Hello, good morning, and welcome to the
Saturday Morning News Post!
Well, so much for a punctual SMNP this week! It’s been a busy time for this ol’ clarinetist as I’ve been driving around Alberta with family, visiting relatives I haven’t seen since I was little; in some cases, relatives that I’ve never met. I can now say I’ve been to Edmonton, Vermilion, Ardrossan, Rimbey, Red Deer and Islay.
I know, right? Pretty cool.
The whole thing was my idea too. I thought it’d be fun, or at least interesting, and it was both. Lots of beautiful people in this family tree of mine, and lots of great stories.
In particular, farming stories are quite something. Listening to farmers (especially older farmers) talk about their work was impressive. I mean, I work pretty hard, but not near as hard I could. A point made all the clearer after listening to these people talk about working their 600 freakin’ acres of land, or waking up every hour through February nights to help the cows with calving, or threshing wheat ’til 3am and then working a 2nd job starting at 6am.
And then it occurred to me that it doesn’t matter what job you do, what matters is the resolve and integrity with which you do it.
It also occurred to me that I am not a farmer. I’m a musician.
Yes, I really should know that by now, but often I think, “Why should I get to play music and write music and be inspired and excited? What makes ME so damn special?” Some people would ask the same questions of me I’m sure, viewing my pursuits as selfish (OK, that one’s true), immature or downright invalid. I suppose it wouldn’t be such a concern if I was actually making
a decent living a living at it. (Damnit Jim! I’m a jazz-man, not a day trader!)
Anyways, ultimately the answer is, nothing. Nothing makes me “special,” or… any more special than anyone else. I just have to keep doing it because a.) I can and b.) because I turn into a miserable bastard if I stop doing it.
After 6 days of this vacation, I finally had a chance to practice clarinet for 10 minutes, a chance to let out some of musical ideas I had been thinking about while driving around Alberta. And those ideas led to more ideas and soon I was excited (and a little overwhelmed) which how much there was to work on just within one simple idea.
After the first 30 seconds of practicing I could feel my brain lighting up with interest and then I laughed and blurted “I’m a musician!” out loud to myself. It was so clear. I just wasn’t as interested in anything else as I was with playing, not as excited about anything else as I was the next recording project, or show, etc.. It’s not what you do, it’s the resolve and integrity with which you do it that counts and I can do more.
And with that, I think I’ll tap out of this SMNP.
Thanks for reading and have a great week everyone!
Above illustration by Harry Everett Townsend (1879-1941)