Sep 062014

Here in the U.S. kids are heading back to school after summer break. I’d like to share a few books about artistic young people to go with the back-to-school theme.

Wingman by Daniel Pinkwater tells the story of a young artistic boy who embarks on imaginative and daring adventures to escape his hostile, hateful elementary school.

Dr. Bird’s Advice For Sad Poets by Evan Roskos is the story of an enxious, depressed high-school student who sseeks solace in Walt Whitman, photography, and hugging trees.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell is the story of Cath going off to college to become a fiction writer, only to find that making friends, creating, and simply surviving day after day are too much. I especially love the characters in this book. I find a tremendous amount of heart in Rowell’s novels.

If you’re not into books written for a younger audience, maybe it’s a good time to revisit a favorite from years ago. Perhaps a book, album, play, or painting comes to mind that meant a lot to you when you were young. Take a little time to go back to a fond experience to renew yourself.

Nov 202013

Have you ever heard of a “memory leak?” It’s a classic problem in programming computer software.

A memory leak occurs when an application doesn’t let go of memory when it is done using it. For example, an ATM shouldn’t try to keep information about all customers that have used it in the past week. It only needs to hold the current customer’s information. Once a person logs in, makes a transaction, then logs out, the transaction is stored permanently in the bank’s systems. The ATM is done with that customer, so it should free its memory and wait for the next customer.

If the ATM isn’t programmed properly, it might not free up all its memory after each customer transaction is finished. Over time the machine has less and less memory until it starts to run slowly or crashes. The memory seems to leak away. It’s there, but the flawed programming doesn’t use it efficiently.

A person doing artistic work can have memory leaks too. A human “memory leak” is a common cause of the sluggish, stuck experience known as a “creative block.”

Often A blocked writer starts getting ideas when he frees up his brain’s memory capacity. The grocery list, the dog’s facial appointment, and the sequence of episodes in the first four seasons of his favorite TV show take up valuable brain power that could otherwise be used for creating and editing. The grocery list can be written down, so it doesn’t need to be held continually in his mind. The dog’s appointment can go on the calendar. And, well sometimes trivia about TV shows really isn’t very important, is it?

A musician waiting to go onstage holds a tremendous amount of cognitive and emotional information in her mind. “I’m nervous. I want to make a good impression. Did I forget anything? Why is the light so odd in this place?” That information is powerful. It sends messages to the body such as, “Be alert! This is a vulnerable situation.” If the fear response escalates, she may experience Shaky hands, sweaty armpits, and a dry mouth. She may feel stiff, stunned, and blocked, wondering why things are always so scary onstage.

If she can free up some brain power by letting go of the “worry” information, then her mind and body will have resources available for making music and connecting with her audience. However, if her mind holds onto those “I’m scared” feelings and thoughts long after they have served their purpose, she will not move efficiently from a defensive state to a confident one.

Here are some simple things you can try to reclaim some brain power when you feel blocked:

  1. Take long, deep breaths
  2. Write down to-do lists
  3. Watch less TV
  4. Take a few minutes to do nothing
  5. Replace a worried thought with a hopeful one
  6. Start your creative work earlier in the day
  7. Write your appointments and reminders in a calendar
  8. Take a nap
  9. Avoid trivia
  10. go for a walk or a run
  11. Make time to daydream
  12. Change your routines regularly
  13. Spend time with an animal
  14. Go to bed a little earlier
  15. Fall in love with your creative endeavors
  16. Say encouraging things to yourself every day
  17. Keep working even when you don’t feel like it
Nov 082013

I like to think of creativity exercises as short-term tools. They’re not really solutions in themselves, but they can break habits, build habits, and help the heart and mind break away from malaise.

I’m talking about creativity exercises such as: think of a color, then write down ten objects that have the color. Then write a story plot using those objects. Or, take a musical phrase and play it in all twelve keys, then play it backwards in all twelve keys. Sure you could write a story or a piece of music this way, but usually the process is much more imaginative than that.

It reminds me of my religious life from many years ago. People would really get into the rules and procedures of prayer, but it seemed rare that anyone actually achieved a prayerful life. I might not have it right, and maybe folks were experiencing something far more substantial than what I saw. But it seemed to me that prayer was usually about certain physical acts, like closing eyes, bowing heads, folding hands or linking hands with others. It was about words, lots of tedious words, despite Jesus’ teaching on that subject. And Jesus also taught that praying in public places was a waste of time, yet folks seemed so into saying verbose prayers in public almost any chance they got.

Something similar goes on with musicians and writers. One of the hardest things for me when I’m teaching music lessons is to help a student simply relax and fall into playing music. There’s always lots of discussion about buying more instruements and accessories, even though the student already has too much stuff. It seems like the idea of playing music is more appealing than the actual experience of it. I think it seems like the work that goes into learning an instrument holds some kind of dread. It might go back to how nasty and boring our assignments were in school as kids. It might have to do with something similar with parents, with religious education and services, how we’re taught as kids to dread the stuff that everyone says is so important.

By the way, if you are reading this and you have taken lessons from me, please don’t think I’m describing you specifically. Almost all the music students I’ve had over the years have struggled to find happiness in making their music.

For writers, there are exercises and books about writing. There’s worry about writing. There are all kinds of classes and activities around writing, even finishing an MFA. All useful in some ways, but I think the best attitude is to see all that as short-term. Those are little tools to help get things started, but you’re not writing until you’re writing. Just write. Go ahead. If you don’t know what to write about, then wait. Take a walk. Don’t think about it, just wait. Don’t worry, you’ll get some ideas sooner or later.

I recently ran across a mention of Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt’s “Oblique Strategies” cards. I heard about them many years ago, and it’s a very cool idea. You pick a card, and it points you to some new direction for your current work. Here are some examples:

  • A line has two sides.
  • Do nothing for as long as possible.
  • Question the heroic approach
  • Ask people to work against their better judgement.

(This text came from

I’ve never actually owned a set of these cards, but the idea is enough for me. Just do something different, change the monotony, or repeat the unpredictableness, or just launch out into some place. Go eat a sandwich. Go find an animal to say hello to. Think inside the box. Think outside the box. And then eat the box.

Oct 022013

So you want to become a writer?

Yeah. I think I’d like that.

What writing have you done?

Not much, just some stuff that isn’t too serious.

Are you writing anything now?

Yeah, a few pieces that I have in various stages.

What are those pieces?

I’m not sure. Just some thoughts, some ideas. Like I said, nothing serious.

But writing is serious work, even if it’s not serious content. Can you get a little more definite about what you want to work on?

Hmm, well I guess I’m not very decisive about it. I’m not sure how to get more definite or specific.

I like that word “decisive.” That’s what I’m getting at. You’ll need to decide a lot of things as a writer.

Sure. I’ll need to delete words, choose words, rewrite without getting bogged down in indecision.

Yes. You’ll also need to choose what you are working on. In other words, you need to have a very clear, practical project in mind. For example, which of these sound interesting to you: A memoir, a novel, some short stories, magazine articles, or a non-fiction book?

Hmm. Definitely not a non-fiction book. I’m not interested in a biography or historical study or anything like that.


I was thinking of something more literary. A novel or short story.

What about a memoir or some kind of personal essay?

Maybe, but I’d be tempted to spend time explaining mydself, defending myself. I think writing anything like a memoir would just bring out lots of paranoia.

Makes sense. So you’re thinking something literary?

Yeah, like writing novels.

What kind of novel?

I like sci-fi, but there’s so much out there.

Well sure, but let’s not worry about a marketing angle right now.

(Laughs) OK, but I like the idea of creating worlds that are really strange. I like sci-fi, though I’m not sure if I could pull off something that could get beyond the stupid old robots and space ships thing.

Are there other genres where you create weird worlds?

Sure, fantasy is a big thing with me too, and lots of people like that.

That sounds like more marketing. You’re not going to earn an income from this. At least not at the start. You need to do some writing, pay some dues and so on.

I’m just trying to get to something specific, like you said.

Fair enough.

Fantasy could mix with other stuff. There are lots of urban werewolf things, vampire things, stuff set in present times. I have something like that in mind, something where I take the ordinary world and make something strange and amazing happen.

How about this. Instead of a world, can you make it much, much smaller?

Hmm. sure, like a very small town. When I was a kid we lived in this little town of about two thousand people. Lots of farmers, lots of old worn-down little factory buildings. It was very quiet and pretty boring, but you could get a lot of reading done.

Could you start writing with that, something with that quiet little town?

Maybe. I don’t know where it would go. It’s not a novel.

You can’t think up an entire novel in a few minutes. You can get a starting point, like a little town. Or you could have a very basic plot idea, like the queen of England is actually from another solar system.

Sure, well I could start with the town and see where it leads. I think that makes sense. Use a little town as a seed and see what I can imagine.

Exactly. Just live in it every day. Even if it’s just for a few minutes, live in that fictional place and let your imagination grow it out.

yeah, that sounds good. I’ll try that and see how it goes.

May 132013

Every few days I end up in a conversation with some musicians where the topic is, “Why we all hate marketing and business stuff surrounding our music.” Musicians hate marketing, hate cold-calling DJs, hate negotiating gigs, and hate asking to get paid to play.

In his new book, Making Your Creative Mark, Eric Maisel gives some great reframing or thought-substitution techniques to get through the discouraging stuff. The basic idea is to be attentive to your inner conversations, and eliminate thoughts that do not serve your interests.

Here’s an example:

“I have to call three or four people today to start setting up gigs for this winter.” OK, that’s a good, sensible, useful thing to have in your head.

Then along comes the next thought. “I hate calling people. I wish I didn’t have to do that stupid stuff.” OK, this is where you need some substituting. You hate making business calls, but it’s not useful to think too much about that. What could you substitute?

“I don’t like making biz calls, but it only takes about twenty minutes. Then I can get on with something more interesting. Besides, I haven’t talked to Carol in Colorado for a while, and she’s always great to talk to.”

That substitution will give you a much better chance of actually getting those calls done. Kind of obvious? Yes. But discouragement and procrastination are built on gloomy moods, not following what is obvious and logical. And as Maisel points out, it is often very useful to let go of a thought even though it may be true. You hate doing something, fine if that’s true. But let go of that thought if it doesn’t serve your creativity.

Of course artistic passion means more than simply finding ways to get tedious tasks done. Obsessed, devoted, impetuous, falling madly, lustily, foolishly, hopelessly in love with your creativity. Forget discipline–this isn’t military training. It’s your romance with that instrument, that moment of writing, that dance, applying tools to wood and stone, speaking to the canvas with your brushes.

In the same book, Maisel writes that passion is what separates artists from dabblers. Some people can create casually, occasionally working at something, but usually one must stay passionate and be in the work day after day to create well. The concept of “getting into flow” is often spoken of in terms of immersing into something for several hours. But flow can also be a way of life, where artistic passion is a driving and directing force behind everything you do day upon day.

A runner must have strong mental and emotional focus during a race. But she also trains day after day with that same competitive drive and intensity. The passion to succeed is not a switch she can turn on right before a race and then forget it afterward. Success comes from wanting it and living like she means it. That’s the same kind of passion needed to live a fulfilling artistic life.

This new book from Eric Maisel is one of the best things I’ve seen in a while for the creative personality. He covers the most common difficulties and struggles facing artistic people–your thoughts, confidence, passion, identity, freedom, and relationships. If you’re not on the bandwagon reading every new book that coms along for artists, writers, or musicians, that’s cool. But this is one book I’d recommend to everyone with the desire to create.

Dec 272012

Are you stuck in artistic quicksand, unable to get going with your art, music, acting, or writing,? Perhaps you see yourself in the following picture:

You have conflicting emotions about your work. You procrastinate consistently through sophisticated techniques of diversion and distraction. You spend about ninety minutes this month on your work, but next month you promise yourself that you’ll dive into it every evening and weekend to make up for squandered time. And you keep wondering why you have such frustrating flaws when others seem to be so prolific.

Getting unstuck is no simple job, but there are some common tactics that many find helpful. First, understand that feeling trapped in artistic quicksand is practically a universal experience. Most people find digging deep and creating to be tough stuff, so don’t think you are unusual because you can’t get going. Writing a novel requires you to sweat and struggle far more than writing a business memo or a grocery list. Finishing your painting is much more demanding than helping your third-grader finish his homework. (Well, it’s supposed to be, but some third-graders can be pretty stubborn.)

Sometimes the answer is getting your mind back into practical things. It’s hard to work when you keep asking yourself, “Am I talented? Does my work matter? What if I’m choosing the wrong project? What if people hate it when it’s done?” Better to quiet down the mind and give yourself over to the task at hand. Turn off your super-busy thoughts, and pick up the paint brush, pen, script, or score. Trust yourself and submerge yourself in your work.

On the other hand, you might feel overwhelmed by the myriad little steps that lie ahead. You’re chugging along on your novel, and you keep thinking, “I’ve still got tens of thousands of words to write. I’ve been working on this for a year and a half, and my inspired feelings left me a long time ago. It’s enough to make Sisyphus pity me!”

The bored, uninspired times are to be expected, even when you have endless energy and an optimistic attitude. When you feel a deep doubt inside, it may be a good time to consider what you value most. Usually the answer is something like, “I keep forgetting how much I love my work. I’ve been so busy worrying that I’ve lost sight of my artistic heart. I have to remember that if I can work for ten hours a week, I’ll have this project done in maybe twelve to eighteen months.” If your inspired mind can cheer on your industrious, methodical side, then you have a good chance of getting through the dull days.

You might try investing in some non-creating time for renewal and strength. Like a tennis player who works out in the gym to improve her game on the court, you may benefit from some supporting activities. Here are some suggestions.

  • Meditation and attention exercises to strengthen your mental focus
  • Healthy diet and physical exercise to increase your stamina
  • Attending workshops, reading books, and relying on the expertise of others to gain business savvy
  • Relaxation and stress-reduction techniques to manage anxiety
  • Taking long walks to refresh your mind and feed your imagination
  • Investing a little extra time into planning and scheduling to keep your projects on track
  • Loving yourself, being your own number-one fan and supporter

Artistic quicksand is no joke. When you’re stuck, it’s miserable. But almost all of us feel the doubts and worries that you feel. And there are practical things that might help you in your particular little patch of quicksand now. Push yourself, ask a friend to keep you accountable, find a supportive group of peers, or get a creativity coach. The path leading into the quicksand is well worn, but the path out is probably a lot closer than you think.

Oct 212012

Writing workshops. Writers’ groups. Online courses. Masters of Fine Arts programs. Writing books full of writing exercises. Writing coaches and creativity coaches. Blogs. Dictionaries, thesauruses, and grammar books..

With all these great resources available, you’d think that our society would be over the top with prolific and enthusiastic novelists. So why is it that very few people who want to write a novel can’t get it done?

I recently read a great little book by Walter Mosley called This Year You Write Your Novel. Mosley is a successful novelist with many books to his credit. And he put everything he knows about writing novels into this useful little book. You should give it a read if you’ve ever had a notion for writing a novel.

Day By Day

The title is kind of bossy, right? This year you get the job done, no messing around. Getting started is tough, and finishing is tough. But if you have an idea and a willingness to write, you better just get started.
Stop thinking about writing and start writing.

Mosley emphasizes the importance of showing up and staying at your writing every day. There are no shortcuts, and no one is going to hand something to you. If you want to produce something good, you need to spend the time and brain power on the task. Mosley says that ninety minutes a day is the minimum amount required, and I wouldn’t argue with that.

Writing every day isn’t just about dedication. According to Mosley, your subconscious mind needs continuity to do its best creating. When you keep heading back to those characters, that scene, that plot and that other subplot, your imagination can stir around the story without breaking momentum. It’s like a musician rehearsing–you don’t practice for a week, and you’ve got some ground to make up.

Step By Step

Mosley talks through the practical steps of writing. Get started, don’t stop to revise and edit until the entire draft is done. Then revise and revise and on and on. You’re done when you keep trying to make it better, but you make it worse instead. That’s when you know it’s as far as it’s going to go.

The book also explains basic techniques of novel writing. Metaphor, simile, dialog, scenery, plot, point-of-view, showing rather than telling, etc. If you’re not familiar with these things, this book is a good place to start.

Again, it’s like a musician practicing her techniques. As you use the tools and methods of novel-writing, you’ll get better at them. There are no writing exercises in Mosley’s book. He says that writing the real stuff is the best practice you can get.

What Happens Next

Mosley finishes the book with an overview of the publishing business. He describes the roles of agents and publishers, and how a book deal is made. Again, the process is explained, but you’ll have to try it and fail at it in order to eventually get better at it.

There’s no certainty of success here. No one can hand you a step-by-step guide to getting your first novel published. Some writers are lucky and others are not. Putting in your best effort for one year will get you a solid draft, and that’s as far as Mosley’s book promises to take you.

A book about writing should be brief and to the point. You have an itch to write, then get going. Understand the tools and techniques of the trade, and then start showing up for work every day. If that sounds good to you, take a little time to read Mosley’s book. Then off you go.

See the book at Amazon

Aug 032012

We all get stuck in artistic quicksand from time to time. That bored, uninspired, pessimistic fog can creep in and mess with the imagination. What do you do when you find yourself saying things like this?

  • I feel blue and uninspired about what to work on next, but I don’t know why.
  • I have no motivation.
  • I don’t have any good ideas left.
  • the project I just finished was a huge success, and I got lots of positive feedback on it–so now I feel gloomy and discouraged about the future for some illogical reason.
  • My last project was a flop. I don’t feel like going through that again, but I want to work on something.

There are lots of things you could do to get yourself motivated and inspired. You might take some walks. Maybe talking about your struggles with a friend helps you get unstuck. For a lot of people, journaling is one of the best exercises to clear some debris and undergrowth from the creative path.

Journaling? Really?

Maybe the idea of journaling sounds frivolous or boring to you. You might say, “Look, I’m not the type of person to write a hundred pages about how being a third-born sibling set me back fifteen years in my emotional development. And I’m not about to write out some plan for what I will do every day for the next five years. The last thing I want is some homework assignment to take up what little time and energy I have left.”

OK, none of us wants a boring burdensome introspection project, fair enough. But I actually have something simpler in mind. For me, journaling is writing down your reflections about yourself and your experiences over some time in order to maintain a broader perspective on yourself. It’s just using the act of writing to orient yourself so your moods and problems don’t completely cloud over your view of things. I’m suggesting that you simply spend time regularly reflecting and writing about yourself.

If you’re feeling stuck or uninspired right now, then start writing down your thoughts about that. Use the pen or keyboard to bring some order and logic to the problem. No deep self-psychoanalysis necessary, just getting your mind a little more focused on what you want to do about your quicksand.

Here are some practical steps for getting started with journaling:

  • Next time you’re at the drug store pick up one of those 100-page composition books that kids use in school. The smaller ones with fewer pages are great so you don’t feel like you have lots of blank paper that you need to fill up.
  • Pick a specific time and place to journal every day for a few days. Mornings are often a good choice, because that is when your mind is rested and not yet cluttered with the irritations and stresses of the day.
  • Just write. You can ask yourself questions. You can talk to yourself. You can just write silly rhymes and weird musings that pop into your mind, if that is helpful or meaningful. No one else needs to read this, so just write what you need to write.
  • Go into it with no expectations. The journaling might be a waste of time, or it might change your life. Everyone’s experience will be a little different. Try not to expect anything–just see what happens.

You don’t need to make journaling an intense, life-long commitment. I personally don’t like to journal much, but I do find it helpful from time to time. There’s no “should” here–just try it if you think it might be useful, and forget it if it doesn’t do much for you.

Time Traveling

Try one of these prompts to get your words flowing:

Travel to the past: Think of someone from your past that is one of your heroes. What advice would this hero give you for today?

Travel to the future: Imagine a conversation with your future self–maybe yourself five or ten years from now. What wisdom and encouragement would you get from conversing with your future self?

Give it a try for a few days. Jot down a few paragraphs every morning for the next week or so, letting your past heroes or future self offer some advice and perspective.

And, while we’re talking about time travel, allow me to recommend my favorite time-travel novel, Borgel by Daniel Pinkwater. This little novel is no longer in print as a stand-alone, so you might need to look for a used copy to buy. Or, you can buy it as part of Pinkwater’s Four Fantastic Novels collection. Or, you can listen to the free audio book at

Feb 202012

Imagine a bunch of kids in a backyard football game. They play for the pure fun of the game. The game is not a means to an end–just a pleasure in itself. None of them think about the status and wealth that comes to the most gifted athletes. They play because it’s fun to play. The kids abandon all thoughts except the game itself, losing themselves in the moment of the action.

Lose Yourself

How can an artistic personality bring an attitude of abandon to his work?

  • Lose track of time. Set up your schedule so you have some blocks of time to just hang out with your work. Find an afternoon or evening where you don’t have to think about the next thing coming up in an hour. Even better, set up a regular time. “Every Saturday night I stay up late with my sculpture work.”
  • Lose yourself in space. Find a comfortable place where you feel good doing your work. That place might be a typical work area, such as a library or home studio. It might be an unusual place, such as sitting in your car in the park, or on the steps leading up to the attic. Find a place where you can get lost in your work without interruption, even if that means negotiating some spatial boundaries with others in your home.
  • Lose yourself in the work. Produce without worrying about marketability. You can decide which finished pieces you will send out into the public later. First things first–just work and forget everything else. Your imagination has enough material most of the time. It only needs you to struggle through the hard work of choosing, creating, revising, and finishing.

Play games

Give your imagination some freedom, let it run off its leash for a while.

  • A poet who is stuck might try to write the worst poem possible, or she might try writing a love poem to an earthworm.
  • A musician struggling with an intense piece of music could try playing a few lines backward or in a silly rhythm, just for some comic relief.
  • An actor might parody himself, or imitate his cat performing Shakespeare.
  • A novelist could imagine a plot where a large rock is elected prime minister of Canada, and how that would bring about world peace. Or perhaps a story where scientists discover that the number eighty-two doesn’t really exist.
  • An artist could draw cartoons of giant forks and spoons having a dance in the kitchen.

Though these are silly suggestions, there is a serious side to the attitude of abandon. Sometimes the intensity of artistic work makes a soul miserable. Sometimes a creative person holds to tightly to her project. She tries to hard, worries too much about outcomes, and suddenly the joy of the work turns into resentment and harsh self-criticism.

For the artistic personality that feels discouraged or stuck, letting go with the attitude of abandon can help break up the ice around the imagination. What are some things you can do to grow the attitude of abandon in your creative endeavors?

Aug 242011

Stacey Earle and Mark Stuart are hard-working songwriters and musicians from Tennessee. They tour extensively, bringing their polished songwriting and personal warmth to their audiences with just their voices and acoustic guitars.

I interviewed Stacey and Mark via email about their work as musicians and life on the road. You can read more about them and purchase their music at their website.

How do you see your distinct personalities complementing each other in your

MS: When we met in 1992 I was spending more time with musicians (although I was also a songwriter). Stacey led me down a path where I was putting more time in to songwriting circles, most of them not being strong players. This helped me to emphasize the writing more in my career. Stacey did a stint as a staff writer, so, we were in that camp for several years. I probably helped steer her in to being a stronger musician.

How do you approach practicing? Do you take a spontaneous approach, or do you use scales, exercises, warm-ups in a more systematic way?

SE: We are onstage most of the year and that is our practice! But, it is a natural thing to pick up a guitar when we are home.

MS: I play when not on tour, but, other music and other instruments. I never really played scales as a practice method, just songs.

What is the most fun part of touring? What is the most fun part about
finally getting back home?

SE: The fun part is everything we see, persons we meet, and moments we experience from point A to B (show to show). When I get home I am playing “house” and gardening.

Where’s the best food in the U. S.? Europe?

SE: My favorite is San Antonio, TX (carne gasada!). In Europe it is Spain.

Have you experienced creative block or other obstacles? Where do you find
creative renewal during down times?

SE: I have for the first time in my life as a result of the loss of my dad. The renewal? I don’t know-I guess it will come with time.

MS: Booking dates, driving to them, and performing so much has taken up a lot of my creative space. I will have to fight my way out of it.

What went into the decision to sell your entire catalog with unreleased
tracks on the flash drive? How’s the reception been for the new medium?

MS: We had a lot of material that had never been heard by our audience. We thought it would be a great idea to couple that batch of songs with all of our CDs. And, this is seemingly the new age we are in.

SE: The reception has been great. It has brought an MP3 option to our merch table (vs. folks going home after a show and purchasing it on Itunes!). Where downloads are a great store, it has hurt merch sales at shows. This is money artists need for tour support.

What advice would you give to someone who admires your music and wants to build a musician’s career?

SE: Be prepared to give it 100%. That means you live on the road, away from your family and friends. And, you quit the security of your day job. It is all a great risk for the love of music.

MS: All of what Stacey said is true. You will not likely be a good plumber if you spend all of your time as a banker. This is a business, not a hobby, and has to be treated that way. The first time I went on tour at age 18 it was so liberating to be in a van all day and at a hotel and venue at night with several other people who were full-time musicians. We talked about it all of the time and did not have other influences pulling our energy away from our dream. There is no room for me to do this part-time because there are thousands of others doing it 24/7. I cannot compete with them unless I am serious about my career.

It’s been great having you come through northern VA the past few years.
Hope to see and hear you again very soon. Thanks!