Monday, August 31, 2009

Long Way From Home….or is it?

A little over a year ago I put down my guitar, took up my pen and devoted myself to the goal of becoming an author. No more long rehearsal hours with the band after working at my full time job, no more saving for bigger and better gear, no fighting with venues to cut us the cheque – no fighting amongst ourselves.

I also stopped giving guitar lessons and recording songs for other musician friends. In a very short time I’d severed all ties to the life I’d been living since high school. Gear hauling. Setup. Tear down. Sound check. These words were removed from my vocabulary. I was no longer a working musician hosting open mics, playing funky coffee shops, pubs and small folk music festivals. I’d heard the call of another – writing fiction – and if I was going to be any good at it, fitting it into my already hectic schedule wasn’t an option. Something had to give.

Music and me were through. In order to write novels, instead of tunes, I had to completely alter my mindset. Quit music cold turkey. Ditch the rhyming dictionary and mode charts, sell the extra gear and keep only my “babies” – my Thunderbird bass, my Dot Studio guitar. It was time to let my calluses fade. I’d become just another music fan instead of a musician/singer/songwriter.

Or so I thought.

After months of telling myself (whenever I’d sit at the piano or pick up a guitar) - that’s not me anymore, I’m a writer now – I finally realized that music will always be with me. I love words, I love music. Even when I write I have tunage blaring. I may not commit to being in a band again, but I’ve been writing songs here and there, recording bed tracks and melodies. I’m finding a balance between my two loves.

I look back at this “home video” video we did for my last band, Rustic Charm – the tune is called “Long Way From Home” – and I can celebrate the time I had collaborating with my band members, my friends. The video is simple…it shows us in all our average glory. I came up with the idea, borrowed a camera and basically documented an average day for us. It’s a tribute to the dog days of band life:

I have different sorts of collaborative friendships now – with crit partners, my editor and publisher. It may not be face-to-face, but we email, Skype and chat. They get my jokes and yet can reel me in when I step over the line (which is more often than naught). We talk like my characters are the kids next door. I sit out on the deck, just Dot and me. I strum a few chords – hmmm….might be a new tune brewing. Life is good.

Here’s to charging after your dreams – the more, the merrier.


Tami Klockau said...

Great post, Tracy! I think that a creative person, no matter how many creative outlets can't let them go. I don't paint or draw anymore, but is still in me, rearing to come out every once in awhile. I think it's good to get the creative juice going, no matter the medium. It all loops back to each other, whether it is a stress reliever or actually finds it's way into the other mediums. Music can be a big part of writing and just the opposite!

Tracy Belsher said...

Yeah, Tami - someday we'll have to have a virtual jam session. ;)

Kitty Keswick said...

What a cool video! And you still use your music in writing...look at our WIP.
I used to do a lot of creative stuff, (Interior Design, painting, etc.) I don't now, but I do find I use every part of me, all my experiences, I put them into my writing, my I guess it's just a different form of my creativity. I think everything in life comes in ebs and flows and the music part will be on the top of the wave again.