I listen to a lot of music. It’s the food for the muse in me. My wife and I attend many concerts each year and pay a king’s ransom to sit up close. If we can’t sit close, we don’t go. We’re going to Desert Trip Week 2, in Indio, CA this October. We will be in section 101, row 18, seats 1 and 2. We could sell the tickets now for triple what we paid for them.
Not a chance.
I sit at these shows and dream of how it must feel to be a musician. Watching tens of thousands of fans adore you as you play the guitar must be an exceptional feeling. Causing so many to smile, laugh, dance and sing out loud must be very, very special.
I am content that I will never be a musician.
I came to the realization lately that my writing is having an effect on people. That is something I never expected. When I started this journey, all I wanted was to be published. I wanted to be able to point to a place and show some accomplishment. I wrote something, published it and someone read it. That’s it.
I have addressed some topics that have touched others in a way that has caused them to react. Some agree with me, some disagree. Often people comment, which I think is awesome. I am grateful someone took the time to read something I wrote. But, to take the time to think about it and offer a response requires a further investment on the part of the reader. Again, another level I never would have expected.
Recently, I wrote about my own struggle with a form of mental illness. Someone actually reached out to me to ask for help. I was blown away. A fellow writer friend of mine told me “this is why we do this.”
I thought I was doing this for purely selfish reasons. I wanted to be published so I could say I was and launch a new gig teaching in retirement.
So I took a journey through my past and spent some time thinking about this. I determined I enjoy putting my thoughts into my iPad – today’s version of “down on paper.” What I enjoy more is thinking about whatever I am going to write about. There are no limits, I believe.
If you have an opinion, you’re entitled. It’s a form of freedom because nobody owns it, but you.
And there is the major difference between where I am now and where I was a year ago.
I have been through three phases. I started writing about business. I have had some success there so that felt natural for me. Around the turn into 2016, I became a bit of a wise guy and did some satirical writing about the election. Trump and Clinton offer a target as big as the Sun, which was just too hard to pass up. I kept thinking about Mad Magazine and the caricature of that freckle-faced kid on the cover.
That was my childhood, it’s not me.
Next, I found myself writing about issues that are personal to me, the things I think about daily and don’t necessarily talk about with anyone. I wrote them down and put them out there. Some raised eyebrows. Most encouraged me.
What a blast.
Recently, I was asked if I would attend a session with a group of writers who are trying to get together for a meet up. I was included. I was blown away. Some of these folks have written books. They’re at a whole different level. I have always been suspect of any group or club that would actually have me as a member. Groucho was right. One of these folks actually paid me a compliment about my writing. I poured a drink, first to get lost in it and next to toast myself.
While I may never be able to feel the adoration of a collective stadium of revelers because of my ability to play an instrument, I do think I am having an influence on others. It costs me nothing to do and provides a return more valuable than money.
Suddenly, the reason I am doing this isn’t about my next career move or retirement. I write because I love it and feel great that people enjoy it. It’s even better that some learn from it.
I may never make it into a classroom but I just may have found another way to teach.
My best, Chris
#Music #Writing #Freedom