Sunday, September 30, 2012

Spreading Fun Around

Life gets heavy. And the older we get, the harder it is to shake off the collective weight of The Bad Stuff. People disappoint. People betray. People you like and admire die. Time will whittle away at your optimism; at your spirit; at your views on what life can be.

If you let it.

I don't use this blog as a forum for my problems, but I may have mentioned that it's been a hard year.

(It's been a hard year.)

Actually, it's been more like two.

So yeah, life been heavy. And although I count my blessings and go through my litany of All Good Things, that's not the same as feeling joy or having fun.

So Mark (being the great guy he is), decided I needed a distraction and booked our family band (Risky Whippet) for a 3-hour gig at a club (uh, make that bar/saloon). The four of us have worked up about 35 songs (sneaking in about 6 originals) of mostly danceable rock.

With a little Metallica.

And Deep Dark Robot.

And Alice in Chains...

There is something exquisitely fun and indescribably therapeutic about playing in a rock band, and being in one with your husband and sons is 'nother-worldly. How lucky am I that my kids don't think it's completely dorky to play in a band with their parents.

Yeah, I know. Don't pinch me.

Very often when someone finds out we have a band I get the comment "I always wanted to be in a rock band!" And most often it's "I always dreamed of singing back-up in a rock band." Like they want to be up there and be part of it, but not in a scary out-front sort of way.

So I got to thinking that I wanted to help people check that one off their bucket list. I got this big urge to spread the fun around. After all, I don't have a corner on life feeling heavy. Everyone needs a little fun infused now and then.

So we came up with the idea of the Whip-ettes -- friends we would invite to come up and sing background on a few songs. I bought some cool purple-and-green sunglasses. ($3 close out at Claire's!) Three purple feather boas were dug out of my closet. (An old Sammy Keyes and the Sisters of Mercy prop, of course!) Friends were invited, purple tights have been ordered, and after two great rehearsals, I know the Whip-ettes are ready!

The eyes behind the shades on the left belong to my sister. I called her the Reluctant Whip-ette because singing in a rock band was definitely not on her bucket list. She doesn't like loud music. Stages make her nervous. I had a Whip-ette waiting list, but I hounded her and promised her she'd have fun, and after our first rehearsal she was a convert. It was so cool to watch her get into it!

If there's a point to be made here it's that the times I feel the happiest is when I've managed to make someone else happy. Life really is too short and gets too heavy to not make an effort to infuse it with joy, not just for ourselves, but for the people we know. Cut loose. Act a little silly. And spread the fun around.

We'll probably post pictures from the show on our RiskyWhippet FaceBook page if you want to investigate. Meanwhile, have a good week, find some fun, and spread it around!


Gabrielle said...

It does feel really good helping people. Just doing something that makes them happy. That's one of the things that I like about you Wendelin. And that's one of the things Iike about your books,they always have like (for the lack of better words) life lessons. :)

Caradith Craven said...

Finding creative ways to bring joy,fun, and happiness to others is what makes you so special. It draws so many to you and to your books that do the same thing. Have a blast Saturday night as you bring musical fun to to the stage.

Kylie said...

That's so cool! I loved how you are giving them boas! It is really cool what you are doing too!


Yusa said...

This is such a coincidence.... I haven't been having the best year either. I was all depressed and life just felt pointless. I mean I felt pointless. This weekend i cured myself. I decided to stop being selfish and my goal is to help people. Even if i can't help myself. You are AMAZING and thank you for this post! I really needed it...

P.S. I GOT MY FIRST PAIR OF HI-TOPS AND I LOVE THEM! I found the perfect ones on sale and they're turquoise-ish green and BEAUTIFUL. It's about time.... now all i need is a skateboard and to learn how to ride one. I saw one at Goodwill for $7....

Anonymous said...

AH so much fun! I LOVE Alice in Chains <<<333
I was in a couple bands freshman and sophomore year. Just some local garage bands that as quickly faded out as they had faded in.
Yeah so ever since junior year I've done my own solo musician thing I write my own music and stuff...Not ever planning on becoming a musician. But it's a passion.
It's so dope that you guys have a family band seriously, that's awesome!!
Hahah LOVE the idea of the Whippettes (spelling?) very retro, very cool, very FUN.
Yes I agree. Along with stress and work and etcetera life is about having fun also not stressing and enjoying the moment
Now, I need to go do homework. Have a good week everyone, I'll be in Massachusetts for my 18th birthday this week whooohooo<3

Yusa said...

Happy Early Birthday!!!

Optimistic4ever said...

I love that you guys have a family band! And rock, which makes it even awesomer!

Spread the Love!

Happy early bday Steph!

Anonymous said...

Haayyy thanks guys :)

Unknown said...

"Keep looking up . . . that's the secret of life" -Snoopy =)

Jessica said...

Happy Birthday, Steph!

Wendelin, you've inspired me to tackle two things on my bucket list for my birthday next month (the Day of the Dead, so it's pretty appropriate): escaloptering and riding a mechanical bull. I have a month to find a suitable escalator and bull.

Wendelin Van Draanen said...

Love to you all!

Yusa: xo + Congratulations on the high tops!

Steph: Happy #18 -- I can't believe you're only 18

Jessica: Mechanical bull = scary! And I will ask what we are all wondering: What is escaloptering ? (Escape + Elope + Helicopter-ing ??)

Jessica said...

Escaloptering is when you find two escalators (an up and a down) side by side, and lie down on the handrails between the two. You'll end up spinning counterclockwise on top of the railings. (You can find lots of video examples.) It's really silly, but it looks fun. I'm the kind of person who has to try something like that once I see it.

Wendelin Van Draanen said...

Whoa! That is so Sammy! I hope you'll holler, Beware fair citizens! as you spin. (And please don't fall.)

Yusa said...

Jessica, that looks so much fun! I want to try it.
So the other day i was late for school and i couldn't find my sandals so i wore my hi-tops.... i was wearing this long dress that so didn't go with them, but i then realized that it was like AOD where Sammy wore it with her dress... Today i went true sammy with jeans and a sweatshirt.... Ahhh 3 months until Sin City!!!

Kylie said...

That totally reminds me of me. I don't wear dress AT ALL and I had to wear one in April for my sophomore project. My shoes though we're converse. My orange ones to be exact. That was my deal with my sisters was that I would wear a dress if I got to wear my converse with it. Even though everyone was telling me a should wear dress more I told them to take a picture because it would last longer.

Gabrielle said...

I can't wait for sin city!!!! Escaloptering sounds cool! I would probably be to scared to try it. I don't wear dresses that often,I probably only wore a dress like two three times tops this summer. And by the way my friend is totally addicted to Sammy Keyes!! She loves them!! :D

Yusa said...

I wouldn't wear dresses if i had a choice, but my dress code is a bit more.... complicated.
Loose clothing covering every part of me but my feet, hands, and face. Don't know what to wear half the time...