1. Do the work. Don't think about where the song will land, don't worry about if someone needs the work or not, just do the work and do it well.
2. Don't think about where everyone else is in the game and how they're playing compared to you. That helps not at all. Follow your arrow. The difference in styles and focuses between you and your neighbor is not a commentary in any way, shape or form. Just keep doing what you're doing and serve the Lord with gladness.
3. I really need a smart phone. I got around Nashville with the help of written directions, an old fashioned city map and my husband at his computer willing to stop what he was doing and help me figure out where I was.
I shared a round at The Bluebird Cafe last Tuesday with Mare Wakefield and Nomad, Kira Small and Melissa Greener. I had the best time. I was determined not to be nervous, but when the lights went down and the music started up, I couldn't help it. The first two songs were hard. I made mistakes, but I got through it. It wasn't my best performance, but it wasn't my worst either.
By the last round I felt myself getting emotional. I was trying to be cool and professional, but as the set was winding down, the realization of being in a legendary listening room singing my songs kinda hit me. I've watched the clip of Julie Miller singing "Broken Things" at the Bluebird so many times and last Tuesday night I was in that same spot singing my own songs. It wasn't until the drive home that I let it hit me hard. Not everybody gets to do that and I did.
While in Nashville I had lunch with a friend. It was a chance to catch up, to listen to some Guy Clark on the day he died and consider our own wealth of power and potential. It can be a scary thing, but also exciting if we're brave enough to leap. She should leap.
On my way down I stayed with a friend and we talked songs and looked at unfinished work. When I got to Nashville, Mare and I went to a Song Salon where people get together to share new work and get ideas, critiques and guidance. It was super cool. On my last evening I got together with an old friend and we shared some songs and did some co-writing just like old times. I wish we had had more time. It was the coolest.
As I drove home yesterday I thought about all of it. Driving 13 hours makes for lots of think time. I cried listening to music given to me by a friend and I smiled listening to Bob Dylan Live in Concert 1964. I could hear him smiling. And then Joan Baez got up there and I could hear them both smiling.
What I learned again for the first time is how much I love the music. I let myself feel how deeply I want more of it all. Most of the time I keep it at arms length. But if you're going to do the work, you've got to let it get real close. You've got to let it burn you and consume you. It won't always do that, but sometimes it will. That's what I learned.