Monday, September 13, 2021

Coming Home

 Whew. I think I shook something OFF. It worried me a great deal. And then, sometimes I couldn't care.

I was going most of the week without touching a guitar. Or singing. Or even listening. All during 2020, I did a weekly live stream, and that was pretty much it. And a songwriting group. A sporadic outside gig came my way. But I felt there wasn't really a reason to play. I certainly couldn't play WITH anyone. The usual time I spent doing music??? There were a lot of other things to do. Zoom meetings. Learning to use sanitizer on everything all the time. Shopping in brief spurts. Actually cooking at home (!!!!!). 

Things with covid started to loosen up some with the vaccine, and Rick, my partner, could come around and practice with me. The gigs started up. It seemed hard getting back into the swing of things, but I sort of expected that. 

Then one very hot day I mowed in the sun, didn't drink or eat adequately, and nearly passed out at the beginning of the gig. Went home ill. And embarrassed. SOOOOO ashamed. You know, the show must go on... but I could not. 

That is when I actually started wondering if I really enjoy this. I had no interest in picking up the guitar and singing during the week, and I realized that I spent a lot of energy on the WORK-- lugging equipment, walking into a place you have never been before, worry about ALL SORTS of things (if you gig, you get it)-- and was not actually ENJOYING it, at all. And then, I f&^*g get sick in front of an audience of folk who came to support me!!! Sigh.

I said to Rick, I think I am going to quit this.

Looking straight at me, he said something to the effect of, "You know that is not possible for you".

His words kinda hit me in the face. Like when my friend Jennifer from Seattle, where I was planning to move, visited me. One day we were in Hudson and she said, "This place is in you. You belong here, you know." At first, I rebelled, but later realized she was RIGHT. So, at first, my gut reaction to Rick's comment was WRONG (I have no memory of what I said back at the time) but as I mulled it over, I realized...Yeah. It is not possible. I could see there was a big gaping hole right now inside of me where the music used to live. A big dark hole. 

I have read a variety of books on habit building and motivation and creativity. And overall, they all say the same thing. Don't wait for the motivation. Start the BEHAVIOR and the motivation will come. 


So every day I write in my journal that I intend to make music and if I did the day before. That means I HAVE to do it. Pick up the guitar and sing every day. Just like I had for YEARS, up until last year. 

I don't have a goal on time or songs or anything like that. In those same books, you can read that really, just TRIGGERING a behavior usually means you will continue. It was really hard work for quite a while. Rick and I were gigging, and we want to be ON, so that was the PUSH. 

I also spent time purposefully looking for the JOY. The sound that grabs you. The lyric that tickles your mind. And I concentrated more on THOSE than the lugging and worry. And the joy grew. And in turn, the time WITH the music grew outside of the rehearsals and gigging. And it felt like less work and more JOY. 

It did not happen overnight, but I can say now that I am again at the point where a day is not complete unless I spend time with my guitar and voice. I am reviewing and making demos of the songs I wrote during the covid shut down, realizing how very very dark they are and wondering how, when I felt so barren, they arrived. But they did, I guess from a deep dark place somewhere in the hole that was music in me. 

Seems like maybe Rick could still see it there. I am glad.