On Communities Becoming Insular

22 Oct

Being part of a healthy community is great. There you find people that support you, and encourage you in whatever your heart loves. Everyone (should) help each other out if there ever is a need or a problem. In a healthy community, everyone is included. New people join in, because there is a lot of love and acceptance that everyone needs. However, I have found that healthy communities are few, and far-between. They may have started out as a good idea, or a good work, but usually most healthy communities either fizzle out from lack of hope, or people within them try to gain control through manipulation and weeding out what they think is the weakest link or is the biggest threat to their seniority.

This happens when the “old crowd” gets too comfortable with their own illusions of who they think that they are. If anything different is thrown into the regular mix, it makes them uncomfortable. If the thing/person that is different makes them look not as awesome as they think they are, they will go out of their way to discredit this person. If the thing/person that is different doesn’t meet whatever standard they have created, (whether verbal or non-verbal,) then that person is ignored or blown off, left to the fringes of the so-called “awesome” society.

To have a community that thrives, one that incites change in its environment, and pushes people to create better things, you have to be inclusive. There can’t be rigid pecking orders. If there have been the same damn people being the big shots for years, and they haven’t moved onto higher goals and accomplishments, then the community is stifled. If there isn’t an inclusion of different colors, (whether of skin, style, social class,) then the community is stagnate. If the community looks the same as it did years before, without an improvement, then the community is dying a slow death. The big shots will grow old, bored, or quit. The “middle class” will find something else to garner its attention. The “poor”, or those not included in the community, will have moved on, and found a place with more fertile soil to grow in. (Perhaps becoming better/more successful than the big shots of the insular community that they were pushed out of.)

Communities have to evolve or they will die out. People have to allow change, let go of the reins, and shake off pride. Otherwise, things become droll, mundane, and lifeless. However, a community that opens itself up to new ideas, to new people, and to new ways, will incite a true revolution. A true revolution can’t be denied, because its aftershocks affect generations. GENERATIONS!

A community becoming insular will self-implode. A community growing exponentially, because of INCLUSION, will outwardly explode into true revolution, and the world will feel it roar.

Canning

6 Oct

This is what we’ve been doing since the spring.

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And this:

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And this:

green beans mint and oregano cucumber relish jelly cabinet pumpkins and maters pickles

Regrets, If Only’s, and Because Of’s

5 Oct

I was thinking today about regret.  In my life, regret comes too late.  If we would have that ominous feeling before we did something or said something or made a choice, we probably would have not done or said the things that we did.  Looking back at my life, it has plenty of “if onlies”.  “If only” I would have never answered that ad on Craig’s List….  “If only” I was wiser about some of the things that I know now….  “If only” I would have seen this situation in a different light sooner….

But without these “if only’s”, we wouldn’t have regrets.  And without regret, we wouldn’t see how we need to change.  If we choose to swallow pride, then we can change.  When we choose this change, then we can embrace the “because of’s”.  Because of my bad choices in a situation, I am a wiser, stronger person.  That’s when you can look at the regrets and if-only’s and find peace.

“The pendulum swings to find the middle

The sparrow falls so she can land

New strings are tuned on worn-out fiddles

As the fiddler plucks their strands

To play with the sojourn band….”

 

A Little About Destiny

26 Sep

There have been doors closed in my music career that I haven’t understood why they were closed, because they were noble causes. Sometimes I grieve a little bit as I look back at those blocked passages. But they were paths that I tried to force… unnatural and unwanted.

When I turned around, I looked at the dim future with squinted eyes, not knowing what was ahead. It took awhile for my eyes to adjust. Always, my path is only illuminated a step or two ahead of me. It takes faith and courage.

So, I step forward, in the here-and-now, finding peace because there is hope. The present is what is tangible; the only thing I can truly see.

It looks a bit different than I thought it would. I’m wearing a different set of clothes than before. They were uncomfortable at first, but the clothes had my name on them; they are woven with experiences and threaded with wisdom. I gladly wear them, as I walk with more confidence than I ever thought I could muster. This is my destiny.

Some Live Gig Pics

15 Sep

I performed in St. Louis, MO, and Rochester, IL, over the weekend. My Dad took some pics of me on my phone while I was gigging at the Walnut Street Winery in Rochester. I thought that I’d share them with you, because they turned out pretty cool.

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A gig fell through on my tour to Canada, so my schedule is not finalized, since I am having to refill the dates. I’ll keep you updated.

Behind the Scenes Video!

23 Jul

Here is a behind-the-scenes video I made about what I generally do before a show.

The Voice of Negativity

6 Jul

 

Last night I had somewhat of an epiphany. I realized you can’t win them all and that even though the voices of those whom you can’t win may seem the loudest, they aren’t the majority. I’ve always known this in my head, but last night it became a reality.

 

I’ve been camping with our family for several days for our vacation. I have a couple of gigs coming up within the next couple of days and so being, have had to pull out my guitar to practice. This makes me a little embarrassed, because although my destiny is on the stage, I don’t like to draw unwanted attention to myself. It was a necessity in this case, so I practiced.

 

While strumming, I had a golf cart full of people, pulling a flat bed trailer of people around the campgrounds, stop in front of the fire. The driver wanted me to play a song, so I started playing one of my own. I got stopped in the middle of it, because there was a guy in the back who wanted to hear better. As he pulled around, he wanted me to play a cover of Toby Keith. (I want to point out that he was a DRUNK guy who wanted to hear better that wanted me to play a cover of Toby Keith.) When I said that I don’t play country music, he wanted a cover of someone else. When I pointed out that I play originals mostly, he wanted me to play a “folksy” song of mine. When I replied that I play blues-roots music, he told me to play a good song.

 

So I played, “Black Ball”, (which is the main song that got played when I charted #2 on the Roots Music Report’s Roots Rock charts and still gets radio play two and half years after its release.) He stopped me in the middle of it and wanted me to play a Bonnie Raitt song. Apparently he doesn’t like my guitar playing. Not that I blame him, I don’t like my guitar playing either. It is a necessity though, since I can’t afford to hire someone on the road and pay for their food and lodging. Playing for myself gets me a profit to help my music along.

 

Anyway, back to the cover of Bonnie Raitt… I said I only play originals, in which he scolded me and told me I should play covers. Then he told me that someone needed to help me out, saying more rude stuff along the way. I was perturbed to the point of giving him a piece of my mind, when they finally drove off and I didn’t have to.

 

At first when he left, I had that panicky feeling of “not good enough” that likes to plague me occasionally because of my strict, religious upbringing. But then I started to think about it… He was a belligerent drunk sitting in a lawn chair in the back of trailer pulled by a golf cart at a campground site in the middle of nowhere in NC. (And he was wearing a tow chain around his neck like a necklace. Classy.) Who cares what he thinks?

 

Then I began to think about everyone else that was there in the trailer and golf cart. Every single other person that was on that golf-cart and trailer LOVED my music. They were refuting him and telling me how great I was. The driver of the golf cart even offered to drive my bus when I “got big”. They were saying that they were going to see me on TV someday. Other people who drove by loved my music and said that I should be on TV.

 

So, I began thinking some more and asking questions, because that is what I do. :) Why is it that the voice of negativity always is the loudest? Why does that one negative voice out of dozens of positive ones, seem to get us down, drowning out the positive voices?

 

I’m not 100% sure why that is. Perhaps the negative voice touches on our insecurities. It takes someone strong enough to not allow the negative voices to become the majority in our minds and to simply keep on going despite them. Normally it would have taken me days to shake off what the drunken man had said to me, but I was happy that I was able to shake it off within a few minutes. This is a big step for me, because my self-confidence has always been my weakest area when it comes to this music business.

 

So, sorry drunken campground trailer king, I can’t play guitar like a virtuoso, which is what I think you were trying to get from me. (Or maybe you are just one of those small people who likes to accentuate the weakest areas so you look better as you drunkenly flaunt your supposed inferiority, while wearing a tow chain around your neck.) Truth is, I can play well enough to accompany myself without a huge amount of embarrassment, but I am a pretty darn good singer, (better than most,) who has been writing some pretty darn good songs lately, (better than I’ve ever written.) I have a wonderful group of family, friends, fans, and an awesome label to support me and teach me. Who. Are. You?

 

Moral: Don’t let negative people get you down. They aren’t the majority. Don’t hang around them. They are terrible influences. And who wants to be around someone so droll, anyway?

 

Love you all! :)

 

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