October 23rd, 2007

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Battling perfectionism

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007

Last night, I experienced two very wonderful things.

The first was tapas, which is Spanish for “order at least four.”

The second was open mic night at the Bluebird Café, which reminded me why I am extraordinarily excited to live in Nashville.

The songwriting that happens here is astonishing. I sat there all alone, wrapped in my coat and scarf, watching musician after musician take the stage to share their one song. Some were run of the mill, but others brought me to tears. A few caused me to have an actual physical reaction: goosebumps, an involuntary grin, misty eyes. It was simultaneously inspiring and terrifying to think that if I choose, when I live here I will have the opportunity to share my songs in the same way.

When it comes to songwriting, I go back and forth between feeling confident and hopeful, and entirely lame. Sometimes I think that I definitely have the instinct, the honesty, and the wit, and am only lacking the practice. “Craft” is something that must develop with time and experience – and who knows? With time, I might evolve into someone worth listening to. But other times, I feel overwhelmed at the task of creating something good, and since it doesn’t happen instantaneously and effortlessly, I sigh and decide that it’s not worth pursuing. That I will always be a phony.

Such is the life of a blatant perfectionist.

I do not want the latter to win out. I want to keep writing, and keep trying, and keep singing, even if no one ever looks my way twice. I do not want to give up on something that inspires such joy and satisfaction and wonder in me. I really, really love to write. And that should be enough to keep me hanging in there, even in the midst of the antagonistic voices in my head.

Nashville is overwhelmingly full of remarkable talent, and I’d best be quitting the comparison game right now if I have any hope of development. Because maybe – just maybe – I might actually have something to offer.