Let me tell you a story; I’m good at that. In fact, in the story of my life, it’s probably the only thing I’ve ever been good at with any consistency. I have a habit, you see – a bad habit – of picking up and putting down hobbies like I’m window for shopping for who I’m supposed to be, as if one person can only ever be one thing.
I’m nearly 34, and it has taken me 34 years to get around to admitting that we may only have two hands, but we also have baskets – which make the load easier to bear.
So, let me tell you a story to prove to myself that to do one thing, I don’t have to forsake all others, because there are things I want to do, and I need to prove to myself that I can.
Once upon a time (because I’ve been told all fairy tales begin this way), there was a peasant.
Now, don’t give me that look. I know you thought I was going to say princess, but I was there, and while every little girl is somebody’s princess, my playtime involved capes and swords, with never a tiara in sight. So, a peasant.
I know this little girl was a peasant, because she was the daughter of a peasant, who was the son of a peasant, who was the son of the peasant before him, and the mother’s side was much the same.
Now, this peasant home was small, on the top story of a cottage atop a hill heavy with travelers. They did not have much, but one thing there was no shortage of was music. They had the most fantastic standing record player, which the little girl couldn’t see the top of unless she stood across the room on a chair, which was a favored hobby. Her first record, a 45 of ‘We Built this City’ by Starship, was her prized possession, which she played to an early grave, no doubt making her parents question their sanity.
Given this, her childhood heroes should also be obvious:
…which I am certain did her parents’ sanity no additional favors.
(I feel compelled to interrupt my story for a moment here, to remind readers that our little peasant was five, and therefore could not yet be held accountable for her musical tastes.)
At six, ‘Daydream Believer’, from the Monkees Greatest Hits, drowned out the fire siren.
A cassette I haltingly admit that I still own, and a song that I equally as haltingly admit to still being rather fond of.
At eight, she was given a keyboard; at 13, a journal; at 14, a yard sale guitar; at 15, karate lessons. At 16, she gave the guitar away because she was so occupied with karate that she never played it, and at 17, she bought a new one. At 18 she became a poet; at 20, a sensei; at 23, an artist. At 25 she made jewelry; at 27 she learned to cook. At 29, she went green, at 30 she outgrew the 80 gb ipod she was given at 20.
At 33, she pulled the guitar out of the closet again, blew off the dust, and, reaching for a reason she never learned to play it, when music has always, ALWAYS been central in her world, found she had dozens of excuses, and none of them a reason. ‘Why not now?’ she asked herself. What reason do I have not to start now?
And, she couldn’t think of one.
This story doesn’t have an ending. I have no neat little bow to tie it up in. What I do have is a wish, the internet, and a guitar that is backward and has seen better days. I want to learn. I’ve started this blog because I want to keep learning, to not lose focus, to stay motivated, and to have something to look at back at when things look bleak and say ‘ah, see? At the beginning, I couldn’t do that, and I can do it now, so this, too – this currently unknown thing that has me contemplating giving up – can also be overcome.
There are so many music blogs. There are so many stories about successes, about people who thought about giving up, but didn’t, and ‘gee, look at where I am today’. But, this a blog about starting. It’s a blog about picking up that dream that you gave up on because you were too old, or didn’t have the time, or you just convinced yourself that you didn’t want it as much as you thought you did. It’s a blog about starting something and seeing where it leads you, and if it makes you happy.
I’ll post resources that I’m finding helpful. I’ll tell stories – lots of stories – about my failures, my successes, about my family and my idols and things I remember and anything musical that gets me excited. I’ll talk about albums I’ve bought, concerts I’ve gone to. I’ll post pictures and start music-related projects. I’ll see if, somewhere in the middle of all this, I go from a complete novice to – hopefully – someone who can manage to put the guitar strap over her head without hitting herself in the face (more on that story later. 😀 ).
And, if you are reading this, if you’re a would-be musician, or an artist, or a poet, or a craftsman, or anyone who has ever stopped doing something before they started and regrets it, then there’s a place for you here where we can share stories and help keep each other motivated.
And, if you’re a musician, who has had some success, and wants to throw some helpful tips at me as I stumble along half-blind, and all-clumsy, I would be happy to receive any tips and tricks you want to throw my way.
So, Dear Readers (should I acquire any), this is my project. Grrl+Guitar is about sacrificing excuses, and giving myself permission to suck for as long as I need to.
Now, Look at the clock. Set a timer. Think of that thing that you’ve always wanted to do, but never found the time for, and ask yourself:
Why not now?
How long did it take you to think of an excuse?