70. Open stage

I thought back to when I had first started attending my weekly open stage.

I had decided that it was time to add a little more music into my life. When I’m playing music, I’m able to keep the pessimism demons at bay a little easier. I had heard about a weekly open stage that happens not far from my place. So that night I had grabbed my mandolin, and hopped a bus.

When it was my turn to go on stage, I don’t know what’n hell happened. Suddenly, I was into sharing. I got situated on stage and just started talking. “So, it’s been just a little while since I separated from my wife of 17 years. If you listen really closely, you may hear that reflected in the songs I’m about to perform, but you’ll have to pay attention because it’s subtle.”

I played an opening riff, and then started singing my favourite Hank Williams song. You guessed it: Your Cheating Heart. The audience was amused. They laughed and clapped – and I was hooked. I knew I would be coming back here a lot more.

Time for the second song. One I’d learned from an old Iris Dement CD: God May Forgive You (But I Won’t).

With my two songs done, I went back into the audience, to watch the rest of the performers. It was a great night. Even while watching the other performers, I was able to relax and enjoy myself. But when I was on stage, WOW! Just like getting a tattoo: I was focused; I wasn’t depressed, or over-thinking anything. It was just me and my axe trying to squeeze out our pain as joyfully as possible.

This was WAY more fun than therapy!

… not that I would ever quit my therapy. I still need that shit.

That had been almost a year ago, and I still attended the open stage, the jam session, AND my therapy regularly. Things seemed to be improving.