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April 25, 2006

Hopping

Last weekend I felt inspired watching Ani DiFranco belt out songs full of joy. She sang to a sold out show with people wondering - why choose such a small venue when she can fill a hall triple the size? Tonight I watched as an old friend rolled with the crowd and played passionately in front of a miniscule audience. At the Cedar show, all though jam-packed to the gills, the crowd felt small - honored to be included in such a comparatively little venue. Tonight, the tiny crowd felt intimately huge. We made just as much noise as the Ani fans, despite being one tenth in size (if even that). My friend on stage laughed and joked with us as though it were a sold out show.

Both these musicians were under-selling themselves. I marveled at the similarity and remembered a friend advising me that people's joy in their job tends to be inversely related to their paycheck. I felt honored and inspired by watching these musicians' joy and dedication to their art. I realized that although they may get compensated some for the show - that isn't why they are doing it. When you consistently under charge for your labor, while it could be because you devalue your talents (and I hope not) the alternative is because you never want to feel like doing a task for the money. It is much better to feel underpaid but that you are doing the job because of love, devotion, friendship, or a dozen other more pleasant reasons than monetary value. True, the world takes money and we need it to pay our bills. However, money doesn't buy happiness; the only thing that provides happiness is joy and satisfaction that comes with doing what you love and loving what you do.

Understanding this is very important these days, as I feel awakened from a long slumber - like I am finally falling in love again. Seeing these musicians following their hearts could not come at a more inspiring time as I contemplate pursuing my own passion and realize how scary that is.

April 23, 2006

free be

Two weeks ago I saw Ray Davies (of the Kinks) for free - won two tickets via email. Then tonight I was blessed with the chance to volunteer to see Ani DiFranco at the Cedar Cultural Center - a cozy venue that holds less than five hundred folks total.

Both these musicians have been playing for decades, Ray twice as long as Ani, and both brought such love and joy to their sets that I was amazed and inspired. Although Ani is still young enough to be considered beautiful, those days are numbered, as evidenced by Ray, who is old enough to easily be called "a dirty old man". Yet, on stage, none of this matters. The only important thing is their joy at being able to play the guitar and sing on stage in front of people who really appreciate it. New material is not necessary but is enjoyed. Their fan base is so huge that often price weeds out the dedicated from the obsessive.

When I was young I thought youth was all important. Newness mattered more than reputation and knowledge. However, after seeing weathered musicians perform, I no longer prescribe to that ideology. The fact is, age separates out those stars who enjoy music for the sake of stardom and those who accept stardom as the cost of being able to pursue their true love - music.

I only hope my true love will be as sustaining, inspiring, and rejuvenating.

April 18, 2006

Airy April

Half-way through the month - time flies during the spring before the flies waken. The long days are condusive to bike riding, hiking, Magnolia parties, late-afternoon-beer with friends and family... I am afraid there hasn't been much writing. The lists of thoughts needing documentation, documents needing editing, and edited pieces needing more editing grows and grows.

The internet seems cramped compared to the colorful sunsets and cloud patterns that spread across the sky. The computer seems limiting, unable to contain the joy that seeps like green onto trees, starting out as a gradual halo and spreading from branch to branch. The screen lacks the color and depth found in a fresh flower bravely popping out of its bud.

However, tonight the clouds swirled and darkened the sky early. Spring can be both mild and violent. Tonight electricity speckles the sky with intermittent light and charges the air with promises of energy. It reminded me to connect with the electric world (disconnected from the wall of course) and see what the electrons on my computer has to say. So it goes.