A Long, Dry Year

Its been a year since I released any new music – and it was a cover at that:

2012 (and 2013 so far) has been bone dry in the creative musical output department. This alone wouldn’t be so horrible if I were focused and engaged on some other goal. But alas, I’ve been adrift.

In the entry for 2008 in my artist bio I confess to having suffered an early mid-life crisis. I bounced back and forth to different goals, searching for something to stick with, desperate to somehow escape my slowly revealed destiny as an obscure, middle-class professional with nothing to show but a nice family, secure house and small rainy day fund. I would mutter “bullshit” to myself whenever some well-meaning friend sympathetically told me to be proud of my accomplishments. Milestones don’t mean shit if you don’t hit your goals. And my goal of working all day, every day on music was dying in an otherwise pleasant, domestic obscurity.

Well, last year I had another panic episode like 2008, that sent me off to swing at yet another handful of crazy ideas:

  1. Internet Marketing Schemes (blogs, micro-niche promotion sites, ad arbitrage, etc.)
  2. Internet Marketing Applied to Music – ala guru John Oszajca
  3. 4-hour workweek “muse” cash flow-generating businesses
  4. Finally…software-as-a-service business

All I’ve had to show for the first 2 are a series of crappy sites (like this one selling Dubstep Samples for DJs), and fun-but-work blog articles on BenSommer.com that are meant to draw in like-minded visitors searching the web for music like mine (my Top 20 Best Rush Songs article is #1 on Google for several relevant keywords like “Best Rush Songs“).

You see – I’m running away from mediocrity. I tried the path that said do what you love, squeeze your passion into every free moment of your life and try to succeed on the margin. That sucked. I’m now trying what Henry David Thoreau suggested for those freedom-yearning men who have become too encumbered to reduce and simplify – focus like hell on becoming financially independent, and thereby buy back your freedom.

I always have Thoreau ringing in my ears: I am the man who leads a life of quiet desperation. Add to this desperation certain other worldly stresses this year like:

  1. Trying to sell a house that refuses to be sold
  2. Carrying a pretzel franchise that is another money-losing albatross around the neck
  3. Uncertainty over where I will live next year and how my kids are to be raised and educated…

This is all what’s been making me bone-dry creatively.

I will release another song or two soon – just to keep up my cred and prove it to myself and you call that I can do it. But for the remainder of the year I am focused on Thoreau’s Last Mission for Free Men. Wish me luck.

  • http://twitter.com/RobinLauren Robin Lauren

    I wish you luck, but more than that, i wish you inspiration!

    • bensommer

      Thank you Robin!

  • Juha Snake Uronen

    Go_Go dude
    Nothing wrong with giving it your best shot!
    I´ve been trying to free myself too
    No luck yet but i aint backing down

    • bensommer

      Like Yoda says: There is no try. Do or do not!

  • MW

    Ben don’t be so hard on yourself… you’ve done more music in the last 5 years than most people do in a lifetime…. look at the big picture and long term man…. Speakie Engrish is a classic!!!

  • JZ

    I agree with MW (hey man, been too long) don’t be so hard on yourself. Continual productivity isn’t always good or possible. Maybe you’re just a bit cyclical. I dig that you have a pretzel franchise, I can just imagine the whole scenario. Those must be some far out pretzels. I miss hanging out with you and the rest. Come visit us in London. Kid number 2 is on the way sometime in september!

    • bensommer

      Thx JZ – I miss you too! My kids will babysit yours!

      Pretzels are evil and not nutritious!