Time Out

September 2nd, 2019

As I write this, my wife, She Who Must Be Taunted, and I are decompressing from our three-week car trip around Northeast America, where we saw lots of art quilts, visited a ton of friends, and spent two nights in a luxury yurt (and now I need to write a song which only uses “u” as a vowel). It was great to get away, except for the bugs that feasted on my shins, and the occasional opportunity that would have fallen into my lap if my lap had been there to catch it.

For instance, a few days after we left, I got an email from the folks who book the open mike at the Kickstand Cafe in Arlington, the first Friday of each month. They had a last-minute cancellation, and they invited me to be the feature, which would have been fabulous, if I hadn’t been in Kentucky at the time. I really like the folks at the Kickstand, and I’m hoping that sometime in the future, I will be the feature, but it was not to be, this time. What’s nice, of course, is that they thought of me – which is what you get when you show up regularly.

Of course, this all raises a larger question, namely: how do you take time off from something that occupies your entire life? I mean, I have a day job (that’s right, someone other than SWMBT has to put up with me on a regular basis, and has to pay me for the privilege), and thirty hours a week, I’m that guy, but the rest of the time, hell no, I’m not that guy. But a musician? I’m always a musician. Or, at least, so I claim. But I suspect I might be fooling myself.

My pal Steve Rapson travels with his guitar. When he drives somewhere, he makes a point of lining up a gig or two. The last time I traveled with a guitar, it was one of those dinky travel guitars which made me feel like I was playing, oh, I don’t know, a cooking utensil, or something I’d use to change a tire. It was a source of negative inspiration, and I lugged it around for weeks as it gathered dust in the car. But my real guitar takes up too much room in the car, plus, I can’t be bothered to call up strangers in other cities and beg for gigs, plus, I was trying to chronicle the trip in song and I realized, about four days in, that I could either have the trip or write about it, and not both. So, from that point forward, there has been no music on vacation.

I feel like I ought to be more troubled by this. I feel like I’m offending the music gods by banishing them for weeks at a time. Yet, it’s SWMBT’s vacation too, and while she’s blissfully indulgent of my musical adventures, even she needs a break from my songwriting genius. So there I was, in the middle of Kentucky, not featuring at the Kickstand, not even thinking about writing a song, in a hot tub in a luxury yurt. And y’know? It was OK.

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