Fun story - Last month, one of my friends who runs a coffee shop called Jitters in the Market on Main collective space in Ottumwa told me about an open mic they were starting up there. I had been waffling on whether to go up and get my nails done before a friend’s wedding or save the cash and do it myself. But with two reasons to make the trip, I hopped in the car. Everything went swimmingly! I got a chair right away at the salon even though I was a walk in. I made it to the Market in plenty of time for the open mic.
I got a little bit worried when I saw that the only amplification was a mic attached to a podium. That set up is great for poetry & short stories, not so much for guitar and voice. Knowing I was going to have to be completely off mic, I worried that I wouldn’t carry in the big room. But oh, when I got up there, the acoustics were FUN! Guitar and voice seemed to balance really well, at least from my side, and left to myself, I probably could have sang in there for hours!
Anyhow, I did three songs, and after I got off stage, some folks asked where they could get my CD. I always carry a few in my purse and my Square card reader just in case, and in this case, I sold 3. Which paid for my manicure! I got to feel polished and put together, sing songs and share music and creative efforts with new people (I heard some great other performers!) and not feel pinched about money! Hooray!! So good!
Tomorrow (Sat, July 12th) I’m going back to the Market to play for their outdoor Farmer’s Market from 9 to 11am. If you’re in the area, come on by, there are so many cool booths indoors all week long, so there’s plenty to shop for and eat!
Check out the website for more info: http://www.marketonmainottumwa.com/
Even if you can’t make it while I’m there, definitely stop by sometime, it’s an inspiring space!
Oh hello there! While it was a pretty long and quiet winter for me, when spring finally exploded this year, so did the shows all around town! In May I played at Earth & Water Tea during the Fairfield First Friday’s Art Walk, as the featured performer at the Red Rock Tavern Open Mic one late Wednesday night, at the Fairfield Farmer’s Market on a sunny Saturday morning, and as part of the line-up for a benefit concert for a friend.
Playing at Earth & Water Tea Shop for the May Art Walk. Can you spy the anchors? :-)
Plus I got to soak in a heaping helping of great music (along with a bunch of water, it was so rainy!) at the historic Kerrville Folk Festival over Memorial Day weekend. It was my first time back to Texas since 2012, and I love that Kerrville was the last thing I did back then, and the first thing I did going back. I hope it won’t be two years between visits next time!
Just after crossing the Texas state line, in my drive-all-day clothes!
I’m looking forward to the summer. Already on the books is an in-the-round show I just did yesterday, (June 5th), a web concert scheduled for June 19th with Concert Window (that means ALL of you could tune in online from wherever you are! Buy a ticket now for just $1!), my yearly pilgrimage to the Rocky Mountain Song School & Folks Fest in Colorado in August, and a show at Cedar Valley Winery at the start of September. Plus plenty of time to add more shows to the calendar!
What about you? Any fun plans for music making or listening this summer? Anything else new or exciting going on in your world? And is there anything I can do for you? Play a house show, make you a personalized vision board work of art, write you a custom song? So many things are possible, write me back to chat if you want to hear more about any of those offerings, or have any ideas!
P.S. Don’t forget, no matter where you live, if you have the internet (how could you be reading this without the internet?!) you can tune in to my web concert on Thursday, June 19th at 9pm CDT! Buy your ticket now, it’s only $1!
How’d I get so lucky to have two gigs in one week?! I’ll be playing at the outdoor Fairfield Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning. You can shop AND listen local at the same time, how cool is that? :D
Whoohoo! I’m gonna be the featured artist at the Red Rock Tavern Open Mic tomorrow night! Come on out for some good times & good music! Come a little early & sign up if you want to play too! Music starts at 10pm, I’ll go on at 11.
Or is it down? Earth & Water Tea often advertises their specials in chalk on the sidewalk outside the front door. When I arrived to set up for my set during the Art Walk, I was tickled pink to see my name, not quite in lights, but in pink chalk!
I had to go back the next day & capture it when the sun was out, so it’s a little faded, but still exciting! :)
Also, my poster on the door!
It was a sweet show. Since it was Art Walk, (which implies that people are going to be walking around, right there in the name!) I wasn’t really expecting folks to stick around too long, but there were always people listening, and sometimes for a good amount of time as well.
Since it was a small space, I didn’t figure I needed a whole PA system, but I improvised with plugging my mic right into a big speaker to help boost my vocals over the guitar. Especially since I was going to be signing for about two hours, I didn’t want to get tired out. I think it went ok, but the whole experience really strengthened my motivation and desire to get my own little PA system for shows like this. I don’t need to be loud, but just helps the sound balance out, and I’ve noticed I’m often received better when I’m plugged in. :) Soon, soon, I’ll figure out this PA thing!
So excited to play at Earth & Water Tea for the Art Walk! Come have some extraordinary tea & listen to some tunes while you sip. 7-9:30pm Friday, May 2. No cover!
So this is day 15 of the #30daysofwriting challenge. I haven’t missed a day yet, though by no means have I been writing for an hour or three daily. Some journaling, some draft blogs that I haven’t published and may or may not in the end. One day I only had 10 minutes available before going to work, but I still did it.
I’ve been remembering a lot more of my dreams and writing those down. Compared to remembering a dream maybe once every six months, I’ve remembered three in the past week! I don’t know that they have really provided me with any insights other than we’ve been watching a lot of Psyche lately on Netflix, but it’s likely that remembering them at all has to do with the fact that A) I’m writing at least a little bit first thing in the morning daily and B) I’m not diving into social media the second I turn off my alarm, which is on my phone.
It hasn’t been quite as hard as I expected to not check all my emails and updates first thing, but it IS kind of funny to me that I’m a lot more excited to get out of bed and write on days that I have somewhere to go in the morning, whether that’s work or yoga. On my days where I have the option of sleeping in, which also means I really do have the option to write for longer, I would really love to stay in bed and scroll though my phone all morning. When the resistance gets too big there, I’ve ended up bringing my writing to bed and making sure I get through a few pages before moving on to the internet.
If there is one thing I learned by doing all my open mics in Austin, and re-enforced with these little Instagram monthly challenges, it’s that I do well with little challenges. Something that is enough to push me into forward motion, but not too terrifying that I freeze up, or too apparently hard that it becomes less than fun. “Get up super early and write for an hour for the rest of your life” sounds really painful for me. “Get up and write a few pages before Facebook for a month” sounds like something I can totally win. So that’s what I’ve been doing! And it’s been really great. Maybe after 30 days I’ll modify the routine. Maybe I WILL give myself my sleep-in days. Or maybe I’ll remember how great it feels to have done writing and yoga all by 9am and have a blank, guilt-free slate for my day off. Maybe I’ll even move into writing songs?!?!
Since the beginning of February, I’ve been involved in another challenge. (no, not surviving the weather, that is a circumstantial challenge, I mean one I chose for fun.) It’s an Instagram closet/wardrobe challenge called Style Me February, (you can follow the hashtag #StyleMeFeb) hosted by Hilary Rushford of Dean Street Society.
Hilary is a Broadway performer turned personal stylist and entrepreneur in New York who is classy, practical, sweet, creative and has mega hustle to make things happen. Or, to pretty much sum it up in two words, she embodies her sign off from all her blog posts and emails - Grace & Gumption.
I was introduced to Hilary a few months ago through working with Sarah Jenks, and the more I learned about Hilary, the more impressed I was at how she did things. I admit at first I was a little skeptical. At very first glance, I presumed she was only about “Fashion”, a concept that in my head in the past has seemed like maybe a nice idea but some sort of combination of unreachable, unpractical and kinda fake, as well as being some big corporate scheme to make me feel bad about myself for not being able to fit into, afford and/or keep up with the latest styles.
Quickly I realized that Hilary is all about fashion in the sense of wearing what makes you look and feel good, that you can afford. She’s about investing in your self worth and not forgetting to have a sense of play and adventure when it comes to getting dressed. When you look good and put together, you feel that way. It’s fashion for empowerment as opposed to trying to fit in.
Plus Hilary is super smart & brave in business, and generous with creating community and sharing what she has learned. And sometimes she even dances! :)
So every month she hosts a Style Me challenge on Instagram, with little prompts for each day and the idea not to go out and buy things to meet the challenge (unless the daily theme points out a hole in your wardrobe you’d really like to fill), but really to use what you have and see if maybe you can remix your closet, or if you don’t have something that fits the prompt, to even choose perhaps to do the opposite for that day, or just skip it.
I’d seen a few of my Instagram friends doing the Style Me challenge in previous months, and yet still kind of thought it wasn’t quite my thing. I did a Gratitude challenge on Instagram during the month of November that I absolutely loved, and a little bit of a winter self-care style one in December that kind of fizzled out for me with holiday stuff but I still enjoyed the days I did. Somehow by the time February rolled around it seemed like maybe, what the heck, I’ll give this Style Me thing a try. While February has the least number of days, it feels like running a marathon to get through the worst part of winter, so having something fun and different to do seemed like a good idea.
I didn’t do every day of the challenge, but I did a lot of them! And a funny thing happened that I didn’t at all expect. At first I was feeling a little awkward about posting photos of myself, afraid that maybe it was too vain. But somehow between the encouraging compliments I got, both online and from people out and about who didn’t even know I was doing the challenge and also just actually seeing myself on a daily basis, something shifted in my mind. To more of a “Oh hey, maybe I am kinda put together and pretty. Even on the days I’m just wearing my Target t-shirts and Wal-Mart work pants. I still choose them and my accessories with awareness.” On the day I wore red lipstick to work with a really old t-shirt and head scarf I’ve worn a million times, I got SO many compliments about how I looked radiant, pretty, glowing, etc. And I swear, the only thing different about that outfit was the lipstick!!
So I went in thinking it was going to be a fun distraction for the month, and I came out with a major boost of self confidence! I call that powerful stuff! Style Me March starts today, and I’m thinking that I will definitely be participating again, if not every day, at least on the days that I need a little extra boost! Thanks Hilary!
Yesterday one of my Rocky Mountain Song School friends (Cat Terrones, check out her music here) shared this great post from one of her favorite blogs: http://www.fluentself.com/blog/stuff/lets-end-this-story-about-who-is-a-writer/
I’ll let you read it, but the essence I got from it was validation that a person could be a writer even if they aren’t writing. That thinking about being a writer (in a serious way, frequently, as opposed to it just fluttering through your mind once), being conflicted about being a writer, going through a dry patch, etc, all of that counts as being a writer. It was in contrast to the popular idea that you are a writer if you sit in the chair and write. Which even that concept was one that gave a lot of people hope. “If I’m writing, I’m a writer.” Maybe not good one, or a published one, or a read one, but if I’m writing, I’m a writer. But this idea that even just if writing MATTERS to you a whole lot, you are a writer, that is a whole new mind-blowing level of permission and kindness to yourself.
And I realize that this concept may seem to be a little bit in conflict with the whole #30daysofwriting concept, which falls more along the lines of “sit in the chair and write”, but I don’t really think so. Because it’s not saying not to create a disciplined writing practice. It’s just saying not to beat yourself up for wherever you happen to be in your relationship with your writing.
It’s a big thing, self confidence and being OK with who you are right now. For a long time I was squeamish to say I was a musician, both to myself, let alone to other people, because I was somehow afraid that I would suddenly be asked to play a concerto on the spot. But then I started realizing that it was OK to start off with just saying I was a musician and then I could qualify it later as needed. Because when someone asks you what you do, they are not asking if you are any good at it, at least not in casual “I just met you on the train” conversation. Moving up into job interview level, or finding a gig, getting published, then sure, you need to prove your credentials or at least your chops. But to just get started in your day-to-day life of being who you want to be? Declare that stuff Baby!! Give yourself the permission slip!