Radical Honesty

In the book “Extras” by Scott Westerfeld (fourth book of the Uglies series), we hear the term “Radical Honesty.” It’s a surgical procedure where someone elects to have their brain re-wired so that they can only speak the truth. Always. No exceptions.

My jewelry pieces are in a store for the first time – Susie Q Boutique on Knapp – and I’m having some doubts. The other person whose work is there is amazing – and it shows. Everything from her pieces to the way she has them displayed to the little cards with her name on them says “professional.” Mine don’t quite have that impact. More like “gee, I like playing with this wire stuff… wonder if anybody would buy it?”

And my prices are higher – of necessity, since I’m working with sterling silver and 14k gold filled wire, natural stones (like Malachite, which is REALLY expensive right now…) and such. Makes the cost higher to produce, thus it’s pricier. And I’m not sure it’s apparent at first glance that there’s a reason for that cost.

Then I come home and think of the stacks and stacks of CDs in the basement… and I wonder if working on the third one is even worth it.

Vicki is yelling at the monitor right now… that’s why I’m writing this while she’s at work. 😀

So I need a dose of Radical Honesty. Is the stuff I make with my hands and tools worth anything except keeping me out of Pine Rest? Is it worth the cost to produce another CD? Should I quit fooling around with these creative pursuits and get on with finding something to do that actually brings benefit (and moola) into our house?

So, if the stuff is junk, or the price isn’t justified, could somebody tell me? If I should sell the tools, refine the rest of the wire and put it all away, just tell me. Because my doubts and fears are pretty loud right now.

If the music is pablum, predictable and lifeless, say something. if the thought of another album coming out is an exercise in futility, let me know.

I don’t want to be the person that keeps on pursuing his “artistic vision” when other sane voices are saying “dude – you rot at this.” And, of course, they’re saying it everywhere but to his face… I’m not fishing for attaboys here – I honestly have self-doubt and fears and questions nagging at my head, and would not be wanting to waste time and resources for something that just isn’t worth the pursuit.

So, Radical Honesty? Anybody?…


  1. I’ll bite. I absolutely think you should make more, and then more.

    Radical honestly compels me to say I don’t much enjoy your cds, simply because they don’t rub my music bone the right way. I *do* however, believe that the music is very very good.

    I’m able to appreciate quality in music that I dont enjoy the style of, and that let’s me recognize that you make good stuff, and should make more.

    Some amazingly gifted artists haven’t been recognized for YEARS, many not until after their death. When they were making their art, *no-one* would have said “this is great, people will be looking at this 100 years from now”. And yet it happens all the time.

    God made you an artist, and I think it’s your obligation to make art with it, whether YOU see the results or not.

    I do enjoy the Christmas cd though. 🙂

  2. Anonymous says:

    I don’t know much about jewelry, and that may be the problem. If there is not a blatant visible difference between the higher carat metals and stones and the lower carat [that would be obvious to us lay people], it might be worth while to produce some pieces with the lower carat material, and keep the higher carat material for special orders.

    As for music, you know where I stand on that. I’ve been listening to you for gees, over 20 years now (or somewhere in that range). If you are worried that it is not “catching” or appealing to people, you can always run it through the Mulderizer2000 filter/modifier (I would love to sit down early on in the process and help hash out ideas and sounds…I work cheap too). [I do have to qualify the previous statement with the fact that you have produced more music commercially than myself, but I always have ideas.]

    The key is if it makes Cal happy, that is enough [of course you don’t want to go broke in the process…].

    Slim Jim

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