I’m buying a guitar today. A used one, nothing fancy. Acoustic. From a woman on Craigslist, you know how that works. I’ve been wanting to buy one for a while now, even though I don’t know how to play- my plan is to teach myself. Last winter I “collaborated” with a musician friend of mine, as I’ve written lots of words that are melodic in nature and in my head they are songs and we did pretty well. Then he became fussy and whiny and a hostage to what I learned was his low self-esteem and claimed some sort of existential angst about “what is talent?” and “what does it all matter?” and don’t ask and blah blah blah.
There quickly came a point where the cons of being a party to all that far outweighed the pros, and it was in our mutual best interest really if I just learned to do for myself.
Walk the crooked trail.
This way I could write and play my own music while I sing what I’ve written, and loudly too, and over and over if I want (or softly if need be), and put the whole hot mess out into the world exactly as it exists and sounds in my head, unabashedly too mind you, as if it were my last day on earth. A scary proposition eh? For you yeh, but for me even more so.
A new can of worms.
Not that you asked, but I’m gonna tell you anyway: it’s all about the risk. The risk of failure and things not working out as planned. I can’t help being most comfortable when being called on the carpet. I have high and usually spot-on expectations and am always enthusiastic and eager to STRETCH myself. It’s good to try something new, right? I’ve been that way as long as I remember and always hope to be and am not satisfied if the effort I put in today is the same one I gave yesterday.
The fear of a predictable redundancy in this life is my worst nightmare.
Teaching myself to play the guitar and setting my writing to music is a matter of fulfilling today’s drumbeat of a muse in motion and creative endeavor- exactly what the good doctor ordered.
Hey, the guy’s even throwing in some picks!
A good challenge and why not? I’ve got time. At this point, the outcome is not even a consideration or matters. It’s the joy of the journey. It’s the excitement of the experience. You don’t think this sounds like some latent rock star fantasy, do you? Please. If I did have a rock star fantasy it might go as far as me being the low-key Bernie Taupinesque guy to some yet-to-be-determined, wanna-be Elton John somewhere. A somewhat modest fantasy really, and simply all about the art. But I have started regularly recording myself reading and singing my words. I’ve learned there’s a natural progression here, so I’m running with it. Although first intended as an attempt at that horrid and to me ghastly “spoken word”, the recordings unintentionally came out of my mouth as music and I couldn’t help it. Singing has always been a part of my makeup. But I never intended to be a songwriter in addition to whatever the hell it is I am now. I’m savvy enough to see that’s what’s happened and that being the case, I’ve a strong hankering for some musical accompaniment!
Hence the guitar.
Which reminds me: A few years back I was the unadulterated and self-proclaimed water sports king! Not the kind of water sports you MAY be thinking of (I mean if your mind heads that way without much provocation), but the swim, fish, kayak water sports kind, emphasis on the kayak. In a number of locales and over a number of years there were convenient places I went to rent them, and did lots of times-of-your-life transcendental river time where I truly grew as a person. It was a part of that “living life to the fullest thing”, ya know? I was set to buy one of my own (which made sense), but procrastinated and overthunk it as my left-brain just wasn’t gonna have it: “It’s too impractical,” it said, “you’re no boater,” it teased and, “you’re really gonna wanna lug that thing around on your car?” All kinds of taunting and “why spend the money?” too.
Similar to what I’ve been doing with the guitar- thinking t’s a fluke or indulgent. I suspect it’s anything but. Why do we think it’s okay to apply what we’re convinced is logic and reason, then wind up overanalyzing and paralyzing ourselves to almost the death? Why are we fearful and so often skittish when we can’t predict our outcomes or how events will play out? Isn’t there a particular success in the “doing”? Why do we have a need to jibber jabber so much and doubt our own good intentions and integrity? I don’t know about you, but I’ve done it. And I’m curious, that’s why I ask. Lots of hot air is how I see it. I just happen to be a true believer that sometimes it’s best to throw caution to the wind. We so often get busy writing a new narrative.
I never bought the kayak. But today I’ll buy the guitar.
At two o’clock.
And go for a long, LONG hike tomorrow. Well, about six hours- three out and back. It’s been a while as I haven’t had a good “partner”, although I’d never say that long hikes alone aren’t fun. I’ve done many, MANY of them on my own, and in many far-flung places too. But that’s long since gotten old. Tomorrow I’ll have someone along who can always be counted on to be my best hiker-person-to-have-along. It’ll be great to be outdoors, that’s for sure. And great to hike through the hollow and follow the meandering Moormans River up the mountain, although the day will be chilly. Currently I’m not in the best shape of my life, although I’ll no doubt be motivated and certainly do well. This hike could only be considered arduous and something akin to boot camp on a number of levels. But this time of year the views will be stellar on top of the Blue Ridge—360 degrees—the best time of the year and so worth the getting there. I haven’t had a good all day hike in as long as I can remember, so it’ll all feel new again. The best part is looking forward to calling myself on the carpet, ya know?
And seeing things as they are.