Saturday, October 31, 2015

Oct 31-Annapolis, MD Happy Halloween!

Hello people of the present & future-

It's been a long while since I've posted; although I have been busy, I've had time. I just had forgotten how fantastic it was to make myself accountable to write. I wanted to be a writer when I was a kid (and a cast member of SNL…and a marine biologist), and one of the main reasons I love to write is for the healthy meditative aspect. So with that in mind, I am going to try and commit to posting more frequently. 

Also, fortunately for me, a lot of amazing folks have said some kind things about the things that I write! Pretty cool; in fact its very reassuring that my ramblings don't come across as awful. In fact, to some folks, I might even be entertaining. 

I'm currently sitting in kind of a tragic hotel in Annapolis; a Best Western. I love Best Westerns because we have the same initials, but this place is pretty miserable. That being said, I can't think of a better place to celebrate Halloween. This place doesn't feel haunted necessarily; however I do feel like I might be murdered.

The past month has been a professional whirlwind and there is nothing I want more. I played in San Francisco at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival with The Indigo Girls. I played at Chastain Park and Eddie's Attic with Michelle Malone. I rocked Smiths Olde Bar with Caryn Womack. I've begun rehearsals for the musical "A Christmas Carol" for which I am playing bass in the pit. I've played with the fabulous El Quattro, who I will write about in length many times. I've been hard at work writing songs with the best production team in the world, Mercalli Music. I'm about to kick off a 17 day tour with Indigo Girls of the northeast. 

All of this has been so much fun, and I appreciate the opportunity to pursue music more than ever. I am eternally grateful for all the support. I learned long ago that bass is a harmony instrument; its very difficult for it to exist on its own. In a similar vein, that is how I feel about my life. I have tremendous friendships and a beautiful family. And, while I don't have a girlfriend, I have something like 11 bass guitars & I would take those numbers again and again :) 

For my first blog back, I'd like to muse a schtikle about the importance of riding the various waves that crash into the courses of our lives. Some of these waves take us closer to our tropical island destination; others will smash into our hulls and perhaps wreck us of course. However, whether waves are good or bad is almost irrelevant, because the correct course of action is always to push thru. 

When I play the bass, I can usually feel if a show will be good or bad after a few minutes. And I will admit that often times this realization will spurn somewhat of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Nevertheless, there are plenty of times when a terrible show turned into a transcendent performance, and that's because I didn't panic. 

I have a hard time not panicking in regular life. In fact, sometimes I feel paralyzed by worst case scenarios that haven't even happened. But, as usual, my musical habits are years ahead of my emotional ones (sorry friends). 

The key comes down to recognizing the power of the moment and marshaling that towards your goals. If your goals have integrity? Even better. There is an amazing energy force that comes with this epically bad shows, just as there is an amazing energy force that comes from the amazing musical moments I sometimes find myself in. Either way, the feeling of a vital energy pushing myself towards intensity is something that we can ignore, we can let wash over us, or we can use it to our advantage. I used to try and treat every concert the same way no matter what; I'm doing my job, I love it, etc. That isn't necessarily the right way. 

We have to enjoy the good moments and we have to make it thru the bad ones. All the while we must ask ourselves why? Why is this good? Why is this bad? What made this happened and how can I make it happen again? How can I avoid it? 
You can't live in your head when are playing music; you must be emoting in a super free way. The best way to do this is to keep a still mind, realize what moment you are in, and continue to play the correct chords. 

I've had some dry moments professionally and simply reframed those moments as an opportunity to learn more as a musician. These dry periods are great for growing as a performer and supporting other musicians. 

I'm on a beautiful professional streak right now & it probably won't last forever. But it might. And I'm pretty open to that idea as well :) 

With that written meditation on paper, I will say that I'm looking forward spending the night in this horrifying hotel. Maybe a ghost will come into my room in the middle of the night. Maybe there will be an eerie mist that creeps into the first floor of the Annapolis Best Western. Maybe this ghost will help me finally learn the correct chords :) 

trick or treat; we need 'em both,

Benjamin 

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