Taking the challenge

For many years one of my biggest challenges in life has been when I go out and play as a street musician and people enjoy it very much and don’t put money in my case.

You also may know that I have done a really terrible job of booking myself real gigs and so very often my only option if I want to play is to go out and play as a street musician.

An additional complication is that when I’m at home I don’t really sit and play more than a song or two and then I just start noodling around on guitar rather than singing songs.

Another complication is that I really feel the need to play for people. It is just not as satisfying to me to sit in my room and play, yet when I go out and play and people tell me they love it and dance around and don’t put money in the case I get really really angry, frustrated, upset and depressed. Very often I have come home feeling terrible and it has taken me hours of distracting myself to get over it.

On the one hand I feel this deep need to play for people, on the other hand I need to feel appreciated. Talk is cheap, real appreciation is money. When people really value something they put money into it. To constantly feel like I am giving and giving and giving and people are taking and taking and taking and giving nothing back has been extremely difficult for me over the years. I have talked to other street musicians who have felt the same way.

This winter I have not played a gig for months. Yesterday was a relative heat wave. I felt like playing so I dressed really warmly and went down to my spot by the ice cream parlor and played for 2 hours. I really enjoyed the playing, for the first hour it seems like there was some junk on my vocal cords which gradually got worked out so by the second hour I had my voice back. Probably rust from the winter.

There were people sitting outside, as I say it was actually quite a nice day, meaning low forties and sunny, quite pleasant sitting in the sun. I played 2 hours, made $6. Given the amount of people out $15-20 would probably have been about right.

But I realize that my challenge in personal terms this year is to just go play, look for the money to come back in a greater karmic sense, and not go into deep negative states when the tangible appreciation is not showing up. That’s a lot more difficult for me because the truth is I usually really need the money, but I’ve decided that I really want to clean my accounts with this lifetime issue in the course of this next playing season.

So there it is.