Oct 21, 2014

finally free to be me (five o'clock in the morning)

there was a time last week
when i was down with a cold
i could barely breathe
barely hear
and just wanted to lay in bed between the soft sheets with hot tea
(except that i don't really like tea, just the idea of it).
during this time
music and i somehow reconnected.

September was hard.  
i loved it
but there was also a distant disappointment with myself.
a quiet nagging of distrust in myself over my music.
it wasn't perfect
i was under criticism
and i was trying to do things like everyone else.
i finally came to terms that:
some things are just much easier my way.
that even if it seems strange on the outside
this is how it works with my brain
this is how i get it to sound like this.

october hit and i began to understand this more.
it was like a burden had been lifted.
it sounds simple enough
just play.
but it's actually hard.
one of my worst enemies is myself.

and then last week and into this one
i feel whole again.
every once in a while
there is a song.
a song that i cannot live without playing every few minutes.
a song i hear somewhere, maybe online.
one that gets stuck in my head
attached to my heart.
and i play it.
it's not practicing;
i'm in love.
i play and play until i am lost.
i do not have to think about where to put my fingers.
the motions and patterns are memorized.
it is become as much of me as my hair or toenails.
i stand in front of the mirror and watch my hands move
and fingers pick.
it is though i am seeing someone else.
my mind wanders
i am not talented one little bit.
it is God who gives me the desire to learn and play.
the notes around and fill the room.
sometimes i play it so much i can't even hear the melody
(like when you say a word over and over
until it is just the sound and you forget what it means)
and all i can feel is the comfortable weight on my shoulders
thumb against wood
finger tips sliding and pressing wound strings.
and my soul is happy and free
even though there are things that need to be done
i am content to play this over and over without stopping.


MegBird said...

I'm very impressed! You have serious banjo skills. I feel like a lot of people own instruments because they look cool in pictures but never actually learn to play them. So, way to actually create something sincere. That doesn't happen all of the time. Love the photos as well.

Amia said...

Hi Abigail,
That was beautiful. I understand completely the feeling that this September was hard (as I'm still on a blogging break, but thinking about coming back soon, I miss it). I think the October wind and the change of seasons is a good thing, bringing with it good happy feelings and the encouragement to keep playing :)

Brigid said...

Beautifully written and beautifully performed! You truly have a gift from God.

Faye Caroline said...

That first picture of you is my favourite of all of your photographs I think, something about it just feels really personal. This was such a beautiful piece to read, and I can relate to it a lot in regards to my drawing: I become my own worst enemy and afraid to even attempt picking up my pencil with a 'what's the point' attitude, until suddenly I fall back in love with it again and it's all I want to ever do.

Lyssa said...

You ARE talented. Never deny the talent that God has given you. It is not arrogance to say that you have been blessed with the gift of music! It only becomes pride when you forget to give God thanks for it.

I love hearing you write about your journey with music : ) There have been special moments where I connect with a piece too, and it's one of the best things about being a musician!

Bethany Carson said...

Glad to hear you are feeling better. Music is so refreshing and relaxing!

Sarah said...

You write such lovely words! It's way to easy to be hard on yourself, glad to hear you are getting you inspiration back!

Hannah Batchelder said...

You play very well! I play mandolin and I experience the same thing. But with that comes frustration when I want to just go and play improv on a new favorite song, but can't play it yet. Sometimes I just think that I'm a really bad mandolinist, but slowly I've come to realize that some things just take time. Do you travel because of music? Are you in a bluegrass group or something? And tea always tastes better with a spoonful of honey. :P Feel better! God bless.

Abigail said...

that's wonderful. i understand exactly what you are talking about. thank you for sharing.

Abigail said...

i know what you mean...and thanks :)

Abigail said...

oh i do miss your posts. thank you so much for your time and i hope you'll be back soon.

Abigail said...

thank you so very much, dear.

Abigail said...

that's interesting, i'm glad you like it.
totally understand what you're talking about. creativity is awesome but sometimes we get in our own way. why is that?

Abigail said...

thank you so much, Lyssa.
i love that we share the musician thing. glad you related.

Abigail said...

thank you so much, Hannah.
most of my travels are for music. the rather underground world of bluegrass music is not a genre for a glamorous star of a life and does not pay well or anything, but it is a pleasure just the same.
i think it's very cool we share the bluegrass/folk music thing. thanks for sharing.

Avy said...

Hey you, long time no see. I'm never perfect in September.



Hannah Batchelder said...

That is really cool! Do you possibly know the mandolinist Bobby Clark, or the banjoist Mark Barnette? They are the only two professional bluegrass musicians that I know but if you're in the underground then maybe you have met them too. That would be so cool. :)

Abigail said...

no i do not know them... but there are very many bluegrass musicians around. but i did look them up on YouTube and got some good watching. and by underground i meant, like, not top 40 tours. bluegrass and folk is kind of underground in itself, i think you understand.

Hannah Batchelder said...

Yeah, I know what you mean. :) They aren't very famous but every once in a while you'll meet someone who has heard of them and they are mainly bluegrass musicians themselves. I sent you an email but I'm not sure if it sent. It either didn't go through or I just sent you about 20 emails on accident. *blush* I hope it went through or else you'll have a bunch of the same email in your inbox. Sorry if that happened! Lol.

Abigail said...

yes. i am aware that Mark wrote a good banjo book a while back that i'd like to get my hands on.
also, i did not receive any emails. i attempted to correct this problem, but also added the address.sorry for any inconvenience.

Lyssa said...

I am just now getting into the world of bluegrass. After nineteen years of classical guitar, I needed something new! So I picked up the mandolin. It's a joy and a pain to play, because it is SO different than what I'm used to, in the best and worst ways! But I do love bluegrass. If you are ever in St. Louis, please let me know, and I'll come hear you play, or meet up for coffee, or whatever. I promise I'm not a creeper : ) You can contact me on my blog! Which, by the way, thanks for visiting earlier!

Lucy said...

I was so amazed to hear you peform, what a brilliant musician you are, Abigail! I think it can be confronting being around other musicians sometimes. Sometimes when I am around other guitarists I realize how differently I play some chords, or how differently I position myself around the instrument. And like you, I can be my own worst critic. But really, there is so much truth in your words. It doesn't matter if it's different. That's how if works for you, and that's what feels best for you, and it sounds darn brilliant! You have so beautifully written the feeling of being able to 'just play' an instrument as if it were an extension upon yourself. There is no other feeling like it!

Susanne said...

Love your music! ☼ I've always been in love with the sound of the banjo :)


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