Last night we went to see an intimate concert with buddies, Shawn Colvin and Mary Chapin Carpenter at the Keswick Theatre outside of Philadelphia.
I love those “talk a little”, “sing a little” “we’re-just-hanging-out-with-you” concerts that Mary and Shawn (like we’re on a first-name basis) do so well.
Anyway, at some point during the concert, I had a lightbulb moment. I’m sure that for many, this would just be a peanut butter and jelly moment, but for me it was lobster!
Ok… so a couple of years ago when I had a life-threatening, lesson-learning time in my life, I bought a guitar. I played briefly a thousand years ago in the 60’s when I was a non-drug taking hippie (Believe it or not, there were a couple of us). So with my new “life is short” first-hand knowledge, I decided not to waste it (life, that is). Even though I was 62+ years old, I was still kickin’ and so I made up my mind to learn to play the guitar.
Enter self-doubt. I have small hands, gnarly pinky fingers (can you spell rheumatoid arthritis) and I got hung up on barre chords. (I don’t think I’m alone) I mistakenly thought that I couldn’t REALLY play the guitar until I mastered barre chords (or as I call them…. big girl chords), so I’ve played a little off and on but not like I wanted to play OR as much as I wanted to play. (At the moment I have no callouses.. shame… shame…shame) I was frustrated and made it way too personal. You know… “you’re so stupid”… “you can’t do anything”… “what a putz”… “pathetic”… and on and on. (I’m excellent at discouraging voices in my head)
ANYWAY… I watched Shawn and Mary play last night for 2 1/2 hours and I saw Mary play two “big-girl” chords (just two) in two different songs and in one song for Shawn.
I’m great at nuance, but very often, the obvious escapes me. 2 1/2 hours of beautiful music? Two big-girl chords???? Well.. what the hell am I waiting for? For my fingers to grow or my pinkies to straighten out? Not gonna happen! BUT… I think if I just freakin’ play… the barre chords may come (or they may not). Whatever!I’m going to STOP listening to the crappy voices in my head (or better yet, change them) AND the guitar snobs (one of whom I live with) who believe (and are quick to opine) that if you can’t play barre chords, you don’t really play the guitar.
There’s another lesson here – way bigger than playing the guitar. I’ve always had a hard time being my friend. Maybe at this late point in my life, it’s time I start.
While I ponder that-there thought… enjoy this video that I found of Shawn and Mary and what this tour is about (and watch for the big-girl chords).