I said that I moved to Nashville to learn. So last night, in light of yesterday’s lament, I steered my little Honda toward 3rd & Lindsley to listen to music and see who I might meet. It’s always intimidating to walk into a bar alone, but as long as you have good posture, no one questions you.
I met several writers and musicians who have been here 10, 20, 30 times longer than I have. And through meandering conversation with each of them, I took away these gems:
• When it comes to creativity, there is no such thing as a dry spell. The dull, uneventful, uninspiring times are always the preparation and the cultivation of something good. In other words, get ready.
• Write when you feel like it. Write when you don’t.
• In what is becoming a resounding lesson and theme for my life, “you never really arrive.” Any goal that I set for myself will eventually be met – and then there will just be another goal beyond that. Learn to see the creative process not as a destination, but as a journey.
• Don’t be surprised if the road you’re on leads you somewhere entirely other than where you think you’re headed.
• Some people wait years before getting out there and “doing it.” Having written what I’ve written, recorded what I’ve recorded, met who I’ve met, played where I’ve played, and experienced what I’ve experienced, in a lot of ways I am ahead of the curve. Who knew?
• When faced with a blank mind and no good ideas, read. Absorb. Learn. And having read 4 books in the last 2 weeks, I AM TOTALLY DOING SOMETHING RIGHT!
I also met a woman who teaches guitar lessons, which is exciting since I have definitely reached a plateau in my skills – if we can even call them “skills.” I met another woman from Seattle – I could have kissed her on the lips. And I was once again reminded that Nashville musicians are some of the nicest people in the entire world. It’s good that I’m here.
And just like that, Annie pulled herself up by her bootstraps. Talk about emotional whiplash. I haven’t been doing this – this pursuing a dream come hell or high-water – long enough to know the patterns, the rhythms, the tricks, the necessary tenacity. But I’m a work in progress… as well as a persnickety nut case.
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One last thing: I was told to diversify the music that I am listening to. Sometimes it’s helpful to immerse yourself in the craft that you want to learn, but there comes a point where you need to get OUT. In the past, you, my loyal blog readers, have provided me with some awesome music suggestions; Michelle who suggested Obadiah Parker’s cover of “Hey Ya,” you are my Person of the Year. People, I need your help again.
Please let me know a song or two that you think I need to hear. Criteria: 1) it must have a good melody, 2) it must have great words, and 3) it must make you feel something. I’m counting on you, Guilford, CT. And you, Frisco, TX. And you, Cherry Hill, NJ. And even you, Yukon Territory. Make me proud.