My boss is out of town this week which means that I get to read blogs all day I get to catch up on all my work. Before I get crackin, I thought I’d tell you about my weekend, which was oh, so action packed. I meant to get a lot of cleaning and chores done this past weekend, but instead I laid in bed all day Saturday reading my Sophie Kinsella collection. I had woken up feeling like something a goat had chewed over, so that’s all I had the energy for. As a result my house looks like it threw up on itself. I did get up around 5:00 and drag myself off to the shower. Lance’s dad had called us and told us that he had gotten us some tickets to something he called a “surprise”. We were a little nervous, because my father in law’s idea of entertainment is sitting on the sofa watching hours of RFD-TV and making us comment on the tractors, horses and cattle that are featured. Even scarier was when we dropped the girls off and he offhandedly commented “just keep an open mind”. Visions of rodeos and sawdust filled my city mind.
We drove to a small town nearby and parked next to a red caboose. We passed over the tickets and walked into a room smelling of cedar. There was a tiny stage with three stools and microphones and about two dozen people, already seated with their cans of soda and bottles of water. We were ushered over to a bar where heavy hors d’oeuvres were being served. I hadn’t eaten anything beyond toast all day so my grumbling stomache was hankering for some sustinance. After a couple of self-conscious minutes of filling our plates we found a seat and waited for the show to begin.
Three young people came to the stage (listen to me, young people, I sound like I’m seventy “look at those young people, you know, young people in my day were so different…”) and strapped on their accoustic guitars and began to take turns playing songs they had written.
It was actually very cool. They were country music singer/songwriters and I wouldn’t label us as country music fans, but is was awesome to watch them play their songs in an unplugged forum. (By the way, why do they call it unplugged, because technically, they are plugged into amplifiers. Just curious) The three artists were Shelly Colvin, Jeremy Spillman and Lisa McCallum.
Shelly Colvin struck me as a bohemian Sheryl Crow and wore her hair really long and everytime she bent over her guitar I was wondering what she would do if her hair ever got tangled in the guitar strings. Only truly cool people can wear earrings that dangle to their shoulders and those really large rings that cover most of your finger. And she was so slender and petite that I kind of hated her a little. Ok, not really. She was incredibly talented, singing her songs that she labeled as “dark” and just sort of taking you along on her journeys.
Jeremy Spillman, a songwriter by trade, has had several of his songs picked up by artists such as Josh Turner, Trisha Yearwood, Trace Adkins and Lee Ann Womack. He had such diversity to his songs, that’s what I mostly noticed. Very good.
Lisa McCallum hails from Canada, so occassionally we would hear a Canadian pronunciation “this song is aboat my last relationship”. She had an amazing voice and can wail. Well, she didn’t really wail, she sang, you know what I mean.
I think when you hear music on the radio, it’s one thing. But when you sit in a small room and watch the artist singing their very own words, it’s a totally different thing. You can’t be helped but be swept away. Watching them, hearing their work, I got to thinking about some very philosophical things…
Don’t we all have a work of art that we add to every day? For some it’s our jobs, for some it’s our kids, for some it’s more public, like writing and singing or acting. We are, everyday, the starring role in our play. Our audience is varied, but watching us nonetheless. My kids are mostly my audience and sometimes I sing sweet melodies and lullabies. Sometimes they hear me shriek, like when Addie thought it would be really interesting to grind hot pink silly putty into our white carpet. We all are being watched, we’re all performing. It makes you really begin to understand that quote “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players…”
I also admired these three artists, for being brave enough to share their words and experiences for public eyes and ears. That takes guts. I got to wondering what they must have been thinking, sitting on that barstool, strumming their guitar, looking out into a tiny crowd of less than two dozen. No way to tell if we were enjoying their art or secretly hating it. Perhaps the few that bobbed their heads to their tunes was enough of an encouragement to keep going. Isn’t it in all of us the need for validation?
Which brings me to my next thought. Blogging is a form of art. It’s expression and experiences written out much the same way that words are put to tune, all for the enjoyment of others. It takes some fearlessness and bravery on behalf of the writer. When I began this little experiment, it was to see just how far I could take it. I have been blogging now for two months, having no idea what to expect from this. As far as personal successes go, as of today I have had over 2,200 views and now perfect strangers are reading my silly words. That’s a success, to a degree. I’ve not yet received a comment that had me under my desk in the fetal position, that’s a success.
I think when it comes to validation, we all need it and yet don’t want to appear that we need it. We want to hear something along the lines of “good job! keep up the good work!” but we don’t want people to think we are weak and needy. Something I read once on another blog was the suggestion to always comment on the blogs you enjoy, because no one likes a “lurker”, someone who reads but doesn’t give any indication if they enjoyed it, hated it, thought it amazing or drivel. Personally speaking, I want to make you, the reader, emote, to opine, to feel something. Whether it’s something like “this chic is fantastic! I love her and wish we could be best friends!” or something along those lines.
So the moral of the story is, if you enjoy a blog, write a quick comment and say so. If you enjoy a sermon, tell the preacher you enjoyed it and why. If you sit in a dark room, listening to songwriters singing their songs, don’t be afraid to tell them that you’re not a country music fan but liked it anyway they’ve got a new fan. Small words like that go a long way, believe me.
Editor’s note: it took me exactly two days and seventeen hours to realize that I had misspelled the word “country”. Yes, I am super classy.