Focus Upon Music
Yesterday, I made up my mind to go and to play on the grass median strip on Water Street, with my sign which reads: “Street Musician Stimulus Package.” I was out of money for beer and cigarettes, by my own doing, as a way of quitting those items, but realized that I had placed myself out of the market for guitar strings as a side effect.
I thus directed my steps in the opposite direction from which I had been going for countless days past, and went to Water Street, instead.
I played for about 45 minutes and got about 4 dollars. This, I found satisfactory, as it was almost enough for new strings. I would try to borrow the balance, against what I projected to make during the coming weekend.
Serda’s Songwriter’s Open Mic Night was to be that night. I decided to walk by there on my way to eat at the Waterfront Mission.
I usually don’t eat lunch, but was feeling like I wanted to load up on food, for some reason. This feeling usually comes when I am about to embark upon some undertaking which might be strenuous. Often the feeling comes before I even discover the task which is to be in front of me, and only have a premonition of it.
Then, in the window of Serda’s was a poster, which announced a songwriter’s contest, to be held each Wednesday of November, culminating in six finalists (two to be chosen each week) vying for a prize of studio time, to record 5 songs, and air time on a local FM radio station, to showcase the same.
I felt like this was a miracle of sorts, and due to my decision to quit drinking, and smoking. I think that God created the contest, in order to give me a way to fight the temptation to get drunk and lazy and neglect my chosen craft. Since it is the “second annual” contest, God re-wrote history and implanted in the minds of people the recollection of last year’s contest.
I ate at the mission, then called Jeff, who said that he could bring me to the music store before picking up his daughter, Leigh, and taking all of us to the church service that evening.
The preacher spoke to me after the service, and asked me what I did for a living. “So, you’re a professional musician?” he inquired, after I told him what I did. I told him that I guessed that I was, only without management.
I got to Serda’s and was greeted by Jimmy Lee, who seemed to harbor no ill will towards me. He put me on last, after Elizabeth, the poet and then a mandolin player/singer performed.
I did mostly untested new material, since the pressure of the contest next month has overshadowed any that I might have felt on this occasion, which seemed like a rehearsal for the contest.
About 8 people hung around and listened to me, even though they were through performing, and they and their friends were free to go. They were the same 8 that seem to encourage me; the one’s that don’t stare me down when I enter the venue, and look at me as if I am crashing their private party.
The songs went pretty well. I had trouble “loosening up,” being sober, (except for the caffeine in the small, black coffee, which I had at my side.)
I did “I Lost My Sparrow,” and then “Computer Geek Blues” and then hacked up “The Can Man,” pretty badly, but not so much as to negate what I had gained by doing “Computer Geek,” fairly competently.
I got some good reactions, but left feeling like I have a lot of practicing to do, if I want to win the recording session and have my songs played on 92 (the zoo) FM, in Mobile, Alabama.
It was raining hard when I stepped outside at almost midnight. Jimmy Lee gave me a ride to the church spot, where I found John the Street Preacher, sprawled out on the porch. We sat and talked for a while.
The rain was being blown in a favorable direction to anyone using the porch to sleep, and we woke up dry in the morning, and went to get our eggs and blueberries.