Monday, September 12, 2011

Back to Square One with the Guitar

Graduate school was one of the most intense long-term experiences I've had in a while. Not that I don't get intense experiences almost on a daily basis. I mean, check out the economy. As I used to say when I started freelancing, homelessness and starvation are great motivators. There's nothing like the realization that I may still end up on a park bench in my old age, huddled under a raggedy-ass thin blanket in the snow. Seriously, I've thought of it. What do you do when the money runs out?

Look back on that first sentence and realize that what grad school was, was long-term. It was a non-stop shot out of a canon where you just kept flying through the air and you never thought you were going to land. I'm reading comments, primarily on Facebook, of people who have started the program at BPT and they are completely overwhelmed, exactly the way I was a year ago. I mean, when do I sleep? When do I see Sue? When do I do anything except study? Even, with all the studying and the completing responsibilities toward your stipend, when do I write? Well, it all came together, you slip into a mean routine and just ride it out.

Now, I'm trying to cobble a life. I'm looking for work, and I'll probably blog about that at some point when I get over the fact that I got hammered on an interview for a job that I thought I had, but didn't really want in the first place, but I had to go for something. I mean, I think I'm done with the corporate world and I certainly don't want to shill for an insurance company, which is what this interview was for. That seriously shows how desperate I am, that I said, Insurance?--no problemo. I'll just check my soul here at the door before I wipe my feet. I never did fit in that well to begin with, and now as I've gotten older and set in the writing world, I fit in even less. I think Sue said it best, It's almost like they can smell I'm an outsider. But the work scene is scary. I want to teach, and teaching jobs are scarce, just like any other job. But I'm...hopeful.

Tonight, though, I got back to music lessons, something I had to give up while in school and something I missed so much. And maybe I'll need the lessons some day in case I need to busk in Park Street. I did have a teacher who once said, in all sincerity, that all musicians should have the experience of playing out on the street or in subway stations. I guess there's a visceral grittiness that happens that leads to the blues. I don't know.

I did get rusty. I was really cruising along, learning and growing as a musician, but then I had to make some real choices and cut things out of my life and just dedicate all my talents and energy to playwriting. Sometimes I wouldn't touch a guitar for a week or two. Or I'd just pick it up and dust it, since that's all it was doing was collecting dust. Or I'd walk past it and run my fingers along the strings like you would a picket fence on the street. That's all changed, and tonight Joe, my old timey teacher, got me started back on square one. Start reading music. Start playing E, F, and G on the first string, and tap it out with my foot. Three notes. It's all back to square one stuff. I don't mind though. I'm back at it. And I want to get into songwriting seriously. I mean, what am I really supposed to do in Park Street?--cover old Lowell George songs? Still, I do love this one.

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