In The Mood Again

To be completely honest, I hadn’t played an instrument in front of people in just over 14 years.

It all started a couple of months ago, when the musical director at my church came to me one Sunday, her finger pointed straight out at me.

“You play saxophone, don’t you, Josh?”

I told her I had, but it had been some time since I had played the horn–in fact, I didn’t own one at all.  She  told me not to worry, she would get me a horn.

Soon, I had a baritone saxophone in my hands since early 2000.  I put the horn up to my lips and made a sound that resembled what a saxophone is supposed to sound like.  Somewhat, anyway.  Then, I started back practicing.

I was amazed how quickly it came back, how I could look at the page and recognize the notes again.  I practiced and practiced for the days leading up to the big performance, getting a bit more nervous each day.  I mean, there were going to be people out there in the audience, people who were known to me.  People ready to judge my and my performance.

The only thing that put me to ease was the fact we were playing Big Band/Swing music–I always felt more comfortable in Jazz Band than Symphonic.  But still–ACTUAL LIVE PEOPLE.

(This is where some of the other bloggers would put a gif of some celebrity jumping up and down whilst totally losing their sheet.  I don’t do that sort of thing, but if it makes you feel better, just picture the epic meltdown from “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” right here, ending with “Where’s the Tylenol?”)

So, what does this all have to do with writing?  Well, I’m glad you asked.  See, despite my horror and imagination running wild with thoughts of completely forgetting how to play once onstage, the concert went great.  Actually, it went fantastic.  I remembered why I loved playing so much–not for practicing, that part sucked, but for those small moments in which I played in front of people, for when I could see them swaying back and forth in their seats or head to a dance floor.  I loved interacting with people.  That’s the power of the audience.

In your writing, in your art, the biggest thing you can remember is that art isn’t art unless it’s shared.  A work that sits on your computer, in your mind, jotted down on a napkin or a journal–it’s begging to get out there.  It’s not as bad as you think, and it’s begging to be enjoyed by someone else.  Maybe a CP.  Maybe a friend.  Maybe someone you barely know.  But someone out there is asking for your work, someone is wanting to sway along with it and enjoy the heck out of it.

I was glad I got that opportunity this past Sunday.  I’m happy I get it again today.  Because that’s what makes it art.

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