Sunday, November 11, 2012


"If you observe a really happy man, you will find him building a boat, writing a symphony, educating his child, growing double dahlias or looking for dinosaur eggs in the Gobi Desert. He will not be searching for happiness as if it were a collar button that had rolled under the radiator, striving for it as a goal in itself. He will have become aware that he is happy in the course of living life twenty-four crowded hours of each day." 
-W. Beran Wolfe, 1900-1935, Author and Psychiatrist

When I was in middle school, I decided to learn the guitar. I think I'd envisioned being cool. Instead, my mom signed me up for classical guitar lessons. Not cool. (Until later in life when you realize there aren't many things hotter than flamenco. Alas.)

Classical lessons lasted a year. Sixth grade. I'd walk over to my teacher's house every Tuesday with my guitar and have a lesson for an hour or so. She was a good good teacher.

Then I quit and didn't pick up the thing until ninth grade, when I learned about these things called "tabs." I taught myself. First it was "More Than Words." Then Third Eye Blind--"Motorcycle Driveby"--and Eric Clapton's "Tears in Heaven."

In high school, I would spend hours sitting on my bedroom floor figuring out songs. Tabs were my greatest friend. My Ben Harper phase was simultaneous to my Jack Johnson phase (thanks to a particularly inspiring youth counselor I had one summer). I knew a little Weezer, a little Ataris, a little Cyndi Lauper. I could lose myself in those songs. And slowly the fingertips on my left had grew thick and padded and I actually could play for hours without having to take fingertips-on-fire breaks.

Now looking back, it seems some of my happiest phases in life were ones I spent with the guitar. I'm not sure if this is because when I'm happy, I play, or if because playing makes me happy. Either way: the symbiosis is lovely.

I haven't played my guitar for something like 3 years. I mean really played. The kind where you're alone and you lose track of time and you come out a changed person. The guitar has kind of been phased out with things like photography and writing and reading and the general busyness of life in this here century. And I've decided that's okay--you grow out of things, your hobbies change, the things you lose yourself in change.

And so I don't play anymore.

Until last night with Glen Hansard and Damien Rice and Bon Iver and Iron & Wine and I remembered how supposed-to I feel when I'm holding a guitar.

Welcome to my Sunday night. Couldn't be happier.

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