On rejecting stage fright

I thought about it briefly as I was getting ready to meet my friend Jen for the evening. I thought about it long enough to pick out a poem to read, if I did in fact pull my finger out of my ass and read that night. Mind you, it took me less than 30 seconds to figure out which poem I would read. You know, if I did read that night.

I had a particularly difficult day. Most days had been difficult leading up to that day. Most days are difficult, but you find the light1, focus just below it and you move forward. We arrived pretty early; much earlier than we needed to. Thank goodness, because we were both starving. We walked next door to a cute little restaurant called The Combine Eatery – which seems like such an awkward name, but the food and the service made up for it.

I think it really helped that I was with Jen; she’s always been someone who always accepted me for who I am, and has always been such a good friend. We arrived late, but were able to sneak a couple of seats in the back of the room while the first poet was reading from her book of poems. All the poets were lovely in their own way. Jen and I had our favourites.

It wasn’t until the second break that I told Jen I was thinking of going up. I didn’t have a reaction when I told her. That was progress. I also didn’t have a reaction when I went up to the front to sign-up. More progress. There were three people in total to sign up for the open mic component that night. I was to go last.

The first was a man who had memorized his own poem, and performed it with such conviction it could only be described as art. The second was an older lady who was part of a trio of older women who wrote poems together; she was endearing, and her poem heart-warming. Every time one of them stepped up to the microphone, my heart raced and my upper body would get really hot. I used my meditation breathing to bring my heart-rate down. It worked, temporarily, every time. More progress.

What impressed me the most was that when it was my turn to step up to the microphone, I was able to ignore the fact that my chest was burning, my heart was racing, and that my fingers were shaking so much for long enough to provide whoever was listening with a very small introduction about myself, and – better yet – to read the whole poem. It helped that the audience was kind, and that I announced that I have stage fright. It also helped that I picked a very short poem.

I’m proud of myself for being able to do that. I’m not sure how often I’ll do it, but I like the idea that maybe with enough practice I’ll actually be able to sing in public without doubting myself too.

  1. you don’t want to go blind after all []

A good practice day

I sing. A lot. I’ve written about this love more than once. It simply makes my heart happy. Sometimes I like to sing a little more seriously than others; I think normal people call it ‘practicing’.

One day, I had a great practice. I still didn’t earn an A+, though; My brain decided to drop the lyrics about three quarters of the way through the second chorus but I didn’t let that faze((it just occurred to me how long it has been since I have used that word, man does it look freaky)) me. I skipped a couple of lines and took a breath for the part that was coming up: The hardest part. The bridge1.

You see, in this particular song, there’s a really high note that’s held for a long time and then it changes notes and you have to make it to sound as if sung from the same breath as previously mentioned! Well, fuck me. I have loved this song though. It’s my song. I’ve been trying to conquer it for so long and I have yet to get 100%. Maybe all I need is just one2, but I won’t know if I don’t get that first one.

[It’s funny how sometimes you could be writing about one thing yet there are a myriad of other life aspects it could be applied to. I digress.]

That day, not only did it feel perfectly comfortable skipping those words but I nailed the bridge. It felt so good. Better than sex3. And that was enough for me that day. I felt accomplished. On top of all that, I figured out a thing or two about my own voice and the inner workings of it. All by myself4.

I’d still prefer to get voice lessons at some point in my life; one day 🙂 For now, I’m just going to have to keep figuring it out on my own5.

What’s your favourite hobby?

  1. say that in a deep bass voice []
  2. 100 percent []
  3. okay maybe they’re equal []
  4. no, that was not the song []
  5. no that was not the song either []

Gravity

I first did this with ‘A Beautiful Mess’ by Jason Mraz here. And I had a hard time choosing what song to drool over next but since his recent Album release and subsequent CD release gig, this song has crept it’s way back into my heart – despite being off of his last album, and not the recent one. Continuum is an incredible album that got me through 2008 like nothing else could have, and if I had to pick a favourite it would be ‘Gravity’. This song can stop me in my tracks, no matter what I am doing1.

The slow tempo, the guitar riff, the ‘Ooh’s at the beginning by the backup signers and the opening chords evoke the image of a low-lit room where two lovers are holding each other tight… never wanting to let go. And when John starts singing… I. just. melt.

Gravity
Is working against me
And gravity
Wants to bring me down

Whoa I’ll never know
What makes this man
With all the love
That his heart can stand
Dream of ways
To throw it all away

Whoa Gravity
Is working against me
And gravity
Wants to bring me down

Oh twice as much
Ain’t twice as good
And can’t sustain
Like one half could
It’s wanting more
It’s gonna send me to my knees

instrumental

Oh twice as much
Ain’t twice as good
And can’t sustain
Like one half could
It’s wanting more
It’s gonna send me to my knees

Oh gravity
Stay the hell away from me
Oh gravity
Has taken better men than me
Now how can that be?

Just keep me where the light is
Just keep me where the light is
Just keep me where the light is
C’mon keep me where the light is
C’mon keep me where the light is
C’mon keep me where keep me where the light is

Granted the lyrics are a little more cryptic than the last song that I talked about, but a lot of John’s stuff is. I think its better that way, so we can all apply the song to any situation. I think Gravity is the first song I’ve ever loved as much that was about more than the lyrics. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this at one point or another, but I love words. And for me to like a song because the of music really says something.

This song could make me dance. I’m not an interpretive dancer, but it could make me do it… I feel the music pulsing through my veins that fervently when I listen to this song2. Watching him play this live on Tuesday night made me love the song even more; watching him play each note and feel it with his entire body… you just can’t help but become enchanted.

Have you heard this song? What do you think?

  1. it can also intensify fornication for me but you didn’t need to know that… []
  2. I won’t go on about how I feel like John’s thoughts and feelings from when he wrote this song are also pulsing their way through me… oh crap, I just did that didn’t I? Oh well… []