Mystical creatures who roam the landscapes of my dark mind, who are transformed and made immortal by choice of words. Rhythm! Rhythm! My beautiful children, sleep on my fingertips, ride the foams of imagination.

But then there are the dreaded Hours Inbetween . . . Sitting at a wild party, realising I have nothing to say. Want to get to know me? Come to my readings. All I have to say, I say there. Thinking: “Get me back on the stage so that I can show you 100% of myself. This person you see now, she’s not even 50% me. Let me write and I will show you who I am.”

So we come to the realisation that as a human being who does not write, I am a merry extrovert. But as a writer currently working on something, I am an absolute introvert – and there’s no finding me, no catching me on the phone, no getting me to meet up. I recently participated in a “guerrilla exhibition” in the neighborhood. I exhibited my collages. Or rather: I hung them up and ran away. A journalist caught it on camera:

writer escapism © Südwest Presse

Where does the human end and the writer begin? How to balance the two? Or rather: remember the film The Hours? The soul of the writer caught on 35mm. And the dialogue between Clarissa (Meryl Streep) and the writer Richard always stayed with me, ever since I first heard it so many years ago:

Clarissa Vaughn: You don’t have to go to the party, you don’t have to go to the ceremony, you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. You can do as you like.
Richard Brown: But I still have to face the hours, don’t I? I mean, the hours after the party, and the hours after that…

It’s all about the hours. The hours between performing, the hours between writing. Who are we then? Who is the writer when she just put down her pen and goes grocery shopping? How do we balance between so many worlds?

I swear it would be easier to be a rock star. I’m looking at Amanda Palmer in her underwear, cheekily playing the piano, suddenly tearful, brutally honest, beautiful as she bares her breasts and spreads her wings.

Being a rock star seems like such a delightful way to balance the extroverted nature with an extroverted art. Writers live in their heads, among joyful creatures no one else can see, that they can smell taste touch. That they have affairs with, whose flesh they dig into and whose souls they shudder. Writers fly in their realms like gods – and the higher we fly into the sky, the less anyone can see of us from the ground.

How invisible are you in your life, Gabriel Garcia Marquez? How did you balance writing with living, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry?

Maybe it’d be easier with an alternate ego. You have to be careful with alter egos though: I had one once but she was useless because she forgot she was a writer and just got drunk.

So let’s invent one right now and we can call her “Kohl Eyed Sonq’o”. She’ll be the rock star when I just put down my pen. She’ll be the one who talks at parties. She’ll remind me to be bold, bare my breasts and spread my wings. Above all: she will be the rock star in the writer.

Writers, don’t get stuck in your heads. Find a way to live in both worlds.

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4 Responses to “I Swear It Would Be Easier To Be a Rock Star”

  1. Gerhard October 17, 2011 at 8:58 pm #

    Is it really easy(ier) to be a rock star?

    Is a rock star just performing her music and the way she`s acting on stage towards her audience? Does a rock star also wants to transport something to the audience with her lyrics? Of course there are rock stars who are full blown on stage, heavily extroverted and in close relationship with their fans during the gig. Some of those are using song writers because their talents are more on the guitar and piano or vocals and dancing rather than writing their own songs. But there are also those rock stars who express their experiences in life and the feelings they have very deeply with words in their lyrics. They transform it to songs where the words are an important part of the performance beside the music. Is this kind of rock star a writer or an artist? Rock stars aren`t just extroverted, they can be very much introverted as well. Sometimes they are forced to become extroverted, against their nature character. Maybe because their managers urge them, or because of their audience, the fame and success, the fear of failure? Would Amy Winehouse still be alive if she would have just been a good (song)writer but with a casual voice? I`m sure that she would have expressed her feelings and emotions still in words, most likely in lyrics. No matter if anybody understands it or not. Just because she wanted to express it as a way to come along with her minds. And she still would have been the introverted person even as a superstar if people (including her parents) would have let her to be that way and if she would have been able to handle this life between the hours. It needs a strong personality to live between the hours. If somebody would be introverted to its extremes it wouldn`t work. We have to watch and judge our environment carefully and get a connection between our own micro cosmos and the world around us.

    Are you an artist or a writer?

    I think both. When I first met you it was the wild party, you were the merry extrovert. I`ve seen what you wanted that I should see. But you`re right, I`ve seen not even 50%. When I asked about your profession you answered that you`re an artist. Why didn`t you say you`re a writer? Maybe because you`ve done a lot of different things in art that time. But I think it`s also a hustle to explain at a party about your writing. Where is the beginning and where the end? Most of the time when we`re together with people at parties or similar events we`re riding on the wave of superficiality, the `small talks`. It`s all about attraction and ignoring, about coolness and sexyness, to live for the moment. Nothing compared to writing in the way you do it. The way you take somebody on your mind journey is much more. It`s not possible at a party nor at the grocery store. It`s only possible by reading and that others are trying to follow you at least somehow.
    When I hear what you`ve written in your readings or if I read it in your book or blog then for me it`s definitely art. When you`re sitting alone in a room with arm warmers and glasses you`re definitely a writer. By the way that pic is really cute.
    Then you`re in a totally different universe, captured by your fantasies and your secrets. You feel safe and secure, surrounded by your own world that gives you spirit and energy. It is so real that you find words for it, a beautiful sound of words. To write is like a valve for so many minds of yours that seem to explode if you not bring them to paper.

    And that`s your true talent. To express this in writing, in wonderful stories with brilliant metaphors and individually chosen words. Then you can show 100% of Ritti. And that`s what you hide and protect because it`s yours. It`s from your soul, your heritage and the longing for a higher spiritual level. It needs a big jump to get over this hurdle from introvert to extrovert by sharing this with others because it`s something from your personality; of Ritti Soncco. You decide which of your writings you wanna share. It`s unique and special and I really appreciate that I got access to. It`s a privilege. By the time I guess it has gotten more and more interesting for you by having the chance to perform in front of an audience. It must have needed a lot of courage to jump over this bridge especially because you`re an introvert while writing. This open up to others eventually should be rewarding and self reflecting for you as well as the motivation for more to publish.

    The hours between performing and writing (extroverted and introverted) needs to be balanced for everybody. It is necessary to live also a life without the pen and the stage and to get grounded again. You should always appreciate being an artist and a writer as one person by having these talents. The hours between are at least that important than the hours when you live just in your head or when you read in front of your audience full of pride. It isn`t necessary to express everything instantly on stage like Amanda Palmer. Fly into the sky as high as possible, be YOU. The more you set yourself free and the more you`re surrounded by your joyful creatures the better you have found your rhythm. The result for us readers will be even better the higher you fly because we know that you`ll come back to the ground and let us participate of your experiences in your post.

    Please excuse of being so direct and personally and I`m sure that you see things different because it`s you who knows it best. Maybe I helped you a little bit finding the way. I would heartily welcome your answer very much as I did last time when you got back to my reply. Thanks. Gerhard

    • rittisoncco October 17, 2011 at 10:00 pm #

      Dear Gerhard, I had a great smile on my face while I read your message, and I just wanted to say that I am so happy that you are in my audience. Thank you so much for taking the time to dive so deeply. I think you understood much more than I revealed, and I thank you for that!

      The reason I didn’t say “I’m a writer” when we first met is exactly what you guessed. People then ask what I write about… but try explaining “Qayqa” in a loud bar on a Friday night! 🙂 I am delighted to be performing again. As I sat on my reading stool at the Volkshochschule, I was secretly washed away because I was remembering so many things I had forgotten. Since then, I spent a the weekend soul-searching & remembering.

      It can be difficult living with both extremes, and it’s all about finding an inner balance. I have found mine in performing. I haven’t been able to perform in 2 years, because of the intense filmmaking, and now I’m trying to organise more & more performances.

      I spent the weekend listening to the other personality I lovingly nicknamed “the rock star”, hearing what she has to say. Not to try to be her, but to walk with her for a while to see where we differ. Living with extremes can be like being flung back and forth in a hurricane. I believe you have to find a way to let both sides breathe and express themselves. She reminded me of many things I had forgotten about, many things I love but had locked away in order to do the other projects. Now they are coming out of the attic and rejoining the writing. I am excited to incorporate them in the next performances.

      Thank you so much for reading so closely, thank you for all your feedback!

      • Gerhard October 17, 2011 at 10:44 pm #

        Dear Ritti, I very much appreciate that I met that time not only a writer but also a rock star 😉 . Thank you for your reply. I`m curious and excited to see/hear the incorporation at your next performances!

  2. purple harem October 25, 2011 at 6:26 pm #

    I love this article!!
    It made me laugh, ponder and remind me of our endearing avatars.
    Your words flow from the heart and you soul speaks the songs of your life adventures!
    Blessed be thy colorful and wondrous art!

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