My big trip to New Orleans January 22-26, 2020

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If you can help make this happen, please make a donation on my facebook page above

or to: 

https://www.paypal.me/courtneyyasmineh

The fact is that I'm a crazy person living on the fumes of the vehicle that is my dreams.

There is no wiggle room.

There is a looming mountain of debt that follows me like the Rocky Mountains on the horizon.

If anything I've ever created hits the big time I can pay it all off.

If I die first, my children are not burdened by their parent's debts.

If I sit still and take a full time job in Minneapolis I could slowly whittle it down.

If I make big bold moves like heading to the Folk Alliance Conference in New Orleans on every last cent available to me, I might just break on through to the other side.

If I keep developing my Courtney Yasmineh brand I might just start making enough money to become solvent while doing the work I love most.

Okay, so, even if I have to say it every single day, I'm going for it here and there's no real reason not to.

Suicide is not an option, but living like the walking dead isn't either.

My mother over Christmas referred to my "sputtering music career".

She thinks it's very bad that I'm attempting to go to this conference in New Orleans.

I'm going to sell the last of my clothes that I don't wear very often today.

I'm going to finish writing my proposal for a $5000 grant called the "next step" grant in Minneapolis for artists.

I'm going to have a meeting today with a wonderful music mentor who'll be at the conference the whole time I'm down there and is offering to help me make the most of my time there.

I signed up for one of the bunk beds in a room of four women at the local hostel in New Orleans for $30 a night to keep costs down.

I'm doing this, people.

Also, someone suggested to me that maybe I get off on risk and peril in life.

That's just not true.

I have a vision and a dream and it was promised to me by the stained glass Jesus at my Lutheran church in Chicago when I sang in the choir at eight years of age.

I'm making good on that promise until the day I die.

Over Christmas when I sang in the church choir, I felt it all over again.

When the choir director asked me to play guitar and sing a verse solo on my final Sunday in the choir I felt it all over again.

It's something.

I can't explain it to you.

Bob Dylan says "you gotta serve somebody".

I know who I'm serving.

I've got a pact with my God and I'm going to live it out or live it down but I'm not going to ever turn my back on it again.

Help me or don't help me.

Be glad or be mad.

It's not for my mother to say.

She has her own way to go.

I have mine.

I didn't come up with this conference idea anyway.

I'd never even heard of it until a week ago.

But when the suggestion was made and the offer was made I saw a light, a lantern in the foggy distance, and I felt I should try to make it there.

That's what I'm doing.

Plane ticket purchased.

Registration for the conference completed.

$500 of the $750 goal I set for my fundraiser completed.

I am praising God and Man and getting ready to pass the margaritas.

This is happening.

"Baby how you feeling?

Feeling good as hell!"

(that's a Lizzo quote)

Folk Alliance International Conference 2020 here I come!

Folk Alliance here I come!

Can you believe this?

You and I who have sat here every morning pondering the existence of God, did we ever believe that a forlorn woman like me would ever be suddenly flying to New Orleans in this very same month of January?

What?!?!?!?

How can this be happening?

Do you see what a miracle this is?


Rumi was right.

His advice, all these centuries has been to "spring forward and the way will open before you".

I think he's been right all along.

A friend of mine who has accomplished a great deal in his life, and who is a fan of this blog, has this Rumi quote as part of his signature at the bottom of his emails.

He has done things seemingly from scratch all his life, so I think he knows that Rumi is right.

I am learning that Rumi must be right.

If you start off in the direction of your vision and your dream, you're ten thousand times more likely to get there than if you sit on your bed and ruminate over how stuck you are.

There you have it folks.

Take any step you can.

Get out a piece of paper and write down the dream.

Go for a walk and envision the dream.

Call someone and ask to meet with them to talk about the dream.

Just do those things.

It will lead to one more footstep in front of one more footstep.

And one morning you'll wake up in New Orleans on your way to meet with Ani DiFranco to hear her opinions of what you should do next.

Yep.

This is going to happen to me.

And whatever you want can happen to you.

I am the living proof.

No, it's not a showcase performance, but it's a first time in the door.

My dream is to stand and sing at the Newport Folk Festival.

It's definitely one step closer than my bed in my bedroom to that.

If you'd like to help me pay for the $60 a night room with shared bath, a mile walk from the conference hotel, please consider sending money to these links:

https://www.paypal.me/courtneyyasmineh

 

or on facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/donate/608320113313629/10216700406966757/

 

Folk Alliance Conference in New Orleans waived the $500 fee for me!

Well, it makes you feel like you have to do it when the conference you were wishing you could attend suddenly gives you a free admission voucher, when the cost is $500 normally.

I spoke to Rob about this and he says it's a very exciting opportunity and I should try to make it happen.

I would fly down and stay three nights.

All workshops and opportunities would be free for me once I'm there.

On the Saturday night I've been offered an opportunity to perform a few of my songs.

I set up a fundraiser on Facebook and so far one kind soul, a fan from the East Coast, has donated $10!

The vision for me is putting on my big tan cowboy hat that I wore all last Fall on tour, and putting my GSMini travel guitar in the tan carry-on case, throwing a few extra clothes plus my books and CDs and vinyl records in my little rolling carry on suitcase, hopping on a plane and leaving the frozen tundra for New Orleans, walking around as my best self down there, meeting others in the Folk genre, others who might care about my music and me, it's a dream.

It's a plane ticket and a hotel room reservation away now.

The conference was the biggest expense!

If I raise $500 I can swing it.

That's if everyone who reads this blog this morning gives something, if everyone who rads my facebook post gives something.

If people like my music and my blog and my shows, maybe they'll feel like they want to help me go to this next level this year.

My next album will come out this Fall 2020 and it'll be Folk again.

This conference would help make that record better in a lot of ways.

And that record will get a bigger platform to stand on in the world.

I am praying I can do this.

If you feel the desire to support this sudden dream, you can go to my facebook page to donate or you can paypal me any amount that suits you: 

https://www.paypal.me/courtneyyasmineh

Pray for me for this.

I want to be there.

It's January 22-26, 2020 so this will either happen or it won't.

 

grant writing

I had a productive day yesterday

I wrote my blog post and drank coffee.

I did yoga with Nina, day 10 of the HOME with Adriene Youtube series.

I went for breakfast with one of my dearest friends and best supporters.

She bought me a salmon scramble and I was in Heaven.

She also gave me money to pay for the t shirts I've ordered for upcoming shows!

Black t shirts with the Jon Hunt mod poster design for Songs From The Open Road.

That's the combination that fans have asked for the most, so I'll finally have it!

They should be pretty cool!

After the breakfast meeting I picked up Nina and we went together to a grant writing workshop.

The workshop was held at a public library near where we live.

We both got a lot out of the session.

The idea of the grant is for an artist to present an idea that will help them take the "next step" in their career.

It's called the "Next Step" grant and it's $5000.

Five hundred artists apply and about twenty or thirty get one each year.

Here are the things I want to do with it:

 

I'd use the $5000 to trade in my Jeep which has 130,000 miles and has some issues.

I'd get a brand new Jeep for touring so I feel confident on the road.

OR....

I'd work with the publicist and mentor I met with last Friday and set up a year of promotional touring for Songs From The Open Road.

I'd tour all over making inroads in the folk networks all over America doing radio promo and as many shows as possible.

OR......

I'd head to Nashville, and then to Austin, Texas and then to Santa Fe, NM just to immerse myself in the Folk songwriter life for a month or two until I get the songs for the next album done.

 

The woman who's in charge of this grant process said some very poignant things yesterday.

She said that this intended to be a very "selfish" grant for an artist to expand their own artistry and take a next step, and that when the money is spent the artist will be changed for the better in an ongoing way.

She said the artist should dream big and put out the biggest next step dream they can think of.

She said that the artist should be aware of a "barrier" that's keeping the artist from breaking through to the next level in their career trajectory.

She said that "money" is not a barrier.

She said there's a more art based barrier that the money can be applied to....hmmmmm............

She said that a "next project" is not good enough.

A next album, a next painting, a next exhibit, is not a good proposal.

I suppose you can keep funding your albums and keep making albums but not really be going to a next level at all.

Very challenging thoughts here!

So just saying that I want to put out another album with Rob Genadek and he gets the $5000 would not necessarily change my artistic life.

This is so interesting to me because I've always known that just doing these steps and saying "it's my eighth album!" "I played a hundred and fifty shows last year!" is not the same as really reaching a new audience or taking it all up to a new level.

Not the same at all.

Recently, before I "gave up" and surrendered for Advent, Rob G fatefully said to me, "You know, it isn't necessarily a compliment when people are saying to you more and more that you're the hardest working songwriter in town. That's not saying you're the best, or the one they enjoy the most. They're just saying they see how hard you're trying. That's not the same as making it look easy. Artists are supposed to make it look easy."

Grinding it out and counting every penny is not making it look easy.

Hmmmmmmm..........

The grant officiator woman also said to be careful what you wish for, because when the time comes, if you are awarded the grant, you will be expected to execute the plan as proposed, whether you feel like it or not.

Will you still feel like flying to Paris and taking painting classes every day for a month?

Maybe that's what mine should be!

Bob Dylan is a really good painter!

Any suggestions?

The grant proposal is due January 27th.

Think big.

Write one for yourself too!

 

dreams and reality

So many wonderful dreams lately.

I dreamed that I was living in a lovely old Victorian house and there was a window that looked out to a little side porch.  

Snow was falling and all through the day lovely cheery friends and strangers were dropping little notes on a small table on the porch.

The people had hand written all these little notes saying how much they appreciated my music and my writing.

Ha!

Isn't that delightful?

Last night I dreamt that a tour was being planned and everyone, all my favrite fans and friends were all coming along on the whole tour.

We got on a large airplane and everyone knew that everyone was on board for my tour.

I looked around and told myself that this was all about me and I felt the responsibility but also the joy of it.

Okay, so, those are my weird dreams lately.....

I am fully aware of just exactly how self absorbed that is.

But you have to understand that all my life my dreams have been scary.

Scary dreams of everything bad happening.

The roof caving in on the house, the children stranded on loose boards because the floor of our house was falling through.

Bad dreams were all my life my specialty.

So don't judge.

Who cares if the new dreams are all about me getting what I've always wanted?

They're inclusive and they're appreciative of my fans.

How nice is that?

So meanwhile in real life, my not playing shows this past six weeks has taken it's toll on my precarious financial situation.

What I've been doing is treading water after a couple rough years of living on credit cards.

The two credit cards kept extending my line of credit and I kept spending, believing that my work would start to turn the corner.

My work is turning the corner but it's taking so much time.

It has never been my intention to eek out a salary that is below poverty level by being an artist for the rest of my life.

My idea was to raise my acclaim and build on my good name.

Well, my name was tarnished by my ambition and unscrupulous pushy desperation.

And my credit cards maxed out eventually.

Now I pay the minimum monthly payments and then use that money again to survive on for the month.

The interest is charged each month and I'm right back to maxed out.

I live at Rob's house and Nina my daughter is here working at being and independent artist as well.

We give Rob the beauty and joy of a happy household and we pay all the utilities every month.

But I need something big to change my debt situation.

And my only prospects for something big happening in my life is to keep making original art in hopes that I'm getting closer to making something that the world can truly love.

And if I do, then the money will come.

In the meantime, because I have taken a new stand on not playing every lousy little show three or four nights a week and burning out my own soul, and because I got in trouble with a ticket for talking while driving and a fine from a German rental car company that I think was unfair but whatever, now I'm in zero money land again.

I have a very nice house concert next Saturday.

I have a client this week on Monday.

I signed up three months ago to get my hair cut by my favorite stylist who only comes to Minneapolis a couple times a year.

The haircut is tomorrow.

It's $100 because she's the best.

I've been cutting my own hair for two years now.

I wanted to do this.

Now I feel it would be poor integrity to cancel.

There must be a way.

I have sold many of my clothes recently, as I've written here.

I don't want to get to the point where I'm actually selling the things I love best.

And I don't want to sell guitars.

I have been advertising for more artist consultation clients and I have a new client starting in February.

I don't know.

Feel free to say what you think.

Oh!

And in the meantime I got a full scholarship to take a very promising screenwriting course!

It's for eight weeks starting January 20th.

The instructor is a Black man who is very accomplished.

I can't wait.

I'm sure his perspectives and insights will be refreshing and stimulating for me.

And the class is for only ten people so it'll be great!!!!

I will survive and the year 2020 will hold more mysterious miracles.

The Universe will rise up to co-conspire with you if your heart is in the right place.

I know this to be true.

Have faith and all will blossom.

All things are mine for I am loved, how can I keep from singing!

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