Upon embarking on this trip, even though I brought Amos(my guitar) with me, I didn’t really plan on focusing on music much. There were other goals and passions that I was working on.
At the Union Station, in Chicago, while waiting for my train to take me down to New Orleans, I heard a young boy comment to his mother about Amos. I smiled but didn’t pay much attention to it- I was scrambling to find a restroom after that long train ride, from Reno.
Later, when I was grabbing some food, I heard his mom encourage him to ask me where I was heading. I smiled( through my mask), knelt down to his level and told him I was heading to New Orleans.
His mother said ” of course you are! You’re a musician, that makes sense. Are you gonna play down there?”
I was surprised and momentarily stunned. I’d forgotten that I was a musician and also that my guitar, Amos, is a giant flag advertising to the world that I in fact “do music”.
Much later, when finally boarding the train, the conductor pointed to Amos and said
“its an addictive habit, isn’t it?
I didn’t catch what she meant, at first. Ultimately, I realized she was referring to how addicting guitar playing is, despite having barely touched my guitar all month, I agreed with her.
When she came by to check my ticket, I told her that I was down to jam later. She came back by to redeem the offer not soon after.
I let her play first. She was brillaint! I had an impulse to take out my phone to capture the magic but the previous ride had taught me to exist in the moment and be present.
I zoned in aiming to mentally capture every detail I could.
Early that following morning I got out to do some brief “walking in memphis” during a train stop, then we were back in route to New Orleans.
My best friend met me in New Orleans and drove me back to Columbus, Mississippi.
Four years ago, I landed in this town and blossomed into a musician. So it makes sense that this is what everyone remembers me as. However, something about it wasn’t sitting well with me. I later realized that music doesn’t define my identity the way it has the past couple decades.
I’d poured so much energy into music and the dream of “making it”; it was surreal to look at myself and realize that the title musician that used to define me was now just a fraction of who I am. No more than being a writer or dancer, and no less than my skin or eye color.
within the first 2 weeks back:
I was invited over for a jam session.
I was invited to an open mic… then another… then 2 more the following week.
I was asked by several other “musicians how’s the music going?” -It wasn’t.
Last night, after I got off work, I walked up the block to this cool store/beer garden, Munson and Brother’s Trading Post to meet up with my best friend. She was playing at an open mic there and had invited me to come play. I told her “I’ll come listen”
Immediately upon walking into the outdoor beer garden, I am met by old friends. Several of them ask if I was gonna play… I tell them “I don’t know” less than a minute later, I’m on stage…. who was I kidding. We all knew that was gonna happen… it’s an addictive habit.
After the open mic we had an intimate jam session inside the shop. As I played originals, I was surprised when friends knew them and joined in. But of course they did, they were the first audience I’d ever sang them to, four years ago. Not only my first fans, but first supporters and music family. It’s lovely to return to this nest.
This Wednesday, I have band practice with a bass and percussion duo called “The Pocket Protectors”! Life is good.