I haven't been blogging. It's been quite a while, actually, but I have been writing, some in entirely new ways. I've actually started writing some songs, and it's all quite wonderful and crazy, because I used to do this when I was a teenager. I taught myself the guitar and I wrote songs back then. There are things you think are lost to you — you know, keys and glasses and earrings, an old diary you kept as a kid, and you have this rolling anxiety about that diary that it's out there somewhere being read by people who knew you back then. But if it is out there, then I'm sure I wrote something like: If I couldn't write and play music, I think part of me would die.
Well, the thing is, I did stop playing the guitar and the flute and I think a little part of me died. But then I got used to not doing it, although not entirely. I would pick up my flute, having not touched it for years, and play something that sounded so truly bad that I despaired, and put the flute away. I would pick up the guitar and strum a bit, and it was fun for awhile, but then it didn't sound all that great, and then I'd remembered once sounding downright decent on the guitar, but that was gone, and the thought it was gone was stronger than the desire to get better by practicing.
And I would listen to music and think, someday. Then came carpel tunnel, surgery on both hands, and having to wear braces when I typed — and I thought, no way. I had always played the piano just a little by ear, I had a piano at home, but it was an upright, and I found it easy to walk past an upright and ignore it, or use it to pile laundry on or mail or books. But then something happened. My husband's grandmother's grand piano came to live at our house. It's hard to ignore a grand piano. It doesn't want you to put laundry anywhere near it, it's quite certain of its purpose. And in the middle of the coming of the piano, I wrote a novel called Close to Famous. In that book there is a mother who is a singer/songwriter, and as I was writing the story, I could hear some of the songs the mother sang. I wrote the lyrics to them, I had the melodies in my head. She kept singing and the songs kept coming. Something broke through for me with that book, and now I'm back to my music again.
I suppose the moral of this story is — if you have something you know you're pretty good at, if you've ignored it, or left it behind, or buried it, or just not been able to do it for whatever reason — think about that thing now. Sit down next to it, like you're meeting an old friend, stop telling yourself, no you can't — change that to, hey, I'm going to try. And just in case it's morphed into the size of a grand piano, pay attention. Your laundry can find another resting place. It's time to sing your song.