Pride and Vanity


Vain woman in mirror - clip art from OpenClipArtI never saw myself as a proud or vain person. There’s too much ‘wrong’ with me to warrant that. I know full well that I’m not perfect, that I have lots to learn and that there’s more out there than what I think, but I understood something on Friday that made me stop and think for a moment.

I went to a live gig at The Musician. It went to see a reggae band called By The Rivers. I love these guys. I remember when I first heard them last year, at Summer Sundae, it was fabulous; a very clear, upbeat and pure reggae sound that has only become better as the year has progressed. Anyway, I went to see them and enjoyed listening to the tracks and singing along as I always do.

Right at the end, when it was all over and we were all thinking about going home, the live music gave way to the DJ at the back of the place and, to stay with the theme and feel of the night, a whole load of reggae music came on. Now, I grew up listening to reggae. I have my dad to thank for that, but, being Jamaican, what else might you expect from him? I’ve talked about this before; the likes of Peter Tosh, Bob Marley, John Holt and so on, but the songs take me back to my childhood. And when 54-46 Was My Number came on I was singing along merrily.

I love this track! ^_^

But the point I’m getting to was that while I was bouncing around and singing to it, other people were too. And… that I was surprised by that. o.O The place was rammed with ‘younger folk,’ like from about 20 years old to about 25 (when the hell did that become younger? ugh!). That sort of crowd always shows up when By The Rivers play with a full band (and for their acoustic sets actually), but I was surprised to see these people singing. Not that they’re massively younger than me – of course they aren’t – but they were singing along to a track that I first heard when I was probably about five years old. Some of them hadn’t been born yet! But I was surprised that these people were singing and enjoying the tracks as much as, if not more than, me.

What’s with that?!

I can’t decide if ‘vain’ is the right word, but that’s what immediately came to mind when I realised what I was doing. After all; why shouldn’t they like/enjoy/know the same music that I do? There’s nothing special about my tastes in music to mark me out.

Then I started thinking about it a little bit more; I was curious you see. I started to think of other points where I had decided, or at least assumed that I was the only one who did a certain thing. I think I talked about it a while back but I realised that I’m not alone in many of my hobbies. There are plenty of other people who LARP and write, or run radio shows, or write about vampires, or play RPGs, run online RPG forums. I used to think that all of these things marked me out but, actually, that’s part of why my choose profession is so competitive. Because LOTS of people are doing it! I’m certainly not the only author writing about vampires right now and when I began fourteen years ago, that was even more the truth. It might have died off slightly now because all of the stuff that was written when I began is starting to come to the end of its ‘shelf life’ or reach the point where newer stuff is going to take over.

Is that vain? I think that counts. To assume just for a second that I am more than a drop in the ocean of millions and millions of other people? Then I thought about this film:

Then this line came to me:

John Milton: Vanity, definitely my favourite sin.

Not to say that I’m upset by this. But I think its important that I understand it; because it will stop me falling into traps later. I need to remember that competition is high because there are people out there just as talented, if not more so, as me and that they may well be trying to do the same thing. I need to keep in mind that for every success I have, there will be at least two failures to balance them out. Not to put me off, or frighten myself, but to keep me grounded and level headed. That’s important to me after all.

I also, while I was at this gig, spent a lot of time watching Matt. I was right in front of Nile (I could have reached out and grabbed his knee; in fact at one point I wanted to, but that would definitely be classed as distracted!) but it was a bit too close to watch him. It would have involved a crick-neck. So I got to share my gaze across the back and sides of the stage (oh, and just as an aside, I LOVE the fact that the drum kit is moved forward when these guys arrange themselves. So often the drums are lost at the back of the stage, but I hear that Jordan won’t have it any other way). But I was watching the way Matt’s fingers danced on the frets of his guitar and thinking of my guitar hanging on the wall. Then I realised part of why its so hard for me to do some of the things I want to do at times.

I’m spreading myself too thin.

I write. I run a radio show. I work. I play pen and paper RPGs as well as online ones and LARPs. Into that mix I tried to add Lindy Hop and learning to play a six string acoustic guitar. I don’t have time! More than that, I don’t have the creative energy to expend on it. My wanting to learn guitar, I feel, is a product of my seeing bands like By The Rivers, Wife Divorces Man Accused of Hotel Leap, Free Control, Random Hand and telling myself that it would be lovely to do the same thing. And of course it would! But that’s not where my talent lies. My talent lies in writing and by distracting myself from that, I haven’t been doing myself any favours. I think I made something of a decision then to leave the music to people who can do it and I’ll concentrate on doing what I can do. Probably wise, right?

Not to say that I won’t try or learn new things. But I have plenty of time to do that. There’s no rush. Let’s go through one goal at a time.

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About Ileandra Young

I'm a thirty-*mumbles* year old (purple loving, cheese worshipping) author of fantasy, juggling a pair of beautiful twin boys with my burning desire to make up stories and write them all down. When I get the chance, I play games, listen to music, and in days long past I even ran a radio show. Though I occasionally write non-fiction, my heart lives in fantasy and my debut novel, Silk Over Razor Blades is now available through Amazon along with part two of the trilogy, Walking The Razor's Edge.
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