What I Want to Be

Her face is a map of the world; it’s a map of the world.
You can see she’s a beautiful girl; she’s a beautiful girl.
And everything around her is a silver pool of light.
The people who surround her feel the benefit of it.
It makes you calm; she holds you captivated in her palm.
Suddenly I see; this is what I want to be.

–“Suddenly I See,”  K.T. Tunstall

We’ve all known women like this.  When we pass them walking their smiles are like traffic lights, and we smile back, given a new secret.  The dynamics of their practiced voices remind us of their unusual strength, and we want to be nestled and belonging under the protection of their arm.  When we hold their hands, their selves are completely alive and buzzing with energy and vigor.  It radiates out of their beautiful bodies and with smiling eyes some of it reaches out to us, and we are restarted.  If they happen to speak to us, we are forever changed.  While they are talking we almost cannot take it all in.  And while it’s happening we know that what they are saying is what we most need to hear, what we have been longing to hear.  And these women take this moment and give its focus to us; they speak of us and what we need and what we do.  They encourage us and empower us.  We later recall their words in countless conversations.  The moment is a turning.

This is what I want to be.

Where does this come from?  Is it born necessarily out of injustice and striving?  Is it directly gifted from heaven a benevolent spiritual gift?  Is it a personality so perfectly balanced between self-actualization and selflessness that it never violates boundaries and never lies and never accepts injustice even to the self?  Is it simply a choice some people make, like salvation, which once it’s made gradually sanctifies the whole being into the best possible version of the self, repeatedly casting aside pettiness, slipping and rising again, never surrendering to the sweetness of pride but standing stubbornly on truth.  I suspect it is a recipe constantly changing; each one just as lovely and unique as the last, delightful in peculiarity and sincerity.

This is what I want to be.

Last night–at the Empowered Women Empower Women event at the BCPA– I was surrounded by women such as this and I am reminded and re-inspired to be and become that best possible version of myself that balances the acknowledgement and value of who I am now and who I can be tomorrow simultaneously with the selflessness, good humor, and spotlight-sharing of empowering other women to be that as well.

Nervous girl in the wings, shaking sweating hands.  Tiny dancer, hopping and stretching on your little feet, gentle girl singing.  Woman just finding voice, woman who lives to collect and protect other souls, woman who nurtures, and woman who makes us laugh. Woman who projects energy and power, woman who sees and knows, woman who makes a change, woman who reclaims her life, woman who challenges and singles out, woman who sits and stand witness to empowerment.  Thank you for a night of glowing stars.

I am empowered, and I will empower in turn.  My closing song, I’ll Be Aright, is an early thank you.  Make sure to head over to the pre-order/pledge page to reserve your copy of my new album; I will be posting the free download for I’ll Be Alright through that platform. Or, if pre-orders aren’t your thing, you can also send me an email here;  I’ll add you to my mailing list, and I’ll be able to share the track with you that way. If you enjoyed the music last night and want to support me, thank you!  Buying the music, telling people about the new album, sending out emails to your friends (emails are especially successful), sharing and posting on social media, all of that makes it possible for me to keep creating music. All of those things really do make a difference.

This is what I want to be.

For You, Dear: Taking Me Back, My New Album

It is quiet in the house and early.  The wind is blowing steadily and strong after the night of storms; the house is creaking and bending, the crows calling, and I can hear the deep far away sound of the world turning as it does in the morning, making music.

I am wakeful and anxious as today is a day that I have been working toward for a long time. Today is the day that I am going to ask the world for something; that I’m going to give it something and hope it doesn’t turn me down. I am an admirer with a ring in my pocket and flowers in my hand, determined to give a speech.  I am a surprise party hiding behind a couch with balloons.  I am a fixer upper, remodeled and put together just for you.

A couple of years ago, my husband gifted me a leather journal, thick with heavy, lined paper and covered in musical notation.  I love it.  The pages are just the right size; for when laid open, the two page spread gives me just enough room to take notes and make lists and still compose all in one space.   It took me two years of writing music to fill it.  I take it with me almost everywhere.  All of the music on Taking Me Back was written in it. It is completely full.

It is hard for me to imagine that I spent two years on this project.  A year writing music and crafting it, another year recording it.  And now it is finished. As the advice is “make good art; put it out into the world,”  –here world.

It is a big leap–or feels so to me–for me to make something and then turn around and call it art.  It is a big leap to call oneself an artist.  It feels like the title should come with credentials.  It feels like the name should be applied by an objective outsider. It feels like wearing a costume to apply the term to yourself.

Why is that?  I’m sure that it isn’t hard to call yourself a baker when you bake.  It isn’t hard to call yourself a plumber if you plumb.  Maybe it’s because we don’t have any real quantifiers when it comes to designating what is art and what is not.  I mean not everyone who makes a cake is a “real” baker.  My husband can fix a leaky faucet (actually he can fix anything and just in the last evening he’s fixed the printer, the stapler, dinner, the router, and my email) but he’s not a plumber.  We all understand the difference.  Maybe that’s why some of us worry that we have not earned the title.  No one can really say what is art and what is not. Who is an artist and who is not.  And without a test to pass, no one can say for sure what it is you are doing.  At least at first.

I read some advice for Pledge Music campaigns like mine just recently and it said, “This is not the time to be cool.  This is the time to be real. And tell your friends the truth.”  Well, okay, this is real. And this is the truth:  I really need your support.  I really need your enthusiasm.  I need to sell this album, in all its forms, and make the record label super happy and willing to make another one.  I really need to defy the odds and the critics, especially the one in my head. More truth:  I’m both nervous and happy. Nervous because I don’t want to let everyone down. Nervous because I don’t want to fail. Nervous because I’m really not good at asking for help.  Nervous because I worked really hard, and it’s still not perfect, and it’s not going to be.  And happy because now I get to enjoy this for a little while.  Playing and talking and laughing and living it.  Happy because I get to go out and be in the world with it and be a part of things with it.  Happy because I made something and had the chance to put it out into the world, and I did it.

Whether I have earned the title of artist or not I cannot know.  But I have made something and it’s too late to turn back now.  I have made something, and I’m putting it out into the world.  I have made it for you, dear.

Sara Quah- For You, Dear

So, here it is: the Pledge Music Pre-Order Campaign for Taking Me Back.


If you want to read more about how I got to this place, this day (!), check out this post.

Read the other posts in my Taking Me Back Series:



What I Heard


How I’m Feeling


A Little Bit

Take Me Away

20 Steps

The Field Now


All about us is an open field.  We conduct and interact and work and go and be in it. Moving about like ants over the openness without much awareness of the scope of our travels.  Back and forth to this place with these people.  Back and forth to that place with those people.  Again and again.  New faces mixing in and old ones leaving sometimes.

Within this open field, for as long as I can remember, are muted lines like tributaries, like capillaries, criss-crossing the space.  We can see them.  They make a geometric pattern on the ground, a constellation.  But these lines are filled with sand, and with all the steps over them muting their edges, and all the weight rolling over them compacting their strength, their presence is less obvious and rarely cumbersome.  We think about them sometimes, but mostly we don’t.  We travel freely over them, alongside them, without any fear of their giving way.

But now.

Now is a new playing field.  Deep under the ground a shift has taken place.  A low and subtle shake moved one plate, and another, and another, till the full spaces became empty spaces and the empty spaces became trenches and the trenches became wider.  And our crossings and goings became more dangerous and sometimes just impossible.  The sand that filled up those seams now drained, the sieve no longer blocked by norms.  Our movements are affected.  We try to go and move as before, and we are slowed; we are tripped and scuffed; we are separate.

I look across the widening, roiling trenches and see faces of those people over there.  I cannot reach them; they cannot reach me.  I look around my own island, the clipped edges jutting out severely. I see faces of these people over here.  I must hold tight to them.  We must keep our balance together, distribute the discomfort among ourselves and make of this our new tribe.  We turn in.

Who can calm the heaving plates recoiling?  Who can smooth the earth’s jagged joinings? Who can settle those trembling atop them?  Who can refashion a foundation to stop the sifting?  Who can pour in the new sand?  Who will shake the ground to make it fill in all the pockets and tamp it down?  Who will test the new ground with their foot?

Not In Our Town Rally Performance: Refugee

I was given the chance to sing for a Not In Our Town rally on February 1, just after the chaotic weekend where 45’s executive order came down leveling the travel ban.  The rally was inspiring as 1100 people showed up with just a couple days warning to speak out against the prejudice and discrimination of the current administration.  Speakers from all faiths led us in prayer and reflection.  Community leaders spoke proudly of the traditions of inclusivity and compassion which we honor now and refuse to part with in the future.  I was proud to be included as an artist and be able to use my voice in the cause of  justice.

My friend John Parrott recorded the song and edited it, with content added from another recording by Kelly McNamara (k3llymcnamara@gmail.com). Here it is: Refugee (video link):

I wrote this song this past summer when the news cycle was filled with images of both the refugees from Syria and victims of the flooding in Appalachia.  They were both in the midst of losing their homes and livelihoods. I was struck by the similarities in these images, the expressions of fear and uncertainty on their faces. In that expression, I sought to blend elements of both middle eastern and bluegrass music into my composition.

The melody for the haunting “ooh” part had already been in my head for months.  It was a little bit middle eastern, at least I thought so because of the vocal trill, and that’s what made me think of adding it to this song.  It’s played in C minor (though sometimes I drop it to Bm if I’m feeling throaty) with the first, fourth, and the fifth hovering behind the same melody line as a hook.

I composed the verses with simple wording and in a pattern that is reminiscent of some bluegrass folk songs where the first and last lines of a verse are the same.  There are three verses, broken up by the “ooh” part, and a chorus. When I perform this song, I don’t sing the chorus until after the second verse, which makes the first half rather sad– the song stays low emotionally–with no chorus to lift the senses.  The chorus is meant to part with the tradition in the rest of the song in that it doesn’t contain the root chord at all until the very last, perhaps that strikes some with the feeling of strength or defiance.  I think leaving out the root gives the illusion that I have transitioned to a major key, though I haven’t. The melody pattern shifts here too.  Instead of going up and down, like stair steps, the melody takes two steps up and holds, like a stance.  This to me feels right; as if the speaker is getting his feet under him and claiming his truth without either wallowing in despair or ignoring reality. Just stating what’s real.


I went down today
To leave my home
I went down today
Where orphans go
The door has been closed
The steps are no more
I went down today
To leave my home

The sun blinds my eyes
My shadow falls behind
The light fills the sky
The earth to dry
Too late for our land
Too late for our life
The sun blinds my eyes
My shadow falls behind

For my home, for my home
I am none but my own
For my home, for my home
And for all I have known

My life and my past
I can’t carry
The building of each day
A memory
I own what I am
I own what I make
My life and my past
I can’t carry

You can also read more of my Morning After thoughts on the things swirling in this world right now.

Morning After

Sunday morning Mark brought me coffee in bed.  Advantage of having a husband that wakes up early.  It was a nice way to wake up.  A nudge and a hot cup waiting on the nightstand.

He brought it in a cup of Mallory’s that I don’t usually pull out of the cabinet because it’s shaped funny at the top.  The rim sort of slants outward, and it spills easily.

I sat up in bed and proceeded to drink a little and spill a little down my pajamas and read the news feed on my phone.  Depressing, horrifying, embarrassing.   Headline after headline after headline.  A sour promise kept.  People frightened and confused, outraged by the sudden change in immigration policy.  Disillusioned families with their little lives in handled boxes.  Little kids in holding rooms in airports. Grandmas shuffling too long in line, afraid to question why.  Fathers with tears streaming down their brown, creased faces.  Helpless to help their own.

Weariness overcomes.  In the face of powerlessness, weariness overcomes. Whether the brother waiting to pick up his immigrating brother, or the woman a thousand miles away in her pajamas with her coffee.  Weariness overcomes those powerless to help.

And can a voice or a hand over distance and time find a sobbing soul and bring solace?  Can a heart that aches in one place shore up another in solidarity?

And good people.  Strangers and friends and lawyers with their signs up and their voices up and their calls for justice up on display.  Can their presence in the place of such injustice bandage up that hurtful rend?

I don’t know.

The aftermath of the vileness is played out in imaginary scenes of discourse.  It is unseemly now to speak of it.  Stop with the negativity.  Let’s bide our time and bind our tongues.  Let’s wait and see.  Let’s take care of our own.  We the blessed.  In these stories, that come too quickly one after another, do you know what saddened me the most?  More than the meanness and the rants and the name-calling and the justifications?  What wearied me the most?  The silence.  The silence of Christians.

So, I did not feel like going to church.  I did not feel like getting up at all.  Cody, my dog smiles, came by though and sighed at me.  And the cat jumped down off of my lap. So I got into the shower, taking my spilly cup with me.

I put the cup up on the ledge of the shower door where the soap wouldn’t splash in, climbed in and wet my hair.  I bet you think that the next thing that happened was that the cup fell and shattered and cut my bare foot and made me feel stupid but no. That’s not what happened.  Instead I looked up at the cup and read the side of it, that I had never noticed or read before, and it said “The strength you need comes from God.”

I went to church.  Make-up on and boots and coat and breakfast in the car.  I sang and smiled and hugged the little ones that were happy to see me.  And we all together operated like it was a normal morning though it wasn’t.  I sang like if I was loud enough it could do something good.  I sang like if it was pretty enough it could make something better.

And the prayer in the middle of the song came and out loud the words were spoken that we know about the suffering of those many in airports, and we hurt for it too.  That we abhor the hate which brought it about and the silence that conditions its survival.  That we take on the burden of their justice ourselves and will break the wrong law for the right. That we ache for the fear of the refugee longing, and we will take what we have to make for them a new home. Amen.

Lifted, I felt. Up three gusts from the hours before.

And like a feather just tossed I settled slowly back down to hear the next words that were said by a good man in a good place.  Doing Good. That was the title.  And the resource, our founder, John Wesley:

By being in every kind merciful after their power; as they have opportunity, doing good of every possible sort, and, as far as possible, to all men…

By running with patience the race which is set before them, denying themselves, and taking up their cross daily; submitting to bear the reproach of Christ, to be as the filth and offscouring of the world; and looking that men should say all manner of evil of them falsely, for the Lord’s sake.

I feel the echo of the impact of these words again in repeating them to you.  They caused me to flush in remembrance of my faith.  To be again renewed in the knowledge that the faith which I have claimed boards no unkindness or suspicion of the stranger, allows no exemption for feigned caution, or distaste for his dress or smell or gait or prayer.

That, in fact, the confirmation of our right choices in word and deed, of his deserving of life and love and welcome, may be found in the very hatred of the world.  The offscouring of the world.  That scorch which the world scrapes off and wrinkles its nose at.  That which was too long simmering at the bottom of lunch.  That which would purpose others to scrub and toil to be rid of.

Maybe it’s weird that this would make me feel better.  But it did.  And it does.

I think this stranger today feels like the offscouring of the world.  With no good place to dispose of his life.  I think she feels like the filth with its demonization and its dark avoidance.  I think they must feel this alienation starkly, for God’s sake.

I feel it for them.  And on my best days, I am scoured with them.

Right at Dusk

Right at dusk the house starts to match how I feel.  The light reflected and glowing out the east windows still leaks into the rooms, but covered with the blue lamp shade of sky, it doesn’t glare or point out what’s not done.  This is the time for stopping or starting.

In the living room, the lamp in the west window echoes the glow gathering for sunset. And it throws just a little gold over the little chairs there; out of style, tufted chairs I bought down the street at a garage sale.  A friend burst into my bathroom one morning while I was putting on make up.  “You have to come get these chairs; they’re perfect.”  They are ugly in just the best way.  Our tall piano lives near them too, prettiest with my long-haired daughter curved over the keys.  Her curls in the way of her profile.

Cluttered always about are the remnants of some acoustic endeavor.  Sheets of music, guitar picks and cases, albums, books, pens, and speakers and so many guitars. Blankets abound, as do cats, in chairs.  A sleeping dog, pillows, and the wake of our comings and goings lay strewn about on the floor.

And most days amid all this are the sounds of a house alive, dog sighs, washing machine turning, music, porch swing squeaking, and doors opening and closing.  Always our blinds are up to let in the light and in warmer weather our windows and doors are always open with little, happy neighborhood sounds trickling in.

I am nearby in the picture as the coffee table has become my office.  Though the glare from the windows can be annoying on the computer screen, the couch is a comfortable place to sit and write and work.  And I like to spread out my things beside me and on the table.  Tea, books, iPad, pen, paper, phone, lamp light, socks, pillows, and a guitar.

If I have done my writing well, then you are hovering here now and the house has come alive for you in color.  There are happy people and animals living here.  So, I am going to tell you about them and me from time to time and you will come to love us, I hope, and laugh at us, I bet.  I invite you in; it is a privilege and a trust.  It is a happy home and comfortable and messy;  feel free to make a drink or get something from the refrigerator. Extra stuff in the garage frig FYI.  Bathroom is around the corner through the laundry room.  I hope you like music.







The woven glass obstructs the view
Of clumsy might and shattered hue.
Away we’ll walk, unrolled parade,
Rose-tossed, tempest-cost, bridal train.
Onward and toward domain of man.
No foot encumbered, no more in hand.

Sweet shards aground which we collect,
Which mar our hands and seal our fasts,
We’ll place into a crown of grace.
A thing of beauty above our face.
A mother’s touch has welded our selves.
Clever redemption of words to tell.

But droplets adhere where friction creates,
And hazy words too subtle overtake.
Where we should go friendless,
Where we should sigh righteous,
Apart from the throng our tendons forget
Left stumbling about toward the bend of the tent.

In shadowy praise we soon again go
And grip made anew pull tight with the soul.

Even Woke Boys Need Some Shaking Now and Then

Mark (that’s my husband) wakes up happily at like 5:30 ON PURPOSE.  He is up being responsible and annoyingly healthy every day on the dot.  My son, however, left to his own devices will sleep until 11:00 every day and consider it morning whenever/if ever he wakes up.  He’s annoyed that like 20 things have happened that he didn’t know anything about. I wake up like a NORMAL person.  I set my alarm for a reasonable 7:30 and drink coffee and get on with it like a NORMAL human.

I don’t like to wake Evan up.  It goes against a mother’s instinct to wake up a creature that will proceed to need you once it’s awake.  But sometimes you have to.  Sometimes you can’t just leave them to be blissfully and wantonly unaware of this world, no matter how much you want to or they want you to.

I grew up with Captain Kangaroo.  With Sesame Street and The Electric Company.  I had saddle shoes and polyester dresses and a wore yarn in my pig tails for my school picture.  I sometimes didn’t wear a seat belt and sat in the middle of the back seat, leaning up to talk to my mom while she drove her baby blue Camaro. Mr. Green Jeans and my first grade teacher Mrs. Montgomery and my mom all told me I could “be anything I wanted to be.”  It was the beginning of that idea.  That girls really could grow up to be anything.  And I believed it.

Mostly, it’s true.  Mostly, you CAN be anything you want.  You deal with a lot.  But you slog through and get somewhere close to fair, stronger and smarter and harder than the boys who didn’t have to slog (lots of boys have to slog more than girls of course and for harsher reasons).  There are still the monsters among men who demean women for pleasure and are not ostracized sufficiently.  There are still the leaders among men who delight in elevating women WITHIN traditional roles to the point that we are flattered and patronized into submissive ignorance.  But for the purpose of this entry, let’s not think about them today.  Let’s focus on the woke boys.

Woke boys can wear pink t-shirts and hold up signs and recognize injustice and identify as feminists and STILL carry your boxes to the car.  And STILL reach the pasta press that’s on the highest shelf in the highest cabinet that you use once a year.  And STILL take out the recycling and put the leaf in the table.  Woke boys can let their little cousin paint their nails and not care when it’s still on, red and peeling, 3 weeks later.  Woke boys are awesome.

But even woke boys need some shaking every now and then.

When I was 6 and leaning up in the backseat with my elbows on the black vinyl console, and we were singing Sara Smile and my mom asked me, “What are you going to be when you grow up?”  I imagine she thought my answer would be…..a teacher, a mom, a writer, a singer.  Maybe she knew…maybe she hoped, that I would grow up to be ALL those things.

I AM all those things and a few more.  And, important point here,  I happen to love doing all the things that I do.  Somehow I lucked out and have found several jobs which can coincide and coexist and bring me joy.  I TOTALLY lucked out because somehow I found occupations which allow me to (mostly) set my own schedule, be creative, work with people, earn a little money, and still homeschool my kids. (I could never have done this when they were little.  I have gradually accumulated these jobs as the kids have gotten older.)  So, my schedule is random and full and sometimes unmanageable.  And it always seems like there’s more to do than I can do.  And it always seems like I’m not doing anything quite the way I would like to.  And it always seems like I’m letting someone down.

That last one is what brings me back around.  This year has been a growing one for my career in music, lots of changes and big steps forward.  Lots of focus outward to the world and what I will do next. And the two woke boys in my life, the one that is awake at 5:30 and the one that’s snoozing, both have had a really hard time accepting that.

Why is it okay for me to spend 17 hours on the laptop prepping for teaching grammar and writing, but I’m in debt if I spend those hours in the studio?  Why is it okay for dad to be gone every day, all day but not for me to be gone some days?  Why is okay if I didn’t get something done because I had to help Mallory study for a test, but not okay if I didn’t get something done because I was rehearsing for a gig?

I don’t want you to think the worst.  There is no out loud complaining or disrespect going on, because I told you, these are woke boys.  They want to want me to succeed.  They want to want to support me.  They just also want me home.

So what to do now but to shake them.  And it hurts when I shake them because they are so good and so loving.  Because they get it right so often and always forgive me when I get it wrong and so it’s brutal to point out when they are wrong. And it’s hard to shake them because they feel sharply how very low even that faint echo of sexism points.  And it’s hard to shake them because many of my own choices have led us to this impasse.

But shake them I will when their expectations are unfair.  When their comments conjure guilt.  When their teasing is meant to alter my choices in their favor.  When their support is withheld in the hopes that it will slow me.  When their greeting is different at the guitar than at the sink.

Even woke boys need some shaking now and then.

P.S.  Funny little aside:  While typing this blog I texted my mom about the Camaro.



Amber, fruit sexter, friend and now commander in chief of my career, has suggested that I talk about this.  THIS being the subject that is on my mind maybe 70% of the time. And when it’s not I am writing, dancing, watching Netflix or sleeping and dreaming of polar bears jumping through windows.  No joke.  It was enormous.

THIS is that…. I am afraid to tell you…I am supposed to be ALL THAT and I am fearing that you don’t know that I may not be ALL THAT.

ALL THAT: confident, talented, energetic, organized, prepared, creative, funny, cool, sophisticated, sparkling, attentive, thoughtful, unique, youthful, hip, smart, kind, accepting.  Can kick ass in the microphone and even follow an amazing talent on stage without freaking out.  Can ask people to buy her stuff and not demure.  Can accept disinterest or condescension, take a deep breath, and try again. 

If you don’t know me in real life, then you don’t know that I am perhaps the most open person ever to exist on the planet.  I can’t prove this; you’ll have to trust me.  I can make friends with a doorknob.  After about 10 seconds of talking to me that doorknob will be telling me all his doorknob stories, and I will forever carry that doorknob’s stories around with me in my heart.  And I will be confiding in that doorknob like he has opened the little door of my heart.

So, that paragraph was to say that, the reason for my hesitancy in broaching this topic is not that I am private about it, but more that I don’t want to force you to dwell on me when I haven’t even asked you how you are or what you dreamed about last night.  It seems rather self-centered.

Self-centered is something I REALLY do not want to be.  I am often in the spotlight, so to speak, and I don’t want to BECOME self-centered either.  Okay, okay, okay, enough with the disclaimer.  On with the blog.


Choosing to write music, climb up on a stage to perform it, put my mouth up to a microphone and tell the world that the something I have to say is the something that they should hear is simultaneously the most wonderful and most soul-crushing thing I have ever done.  When I get an idea in my head for a song, and I construct it, and see it sitting there on the paper, it feels AMAZING.  Something exists that didn’t exist before, and could not have possibly existed without me.  And in those moments, truly I believe it.  Somehow I have achieved the ALL THAT.  I write MUSIC and it’s good enough to be considered MUSIC by people who love MUSIC.  In that moment someone could ask me if I would write a speech for Obama or lead a flash mob on live TV or sing at the Grand Old Opry, a list of things the other me would be terrified to do, and some part of me would be completely confident in answering that I could do anything.

And there are those rare moments, when I’m singing and somehow, someway, the sound that is escaping my mouth matches the sound in my brain.  And the muscles in my throat don’t let me down.  And the risks I take with the melody–pay off–my ear brings me joy because what it heard was true and right.  Full of wonder and I’m  ALL THAT.

But the soul-crushing is coming.  It’s coming because I can do ALL THAT and reveal to the world the way my brain works and all the thoughts I have and ask it to listen to me and it might shrug its shoulders.  It might look the other way.  It might say “She’s okay.”  The world is not responsible for keeping my self-esteem in working order.  Those mistakes I made suddenly come into hyper focus and maybe my lyrics aren’t as intelligent as I thought.  Maybe my melodies cannot compensate for my lack of great guitar skill.  Maybe I was wrong when I was soaring.  Maybe those nice comments were people just being nice because they are MY MOM.

That’s real.  And there’s no way to make light of it with some cute quip.  It hurts.  Not because I’m a wimp, but because I care deeply about what I’m doing and what I’m doing is essentially for other people.  And if they don’t care to take it in, then I have no success to dwell on.  I have spent all day making a meal and no one is there to eat it.

So, I worry about this a lot.  I tend to go in phases where I’m holding myself together pretty well and can keep those doubts at arm’s length; I’m writing all the time, and having fun and connecting with people and what I do seems to do some good.  Then, for no apparent reason,  I start to think it’s over and was all just a silly idea.

I’m in the middle of the beginning  of “real” now.  A record label, unbelievable musicians playing on my album, a gifted producer who believes in me, my artist brother working on the album art and getting me gigs, Amber making me to do lists of things I didn’t even know I was supposed to be doing, my family believing in me despite the ridiculousness of this whole crazy thing. I’m just going with it.  Pretending I’m ALL THAT.  Trying to be ALL THAT.