Masters, Shapeshifting, etc
Here is what happened.
Amsterdam said, “taali, you have complained enough about my weather. You have devoted entire intros of ttalks to it, and I am offended.”
“I am going to give you a whole ass few WEEKS of 65 degree blue skied days so that you never, ever disrespect me again.”
I said, “Amsterdam, you beautiful beauteous beauty, I am sorry. Your blue sky light jacket weather is the stuff of absolute dreams. I will never disrespect you again.”
And then Amsterdam turned around and said, “Ha-fucking-ha! Gotcha!” And ditched its 65 degree blue sky light jacket days in favor of freezing April temperatures and literal snow this whole week.
(You win, Amsterdam.)
(I don’t know what you were trying to win with this weather, but you won it.)
(I am stunned and I am freezing and I am holed up at home right now mere inches from the wüdbürner like a shivering little country mouse in a fairytale.)
What’s the point in grumbling over things outside of my control, though? I’ve committed to cozy indoor activities instead. Like writing to you. And finishing the greatest puzzle of legitimately all time.
Listening to the masters of this album.
When Abbey Road submitted their revision of last week’s pass, my king of a husband lit candles, made a fire, brewed some earl grey tea.
JJ knew it was important to honor the process. He listened through each song, shed tears since he is an emotionally mature human being who was also there for the treachery that birthed the album, and submitted his approval of the master.
Me, not so much.
Instead of sitting and feeling the deep feelings that might come with the next stage of this story, my brain chose one of my favorite avoidance techniques: Work.
My absolute favorite of the avoidances. Before I was even through listening, I had immediately started:
(1) Coding the masters into Rainbow Blonde’s backend (hello lady with too many jobs!)
(2) Setting up an exciting new video series with my different instrument sponsors (hello! lady! with too many! jobs!)
(3) Already stressing that we were behind on arbitrary deadlines.
A mess, in other words. Or, in kinder ones, a wasted opportunity. After three years of intense work, I blew right past the fact that this album finished. Rather than feel its joy or pain or reality, I sank myself into its administrative tasks.
In the week since I’ve approved the master. Last week you saw my confusion email to Abbey Road, unable to put my finger on their mastering sorcery. Here is my corresponding triumph email, still unable to put my finger on their mastering sorcery.
I… did it, my love? And I haven’t been able to shake the feeling that I robbed myself of a real moment.
I could attribute this to a million things, including the completely understandable (and true!) fact that as a label head and artist, it is simply my job to get to work immediately.
But it’s bigger than that.
You know what I’m nearly certain it is?
If this album is finished, that means that I am a success.
And that, believe it or not, is a tough one to swallow, especially for someone who has spent pretty much her entire life as a chronic underdog.
Underdog is a position that was taught to me, given to me. It also suited me, for a long time. I’ve made myself smaller to stay alive, I’ve made myself smaller to make others feel safe, I’ve made myself smaller to make others feel better.
In these 33 years of shrink-contortion I’ve become a near professional shapeshifter. Shapeshifting has provided me with, if not the full life I desired, a kind of safety.
And then a worldwide pandemic came in and blew the roof off the thing.
(All bets are off now.)
Almost dying will do that to you, it turns out. I have thrown out the playbook, have gone deep within the well of myself until I returned with a full understanding. The resulting album is too big and too broad and too beautiful to shrink itself to make others feel comfortable.
The resulting woman is, too.
So here I am with you, dear bobi. This album has shattered my ability to hold on to my old reality, because at its heart it is very much not the work of an underdog. It is the work, instead, of someone who stands fully in herself.
The album is self titled. And, unless something goes wrong, it will be officially announced on my birthday on May 12th (aren’t you glad you read all the way to the bottom of this t-talk!) (to get the big juicy secrets!)
I’m saying it here so that I say it here. Because, through an entire year and a half every Sunday, you have been here with me. Allowed me to be brave, fearful, allowed me to be my full fucking size. Allowed me to cry on airplanes and rejoice on Grecian beaches.
I’m saying it here because I deserve to say it here. Thank you for letting me do it.
I cannot the fuck wait for you to be one step closer to holding this album in your hand. There will be a 30 day pre-order crowdfund campaign on the vinyl to make it happen (another terrifying sentence to type!). I’ll need your help to get there, and will have more information then.
But for now, as the sun weirdly peeks its way through snowy Amsterdamian clouds, I’m just living in the beautiful sunshine of the masters being finished.
A month or so ago, when we first booked Frank Arkwright of Abbey Road, I saw my favorite thing on the back of a shelf at the supermarket here in Hamsterdance: A pack of glass bottle Coca Colas.
I craned and strained to grab them, and told myself that when the masters were finally finished, I’d crack one open.
So here I am today, my love. Full sized and ready. I didn’t allow myself to celebrate the night I got the masters, and I’m so happy I didn’t, because of course (!) Sunday is the day to finally celebrate.
More next week.
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