This week I played for people. Real people. In-the-flesh, living-breathing people who sat and listened and laughed and clapped. Some people sang along. And it felt utterly novel and immensely satisfying.
Playing for the Buskers on the Block series in Port Townsend, WA
This week I played with people too. Goofy, noisy, messy, skilled musicians who joked and teased and drank beer and asked questions. We stood in circles and played and played. And it felt totally joyful and overflowing with the kind of invigorating spontaneity I've craved for the past 14 months.
At one point in the middle of last year, when we were out in the middle of a sea of pandemic - with both the beginning and the end barely in sight - I remember saying, “I wonder what it will feel like to play music with people again.”
I expected it to feel like one thing. Like, “Whoosh!!” or “Pow!!!” Like an exhilarating rush of movement, like jumping out of a plane.
The truth is, it wasn’t that simple.
Instead, it felt like a hundred different things all at once. Delicious and terrifying, mesmerizing and intoxicating, new and familiar, joyful and exhausting. It was thrilling, a wonderful relief to be surrounded by so much life again. At yet, at the end of the week, I sat in my kitchen and cried, just out of the sheer overwhelmingness of it all.
Now, on this particular Sunday afternoon, I’m in bed, surrounded by notebooks and pens, making an action plan for the coming months, and wrestling with the immensely satisfying notion that I can continue working on the projects I’ve been developing solo, while adding the utter delight of collaborating in-person with other artists. What a novel, delicious prospect.
June of 2020, working alone on the Outside of the Movies songbook illustrations.
And you? Where are you in the transition to working or playing with others?