I think it was the summer of 2008? 2009? I went to a songwriting class taught by Darrell Scott. It was held in a barn at Prairie Loft before the annual Flatwater Music Festival. My sister in Law, Emily, was there, my friends Todd and Jennica and Angela and Susie were all there and I met my friend, Mike Hinckley there as well. We sat in a circle and talked songs, we worked on songs, we wrote songs and it was life changing. It was early in my songwriting metamorphosis so I hung on to many things I learned that weekend and think about them still today. 

This morning I'm going to Hastings to help moderate a lunchtime creativity forum lead by Darrell Scott. Emily is going to be there, Angela, me,  and Mike Hinckley. Full circle. It's been eight years, I think? And we'll be meeting together again after having journeyed down many different paths over the years. Some of us have had kids, gotten married, moved to new places, travelled all over, started new careers, made albums, written songs, played gigs. Now we get to see each other again and I find that to be a real gift. 

Sometimes I don't think I've made much progress at all in my "songwriting career," but when I think back to who I was in that barn eight years ago I can see a difference between then and now. I'm the same person, but I'm tougher in some ways and gentler in others. I've learned lots and lots and lots. I think back to what I could do eight years ago and I cringe a little, but I had to get through the rough patches and keep going in order to get to today. If anything, I'm proud of having stuck with it. 

I don't always know what my end game is, but I can tell you that the woman in the barn from eight years ago would've considered opening for Darrell Scott as the Mt. Everest of musical milestones. I get to do that tonight. I get four songs plus one Star Belle song to show my appreciation to those present and those far away for the listening, for the encouragement, for the help they've given to me.  You never know, this might be the top of the mountain for me and if it is, I'm going to sing the best 20 minutes of my whole life.  

Full circle feels real good. Thanks for helping me get there.