I had a vulnerability hangover after Saturday night’s gig with the Lofi Sofias playing as the Velvet Underground. It happens sometimes. This was my first time playing guitar and singing. Some shows don’t push my comfort zone much, but this one did. And it’s good. It’s good to say “yes” even when I am scared.
Feeling scared can be tiring. I was in bed by 11 pm after the show, and did not get out of bed until 9 am the next morning. When I woke up, I recounted the evening before – how the chaos on stage sounded nothing like our sound check, how it was all mush and I couldn’t hear myself and how I felt lost and couldn’t get my grounding for the entire set, but moved through it anyway. No choice. And amidst all the confusion we still had fun and so did the audience.
While having my coffee, I spiraled up and down between what the heck happened? to oh well! to that was fun! to I need a break to I did find a groove and was actually dancing while playing guitar – did you see that? And then I remembered the band that covered Spinal Tap wants to book a show with us.
All the while sliding up and down the analysis of the show and my feelings, my partner Paul (who is also a musician and artist), just listened. He kept telling me we were great, that we rocked, and yes, he could barely discern the vocals, but the energy was there and people were having a fun time.
I let Sunday be a slow day. Not only did we have a show Saturday night, but on Saturday morning, Gina, Jessica and I promoted the show and had an interview and played stripped down versions of some Velvet songs and Lofi Sofias songs for the local radio station KJACK. There was a lot to digest, and, I want more of this in my life.
I finally got out to ride my mountain bike around 4 pm. That’s a late start, considering it’s fairly dark by six. I needed the fresh air and to spin my legs and to let my mind let go. For me, the best cure for any emotional discomfort, or too much thinking, is time in nature.
Oh, it felt so good to get out there. It had been so long since I went out for a ride just to ride. It’s been strange, since I quit my job at the university, I have been more busy than ever – and it’s all good things – but I have barely made the time to ride my bike. It’s like I am catching up on all the things I had no energy for, and now I am looking for some balance. Poetry, art, music and nature fill the well.
(Oh mountain! I love you)
It’s so important to do what you love, and I love music, art, and writing – I am grateful for this time to create. I couldn’t do it, wasn’t doing it, with a full-time job. I’d be at work feeling like I needed to be somewhere else, like I was in the wrong place and it was killing me before I had a chance to live. I never felt like I had the time or energy to dive in and go deep with my art.
It used to not be so expensive just to be alive. But I can’t let that grind me down, I’ve turned over these last couple of months to trust and deliberate action. Income is happening – I am reading tarot cards, and life modeling for local artists, and pet sitting. Performance sometime makes money, and I am trusting that my paintings will sell, and I have workshops ready to launch.
I know my work has value. I know I have value.
The ride was invigorating. Zipping along the trails, breathing in the fresh air, taking in the beauty, I thought about artists that I love:
- Of course Lou Reed was on my mind, I emulated him Saturday night during the Monster Mash Show. Sunday was his death anniversary. I thought about how he struggled, how his parents put him through electric shock treatment to cure his homosexual tendencies – I mean – oh my God! And it didn’t stop him. He kept making art and finding beauty in life even amongst the ugliness, even when the people who should have loved him most told him his existence was wrong.
- And it was Sylvia Plath’s birthday. How much richer would this world be if she managed not to succumb to darkness? Through her writing I consider her a friend.
- One of the most lifelong inspiring artists to me is Patti Smith. I heard a snippet of her reading from her latest book Year of the Monkey before I went out for a ride. Her words are so simple, she observes the world, and in the simplicity, there is deep human compassion. She is still going strong. She is still writing and touring with her band. I just love her.
On the very last part of my ride, it was getting dark and I had to switch on my headlamp. The twilight animals were coming out. I saw deer and rabbits, briefly thought about mountain lions and bobcats and bears and how I have never encountered any of them on my night rides.
I smiled. As I was bounding down the mountain, I thought about how before the show, I told my drummer Gina that I felt scared. She said, “Don’t worry! Once we are on that stage, there is no way we can’t rock!” And I laughed. She is ferocious! She makes me a better person.
And riding my mountain bike scares me, too. Scared me a lot when I first started. And I still love it!
I’m taking a deep breath and diving into the week. I’m starting a new painting, a new video project, and my desire to write has been re-invigorated.
Last night, I rehearsed with another music project for a gig coming up on October 30th. We are calling ourselves Holly and the Altar Boys for the evening. We classify the music as New Americana. Turns out stretching beyond my comfort zone paid off. I found myself taking vocal risks that took the music to a new level. Piece of cake!
I am amazed and grateful for the ocean of creativity I am swimming in! And for riding! Always grateful for the ride.
Photos of the Lofi Sofias by Paul Perreault
2 thoughts on “Riding into the Velvet Sunset”
…. All quiet on the western front…
All good hopefully your end.
Peas, punk rock
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nice to hear from you, Nick!
All good – all not so quiet, but in a peace punk sort of way!
keep on keeping on indeed! 🙂
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