Friends, Guitars, and Lightbulb Moments

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.

Photo: Shawn Colvin - Mary Chapin CarpenterYou know how people say… “Enjoy the guitar stylings of  blah.. blah.. blah… “?  Well… I truly do enjoy the guitar stylings of Shawn Colvin – every shade – every nuance. Masterful!

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!Graphic: LightbulbI’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).


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