Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Professional Dabbler: Deconstructed

In the middle of a busy week, I sit and ponder one of life's big questions. Well, at least one of MY life's big questions: am I spending my time doing what I really want to be doing? And what do I really want to do?

Do I want to be a professional musician?
  • I have a gig tomorrow night with my sister as The Hello Strangers in Gettysburg. Luckily people like the way we sound since we have no posters, sound equipment, or any recordings beyond a 6-song demo to speak of. We have other gigs coming up that have been falling into our laps without any effort (which is good). But at what point are we going to take the next step? Or are we going to stay in this liminal pseudo phase forever?
Do I want to be a writer?
  • I will be teaching at a Young Writers Camp in two weeks, which I have to plan for and convince these young middle school souls that I have some sort of legitimacy under my belt. I have thus put my writing for Hagerstown Magazine on hold for the time being. But yet I dabble...dabble, dabble in writing like everything else it seems.
Do I want to help run the photography business my husband and I own?
  • I'm not the photographer - that's Ryan. But I do help out in many other areas such as accounting, production, creative input, etc. Yet, most of the time I am rushing through tasks at my desk before I run off to...
My part-time job at a screen printing and embroidery shop downtown, where I continue to show off my dabbling skills, doing anything from packing and hauling boxes, to ordering t-shirts and promotional products, to designing art on Adobe Illustrator.

Some days I just don't feel like a true musician, writer, business owner - a true anything.

Some days I feel like a fraud, really. We all have these days, don't we? Don't worry, I'm not falling into a pit of self-loathing and despair. Some days are just primed for such reflections.

I know there is a reason why I'm a professional freelancer and dabbler. I enjoy not having to do the same thing every day. But as a true perfectionist, I certainly reach moments when I feel like I have to do everything 100% with a 50% timeframe, energy, and focus level. At what point am I dabbling in too much?

Ah, life's big questions...

One thing I DO love doing: dancing with my girlfriends at Lithuanian Hall in Baltimore to old school soul and reggae!

It's summer, man, I gotta chill!


laura mae said...

oh my love how you articulate the things we all think but ignore/don't say/don't realize.

i wouldn't worry about any of this, i think it's how it is for creative types with a ton of talents i.e. you. i read once that the best way to figure out your life calling is to spend 20 minutes writing down the things you think you're put on this earth for and eventually you'll write something that makes you cry and that's the winner. i've tried it; i cry when i write "singer" and then i get scared because how scary is it to be a singer for a living when you're so used to being practicial???? singer does not a practical safe life make. i know you love variety and as long as you're giving all of your dabbles your 100% and it's not zapping your energy well then why not??????

be excited you have lots of i'm saying this to you but i have this exact crisis ALL the time. we should get together and talk about this stuff. let's go camping??? yes????

Laura Mae said...

p.s.-i love you.

Larissa said...

Laura - I love you too, and thanks for the great comment. I think that exercise sounds like a good idea for me. But, like you said, it can be scary to follow your passions, like being a singer, and ignoring your pragmatic instincts. Brechyn and I had a gig last night in Gettysburg. I do so love to perform. I feel that that's a real calling but it gets pushed around on my priority list by other pressing things. This is the balance I strive for daily. I know you understand and I'm so glad we're friends!

P.S. I can't wait for the next Lith. Hall night! I love it so much partially because you and Josh are so great :) Oh, and camping, yes!

Anonymous said...

Hey girl you need to let Ed and I know when you are performing. Really want to come and see.... Tracey

Larissa said...

Tracey - email me at with your email address. I'll email you when we are performing. Thanks for reading!

hallie said...

Someone somewhere said "Variety is the spice of life" , eh? Well... shheeeit I lika da spice. Salt is great and all, but who could do without pepper or say... basil... thyme, curry?

I have struggle recently with a similar challenge and then someone came along and asked me if I could find gratitude for my life as it is right now. Sure enough- I found myself lucky to be self employed and dabbling here and there with the freedom to create my own schedule... the freedom to say yes or no, the freedom to change my mind, and the possibility to focus on whatever I choose later on down the line.

If you ask me dabbling is just plain great exercise for the ole noggin' babay!