Monday, March 16, 2009

Odds and Ends...

Hello folks, and welcome back to the Steelworks blog. As I explained/whined about in an earlier e-mail, things have been a little hectic around here with the planning of our first large scale event. Fortunately, I'm coming up for air and am happy to be able to get back to a little gear-head journalism. 

In feeling overwhelmed by the planning and sorting of this event, I found myself in my shop today taking a break from it all and just walking around looking at wall art, projects in various stages, parts, and all the other soothing and comforting things that make a gear-head's shop such a sanctuary. It worked. I calmed down, began to really enjoy the fact that we were experiencing one of the warmer days in recent weeks, had the garage doors open etc. It all started to feel right again...  slowly. 

Taking a true love of your life and mixing in a business concept with it is always dangerous. Especially when that love has been completely untainted by the outside world for as long as you've known it. This is yours and yours alone. Your feelings about it have never been affected by other peoples opinions. This is your escape, your expression, a safe haven, and now you're taking the leap into exposing it to the literal world. A world of numbers, dates, and deadlines. Very risky business indeed. 

What if you ruin it for yourself? Did you ever think that was possible? No not really, but you never know until you've crossed over with it. What could be worse than having this great life escape represent something other than that for years to come? Yes, you can get over a lot with time, but do you want to have to? As all of this was going through my head the thoughts and feelings all felt very familiar. I have been in this part of my brain before on many occasions. 

Music. That's what it was. This is something that I've been having to badminton around in my head for as long as I can remember. I do this with music. Of course, I set off on my path to make a living as a professional musician so long ago that all of my little self-preservation tactics have become firmly placed in the muscle-memory category and I'm barely aware of them any more. This is of course a great thing, as you are doing constant maintenance on your psyche and not even realizing it. Simple stuff, like developing a habit of listening to the music that most inspires you when you feel like your performances are falling off or you've been on the road too long, have played 3 shows that week and have 3 to go and don't know that you have anything new to say...  and are wondering how the great ones always do. Being drawn to pick up your instrument to play some musical ideas that are completely different from what your job is requiring of you at the time, so as to make the stuff you have to play every night somehow seem fresh. Sort of channeling new-found energy from new ideas into matter-of-fact material that has become too familiar. 

Of course you're doing all of these things and not realizing why, you just know it's feeling right at the time when you are. You can see it when you step outside of it of course, but you never want to be too aware of it when in the act or it won't work. I'm sure Stanislavski had a great way of dealing with all of this. Though I suppose there are those times when even your little psychological self-cleaning oven can't keep up with the sludge of whatever feels like a life-dirge at the time and you have to be pro-active. That's when I call in the reinforcements. 

When most people would just gather with friends down at the pub and thrash this stuff until it's been left for dead ( which I promise, does work ), I call on a dear friend of mine who is not only one of our greatest songwriter/performers, but also provides very solid and free psychotherapy. Now the funny thing is, I've done this enough times over the years that it has now nearly become a bit- it goes something like this; First, I get very down about whatever I'm doing at the time musically, then I phone ( that's the really easy part ). When the phone picks up I say,"Hey, tell me again why you love Bob Dylan." This gets a laugh every time because this person now knows this call and also knows where my head must be at. I get to listen to an inspired and well articulated case as to how and why music can mean so much, and that it always should. Soon I'm back in a great place with music, as I'm reminded of its beauty, why I got into this in the first place, and that there are much heavier, more talented, and more musical people who set the bar very high every day, providing inspiration and motivation. 

Ahh, and all is right with the world once again. Again, it was a funny feeling to experience this with my love of all things vintage and speedy in the world of motorsports. This had never happened, but let me be clear... I certainly wasn't getting down about the work I was having to do in organizing what I know will be a glorious event, I just found myself bogged down in a lot of stuff that had to be done that didn't have anything to do with horsepower, speed, or automotive style. It felt like busy work. And I suppose that's what it was, very necessary busy work. 

And I guess this is just what happens when you decide to get just a little more serious about one of your passions than you had originally planned. That's when the issue of balance can enter the picture. I do know this though; If I had not accomplished the task of being able to pay my bills with music, then music would not be as big and important a part of my life. I certainly would not have experienced the great highs with it that I have and I wouldn't have developed what is now a solid "in-for-life" relationship with it. Yes, my relationship with it can be challenging from time to time, but when it's working ( which is, fortunately, most of the time ) there is nothing greater in my life or that brings me greater joy. 

Now, I have been around, and have had a great passion for, the old car world my entire life. If I look back at the trajectory of my journey with it, this next step is the natural one. This is where it should be heading. I'm too crazy about it to be casual, and what could be better than to try and go to this next level of involvement? I can't think of a single reason not to. As has been proven to me with my music, my passion will just grow stronger. So what if occasionally I have to ring a friend and ask,"Hey, tell me again why you think the sound of a 12 cylinder Ferrari at full song is glorious"? 

I'll know I've done the right thing, because, as is the case with Bob Dylan, ...  I already know the answer. 

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