Going to Colorado helped remind me why I'm doing this because sometimes I forget.
A few months back I had forgotten why I do this (write songs, sing songs and post them haphazardly on the internet, go play shows) and I sat down to write out the names of all the people who've given me their love, support and encouragement to keep writing, to keep getting in front of people to sing songs. If you're reading this, your name is probably on that list.
Last Thursday I went to Colorado to play my first show at Swallow Hill Music. I've played there before with my band, Star Belle Ukulele Band for Uke Fest, and I've opened shows for Richard Shindell and Tom Paxton, but I've never had my own show there. The Tom Paxton show went really well and I booked Thursday's show that very night. That's cool.
I was so worried about ticket sales and attendance. Last Monday I was sure I was going to get busted because only 5 people would come and that was going to be the end of that. But Thursday's show had over 30 people there and they were all friends and family and they are the reason I'm doing this. Friends from long ago, friends from Song School, from the cafe where I work, from church, cousins on my mom's side, a friend from SongFood and they brought their friends. It was a great night. I was so humbled that they all came out.
On Friday night my friend, Ken, organized a house concert for me at his house. First of all, Ken and I only get to see each other once a year at Song School. It was so cool to hang out with him and talk songs and life and the future while on a hike on Friday in Boulder. It's so flippin' beautiful there. He opened the show and sounded so great. I'm only sorry I didn't get to stick around for more hang out time. He and his friend put lots of work into hosting me and giving me a space to play songs. That's a reason why I'm doing this.
On Saturday night, at a level of fatigue I have rarely experienced, I drove out to play a songwriter in the round show at The Down Under Lounge (cool place) in Omaha. I got to sit up on stage with a friend of mine, Ben, who I've known for 5 years and two other songwriters I met that night. It was so cool to sit next to Ben and hear his songs and know his story and hear how much of himself he's poured into his work and hear it getting better and better. I love that we got to share the stage together. Afterward I had strangers coming up to me to tell me they liked my songs and asking about the records they could buy that had those tracks on them. That's pretty amazing. They got one listen to one song and it was enough to make them come up to me and tell me about it? That's special. That's heavy. That's why I'm doing this. To help, to help people hear their own stories, to ease a burden, to make people smile. All that stuff.
Those are the reasons why I wrote a big list of BIG things while sitting on the patio of that bar in Omaha on Saturday night. Because that love and kindness is enough to inspire me to take bigger risks and try harder even if it's scary.
To all those people whose names are on my list I say the love and support you've sent me is the kind of fuel I needed to remember why I'm doing this. I'm bringing you with me along the way. I heard your words of encouragement and complement and I want to give you what I have to give. We're in this together. I'll try not to forget again. You are a gift. Thank you.
p.s. Go and do likewise. Someone is looking to you for that inspiration and creativity that they need to be moved. We've all got a job to do. Don't take it lightly. Your neighbor needs you to be just exactly who you were created to be.