The last post, where I posted a roughly recorded, only newly finished song on this website, was the culmination of many years of struggle for me. I’ve been playing guitar and writing and singing songs for many years now – my first was when I was 16 – but it’s only been recently that I’ve been able to do so in front of other people. Far from the stereotype of the guitar player who sat and played songs for anyone who would listen, music was always a private thing for me. I would play piano at home as a way of expressing emotion and relieving stress. Guitar became a similar thing, a private thing. There was that stretch that I had a band, of course. But that always felt different. I had three other people to play with, other music to weave into. I sang my own songs, yes, but it was behind a microphone, on a stage with amps and lights and it seemed like a different thing. Somehow that was always easier than sitting down in a room with just a guitar and one or two people.
My Clarion West classmates convinced me to play for them while I was in Seattle. It was painful for all of us. It became a joke that it would take me at least a half hour just to warm up to the idea of playing and singing in front of people and then there was a comedown, minutes afterward where I’d be all shaky and woozy and red and flushed. But, somewhere in there, something clicked. Music is a personal expression for me. I can do it just by myself and be happy. But as with my writing, there is something gratifying about someone experiencing what you wrote. In this case, someone hearing the song, and possibly enjoying it, brought its own rewards.
So I made an effort to try to be better about playing in front of people. I made a conscious decision to fight the shyness and to try to write more and share those songs with people.
It wasn’t always easy. I had a string of playing for people then abruptly stopped. Sometimes inspiration is hard to find.
Then I met N. It felt important somehow to play for her, so I did. And, amazingly, I found that not only did I like playing around her, but she inspired me to write new songs. It’s always been this weird thing that I rarely write songs when in relationships, but with N, I do. Often I come up with them when she’s in the next room. And I want to play them. And I want to record them. And there’s this feeling that it’s okay and that it’s not this difficult thing to overcome.
I made a few resolutions for this year regarding the music. One was that I would write more. Another that I would record more of my songs. A third was that I would try an open mic night. I haven’t made a whole lot of headway on those yet, but I am reminding myself that those goals are there.
So, my last post was part of this effort to be less worried about this kind of thing. To overcome this fear of exposing that side of myself. And now it’s out there for anyone to hear.
I’ll try to post updates here as that will help. Maybe more songs from time to time.
I hope you don’t mind.