The trouble with music is that music necessitates sharing, almost as if some inherent feature in it contains an altruism prompt. Of course I do not mean to equivocate selflessness and musicians which might seem to be the case. Music is independent of its escape route. Just like water will find a path through the surface of most any material – eventually – music seems to find the path out.
While this may not seem problematic, and it may well not be for some, it has become a gnawing battle between conflicting emotions for me. Not typically an especially extroverted person, letting music escape from me to a wider audience has been like staring into an abyss, both mesmerizing and terrifying. Yet, nevertheless, with a great deal of encouragement and support from friends, I untethered some music from my soul to let it whirl about at the Fox and Goose last night and tickle the cilia of a few eardrums.
My legs were trembling and there was a brief moment during the last song when I thought I would not remain in the upright primate position. I think I looked up once, briefly, realized my glasses were on, removed them, set them on the table in front of me and never again removed my fixed gaze from the neck of my guitar until I finished. Not exactly a dynamic performer. Yet to set billions of air molecules to dance in that one particular choreography that only those notes from the guitar could direct in that way at that moment was exhilarating.
I had queried several seasoned musicians for insight about performance dread (they call it anxiety) and tried to make use of it. In the end I’m not sure what happened. Compulsively pacing while waiting for the lottery to learn when in the queue of players my slot was destined, the tickets were drawn. Ticket after ticket after ticket until finally mine. Dead last.
In the end it may have been good old fashioned guilt that pushed me through my fog of physiological petrification. Ten innocent people who had come to show support on a Monday night until about as late in the night as one can get before the night technically becomes morning could not be denied. But I feel as though it was by making myself small that I survived the battle of conflicting emotions, the big booming canons of a pounding heart, the raging voice of the martyred mistress of guilt, and the ephemeral guile of music.
Thanks to all of you music lovers and all those friends who helped me jump off the deep end.