I probably need more time to process the last 5 days in Kansas City, but I've a list the length of my arm of things that need done and so, now's my chance, so now's the time.
I took pictures of the musicians up on stage, but I took zero photos of the musicians hanging out, talking, switching between coffee and water and beer all day and living off of showcase room snacks and the occasional food truck taco.
We sat and played songs out by the fountain in the square beside the hotel, we got in a quick conversation over breakfast sandwiches in the food court before reporting to our volunteer assignments, we took a shuttle to the children's hospital to sing songs for the patients, we learned real quick how to ditch the elevators and take the stairs up to the showcase floors and we got the guts up to say hello to people we thought were cool. I worried about my clothes and what I looked like. I learned that I need to get new shoes.
We gave a quick hug when we had the chance encounter with a friend. At Folk Alliance you just never know how much time you'll be given to touch base with anyone in the midst of the folk storm so you take the opportunity when it comes knocking.
Before driving home yesterday after my last volunteer shift, I caught the second half of Steve Poltz's set. If there's any swan song perfect for the end of an amazing week of music, Steve Poltz can sing it. Folk Alliance has moments of wonder and moments of feeling lost. I experienced both. Steve Poltz was inspiring and joyful and he made me smile after all of it.
My mind is inclined toward the dark sometimes and so when I got home I tried to write down all the good things that happened so as not have them disappear. That list includes all the friends I got to see and hear and who came to listen to me. That means so much. It includes discoveries- Cory Branan (pre-order his new album. Just do it), and favorites- Sam Baker and Vance Gilbert. I missed Kris Kristofferson, I missed Ani DiFranco but I did hear Billy Bragg talk. I didn't get the guts up to talk to Sam Baker, but I listened transfixed and he made me cry. I saw my friend, Korby Lenker, make everyone sit up and take notice at his official showcase. I left that ballroom thinking his days of crashing on people's couches are numbered. He was incredible and it was so fun to watch him be so good up there.
I have to remember the good things because driving home, I started thinking about the hard things. Being surrounded by fellow artists is so cool and also so scary. It makes you (and by "you" I mean "me") look in the mirror and wonder if you're good enough, if you've got any chance at getting anywhere beyond where you are right now. It makes you wonder where you fit in this collection of voices, in this collection of stories. The long drive home in the quiet and the exhaustion tends to want to turn our dresses back into rags, our princes into frogs.
That's why I wrote down all the good stuff.. So as not to forget, even in the midst of the hard stuff, there is reason to give thanks. Today I'm playing music all day long and then tutoring a third grader in German. Tomorrow I'm going to work the lunch shift. I hope you write down the good stuff that comes your way. Especially if you're like me and you tend to forget. It's everywhere.