Bar Scott

Becoming

I’m sad today. Maybe it’s the snow that’s falling when my body wants it to be spring. Maybe it’s being alone for six days straight, a gift in many ways but also boring after a while. Maybe it’s that I was in Woodstock last week and I feel more and more distant from my life there, as if it’s gone from me forever. It’s not, of course, but it’s changed its place in my heart. Maybe it’s that I’m transitioning from writing music that others will hear soon to writing for myself because doing concerts regularly is harder and harder.

Weather

A couple of weeks ago my brother met a couple with a 6-month-old girl at a coffee shop in Hong Kong. The young family was sitting at a nearby table. My brother was drawn to the little girl so he said hello. After a brief conversation the family got up to go. A moment later, the father came back and thanked my brother for his kindness. He said, “I don’t usually tell people this so I’m not sure why I’m telling you, but our little girl is sick.” My brother asked what was going on, and the father said “she’s got a rare liver cancer called hepatoblastoma. She’s just finished her third round of chemo.” My brother looked 

Dialogue worth reading

Last year my sister gave me a book written by Lynda Barry called What It Is. If you’re a writer, or an artist working in any form, I highly recommend this book. It’s dense and intense but Barry has a handle on some pretty common issues artists face (and people generally). She’s an illustrator who teaches art, but this book is directed at writers. She’s a great writer, too.

The reason I’m mentioning it here is that there’s this one sequence of dialogue in the early part of the book that I keep thinking about. Barry’s describing a conversation with her husband. It’s set in a comic strip of the two of them. Here’s how it goes:

Your Work

I subscribe to a blog created by a publishing company run by and for women writers called SheWrites Press. Every week or so I get an email with a bunch of links to articles I hardly ever read, but one last week caught my eye. The title was “Don’t Quit Your Day Job.” That phrase has always irritated me. What I think when I hear it is You’re not good enough to do the thing you love so don’t fool yourself. I might also think the person who just said that thinks the grind of a 9 to 5 job is more virtuous, more responsible and mature than the person who commits everything to their art. As far as I know, no one has ever said these words to me directly, but it’s become a cliché thing to say to or about artists who are struggling with the business side of their work.

Doors Opening

I recently read a book on Finding Vocation written by a Quaker named Parker Palmer. Some of what he writes about describes my current struggle exactly. He talks about a time in his life when he felt lost and frustrated. He thought he should have been more successful by then (he was in his mid-thirties). When he went 

Small Gatherings for Music

This morning I got a message from someone who’s been reading my emails and blogs since 2000 when they started. He wondered why he hadn’t heard from me for a while. Was I well? Unwell? Happy? Too busy to write? I was glad to tell him I was happy, busy, not too busy to write, just too busy to have anything real to offer. His nudge, a note from my dad this morning, a conversation with my husband yesterday, and a concert I did Saturday night got me thinking about what’s worth writing about so here I am again.

 

A Nice Realization

On Sunday, my husband Brent and I went with our dogs up to some land he owns south of town. To get to his place you need a 4-wheel drive vehicle. It’s a challenging ride. There’s a lot of bumping and swaying to get to the first gate, then even more to get to the second. You have to hold on tight. He and the dogs love it and so do I, but I’m not always willing to endure the trek. Often I’d rather sit in my studio and play or write.

            Brent’s 45 acres are adjacent to The San Isabel National Forest. Westcliffe, the town we live in, is 

All Things in Time

Once a week my friends Doris and Nicole and I meet by phone or in person to do some writing together. One or more of us offers a prompt then we take 20 minutes to write quickly in response to that prompt. This morning was our writing day. Sometimes what I write could be developed into something more, sometimes what I write is a disaster, sometimes I learn something without realizing I needed to learn it. This morning was one of those times. The prompt was:

 

Keeping your shaky hand steady

 

Here's what I wrote:

 

An Artist's Life and Why it's Important to Keep in Touch

One of the things artists like me deal with on a daily basis is the question of what am I doing, and why am I doing it. Add to that the need to do whatever it is we can do to make a buck, get noticed, or be heard. I’m so used to it that although it wears me out, I don’t question whether it could be any other way. I know it could be if only I got a regular job that involved a time clock, a job description, and a hierarchy within which to 

For Longing

Every week my friends Nicole and Doris and I meet by phone or in person to do some writing together. This week all three of us are physically here, and we have time to meet each morning for 90 minutes. Lucky, lucky us! This morning was our third in a row and tomorrow will be our fourth. 

We meet at 8:00, pour tea, then one of us offers a prompt to which we each respond in writing for 20 minutes (timed). Quick writing without an agenda, or time to think too much, can access different ideas and perspectives – often the writing sparkles because we haven't tried too hard. 

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