I’m struggling with an odd issue. I don’t know that I’ve handled it right-or if there is a right, but I’m doing what I think is best for this moment.
Pete did a monthly newsletter in which he talked about new music, upcoming shows, and product sales. You know, the usual artist update to keep fans engaged and to sell tickets and merchandise. After much debate in my own mind, and about six months after Pete died, I decided that it was time to connect with his supporters to let them know that I was doing okay, and that his music was still available. So, I sent out a newsletter. I felt guilty as soon as I hit SEND, as if I was acting like business was as usual. Business wasn’t as usual. I tried so hard to put my wife hat on when appropriate, and put my manager hat on when appropriate, and now I tried to think like Pete’s manager. What needed to be done next? When should I try and unearth unreleased music? What needed my attention?
Many fans wrote back and told me that they were so relieved I wasn’t closing down the website and that they could still buy all of Pete’s stuff, but a couple of people wrote to me and basically said it was unnerving to see Pete’s name pop up in their email and that they wanted to be taken off the mailing list. A bunch opted-out of getting the newsletters. Nobody was vicious, but it triggered my worst fears, that I was doing something that came off as insincere or that appeared to be taking advantage of my situation.
So here’s my quandary: First and foremost I’m Pete’s wife, and I live in fear of looking like I’m capitalizing on his death or exploiting people’s emotions to make a sale. So when is too soon? When is too late? Or maybe I should behave like it’s all over—no more Pete, no more music.
I’m also Pete’s manager, and his manager knows that he and I worked long and hard, 18 years in fact, to achieve the success he achieved, and that he was proud of what we built. My mission, as it always has been, is to spread the name and the music of Pete Huttlinger far and wide, and expose people to his gifts.
Then, again, I’m Pete’s wife, and I know he created this music with every inch of his being and hoped the music would outlive him. He would also have wanted his legacy of music to take care of his wife and kids financially, long after he’s gone.
In fact, after much positive encouraging, a number of Pete’s fans/friends/students convinced me that I should carry on the Pete Huttlinger Guitar & Fly Fishing Camp in Montana. At first I wouldn’t even consider it, but then after some time I realized how wonderful it would be to have something with Pete’s name attached to it that would continue into the future. So we’re doing it this August.
I guess this is one of those no-win situations. It could be that I’m the only one who worries about it and nobody else even notices. I also know, having been in the music business for so long, what people say when record companies release music not long after their artist passes away. I’ve heard criticisms of other widows who do something “too soon” and are just trying to make money while they can. I might have even been somebody who criticized (God I hope not).
Here’s all I know. The music can’t die with him.
What's your quandary?