Keep on keepin’ on

18 06 2014

I am a terrible, terrible guitar player. It’s why I keep playing.

Makes sense, right? Why do something well when you can suck?

I’d rather not suck. I’d rather that everything I do, I do well.

I’d also like to do more, and to do more is most often to do what I don’t know how to do.

Which means I’ll be terrible when I first do it.

Now, I keep playing because I’d like to get better, because I think I can at some point do it well. I didn’t re-up with the Gotham Rock Choir because I wasn’t convinced that more practice would make me a sufficiently better singer. It’s one thing to be terrible on the way to getting better, but quite another to be terrible on the way to mediocrity.

Rather takes away one’s motivation to practice.

I doubt I’ll ever be great on the guitar—that fucking F chord—but with practice I am improving, enough so that I can gull myself into practicing even more.

So, at some point, I’ll be merely terrible, then mediocre, and then all right. I don’t know that I’ll ever get beyond all right, but, for now, it’s enough to know that I can at least get that far, and that it’s just possible that I could, someday, be good.

Time to try something else to be terrible at, then. I’ve long wanted to learn French. . . .

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Listen to the music: Banjo on my knee

12 11 2012

Okay, so I happen to be listening to the Be Good Tanyas sing “Oh, Susanna” when I wrote the title to this post.

No, I don’t have a banjo.

I do, however, have a guitar, an Epiphone by Gibson, purchased, mmm, back in the 1990s at Aabe’s Music in south Minneapolis. It’s black and nice and the back of the neck is curved so that my wee hand can cup it and my wee fingers can squeeze all of the strings on the fret.

Not that my wee hand has cupped the neck any time recently.

I took lessons when I first got the guitar, and. . . never made it out of a Mel Bay’s beginner’s book. I did learn some chords and could play (badly) a few Beatles’ tunes, a Suzanne Vega song, and parts of a few Indigo Girls’ songs.

I stopped, started, stopped, started, stopped, started, stopped. My guitar was tucked in my closet until a few months ago, when I said, Self, time to start again.

I did not.

As I was circling Prospect Park today I wondered why I didn’t just give up and give the guitar away. It’s been years and . . . honestly, did I think I was ever going to get good enough that practicing was more fun than frustrating?

Why not? Why not believe I might start yet again, and that even if I stop again, one of these start-agains will lead to me. . . playing, actually playing the guitar?

Why not believe I can have a life in which I am always trying to play the guitar?

I keep trying to breathe; there must be more than one way to breathe.

~~~

13. Laurie Anderson, Life on a String
14. Marc Anthony, (eponymous)
15. Arcade Fire, Funeral
16. Arcade Fire, Neon Bible
17. Joan Armatrading, Classics
18. B-52’s, (eponymous)
19. B-52’s, wild planet
20. B-52’s, Cosmic Thing
21. Susanna Baca, espiritu vivo
22. Susanna Baca, eco de sombras
23. Back From the Grave, Vol. 8
24. Eryka Badu, Baduizm
25. Eryka Badu, Mama’s Gun
26. The Band, Greatest Hits
27. Be Good Tanyas, Blue Horse