Well it's been a real barn burner. This year has really been something else. My friends and I used the theme of "Balls to the Wall" for the year and I think we did a pretty good job of sticking to that mantra.
I made three records and released one of them. It's called "Three Black Crows" and I like it a lot. Since writing songs I've been desperately seeking good work and I think I finally found some songs worthy of releasing so I did. I couldn't have done it without the help of my friends and colleagues in music. Behind the scenes there was self-doubt, fear, self-doubt, quitting, starting again, fear and more self-doubt, but we pushed through it all and did it and I've got the debt (and record) to prove to it.
I didn't write songs that much, but I was busy doing other stuff. I looked through my notes and I think I wrote 12 songs, two of which made it on to the album so that's cool. One for each month.
In 2016 I played 38 shows and thought I was going to die. When I told my husband at this time last year that I wanted to try and play 50 shows he looked at me like I had just admitted wanting to walk to Japan. With a family and a job and volunteering as Sunday School music lady, cub scouts, choir driver, breakfast lady, and all the other stuff, adding 38 shows to the mix makes life kinda crazy.
Drum roll. In 2017 I played 52 shows. Other artists are doing double that amount, but it feels like a HUGE accomplishment for me. Woohooo!! And this year was great, but also really hard. It was the first time I cried when I had to pack and go back out after just getting home. Todd Snider said "The show's free it's the travel you're paying me for." And that line gets truer all the time. The show's always free. It makes me feel so real when I get to sing for people. The hard part is the time away.
2017 was growing pains. So many growing pains. Growing pains about recording and music business, growing pains to see how much love and support people were willing to give me on the Kickstarter, growing pains trying to balance music, work and family responsibility and not getting it right. It was growing and taking chances I've never taken before and growing pains having to make choices to figure out how best to use what I've been given to help others. I would succeed in some ways and fail in others and have to rethink where I put my energy.
So I will confess that on social media I tried to make 2017 look amazing. Because it really was. It really was amazing. But in real life there was an equal share of desperation and fear and frustration and super guilt. But no one wants to hear any of that crap in 140 characters.
So is the price for all the good things an equal share of hard things? Maybe. My friends and I all say that we all have to eat shit. It just depends on how you want your shit served to you. What are you willing to suffer in order to achieve what you've been trying to do? That's the question. We can't have everything so what's the thing you really want and where do have to take the hit in order to find it?
I've been longing for music and for being heard for so so so long. I've been longing for that good work that I've been trying to achieve for so long. This record is it. To get it I've had to give up other stuff and 2017 made me feel those choices acutely in both good and hard ways.
Thank you for sticking with this older, braver, sadder version of myself. Thank you for seeing the value in what I do and know that I think of you all when times get tough.
We've already come up with a theme for 2018 and it's "Eat the Elephant." Because how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. That's all we can really do. We do what's next, we take the next step, the next bite and keep moving the ball slowly but surely down the field. I hope you feel inspired to do the same knowing there's some 40 year old part-time waitress, mother of three who thinks she's allowed to pursue a music career. I mean, that's crazy. So I hope it's the green light you need to go out and get what you're longing for.
Merry Christmas and thank you for a beautiful year.