As a solo artist, getting to and from the gigs, especially when they are in vastly different parts of this big country of ours, can be an invigorating (or frustrating) puzzle.
The variables for how one experiences these shifts and turns include (but are not limited to):
•the amount of sleep one has had the night before...
•how close in time one is to the change in plans...
•the number of unexpected changes that have happened recently (you know, things fall apart in threes, or something like that)...
•how expensive the change will be...
•how many options one can imagine...
Always lurking somewhere in the shadows are the questions:
"Should I really be doing this?"
"Who do I think I am to be traveling this way?"
"Is this trip/gig worth it?"
"When do I decide to bag it?"
Long after I did so poorly in my Algebra classes in 8th Grade, Mrs. Kuhlman told me I should have looked at the "problems" as puzzles. This perspective actually might have helped me because I do like to solve puzzles.
At the time, however, I just thought that the urban-based questions were ridiculous and far outside my small-town experience of life.
(For example: "You have a ticket for the train that will come in 3 hours. How far can you go on the bus while you wait for the train?" My answer: Didn't your mama teach you anything? You DON'T take a bus trip while waiting for the train! Just sit still and read a book!)
The problem with puzzles, as a metaphor, is that they are a bit static for situations like these. Card games, where everything shifts from hand to hand, requiring adaptability, imagination, adventure (and a sense of humor!) actually describe my current challenge more accurately.
The other day I was talking to some young friends of mine (a duo) who are embarking on this traveling musician path for their career and I asked, "do you like to do puzzles?"
One immediately answered: "Yes! I love to do puzzles!"
The other replied, just as quickly: "No! I love contests!"
It is clear which one will have a better time with negotiating all the details and fitting the puzzle pieces together.
But the challenge of winning the hand or the game will also require the skills of the other one. Because sooner or later the puzzle will come apart, or the pieces will no longer fit or will go missing.
As a child I recall the fun we had sometimes as a family, sitting around a card table on the cold dark nights of winter break, fitting puzzle pieces together to reveal large intricate scenes.
But I also recall the joy and laughter of the card games that we love to have with our children and friends when we gather these days.
So, I think that today (having had good sleep, and there is still some time until the event), I'll lean toward the card game analogy and focus on the fun...while still doing the methodical turning over of every puzzle piece to re-weave my transportation web.
Hey there: Anybody going from Atlanta to Cullowhee, North Carolina July 18th and then back again on the 24th? I can use a ride.
[And if you want to hear and support some fun acoustic music visit Erin and Amber Rogers' Scenic Roots website.]