There’s no going back, there’s no return - there’s just my life.
- Me, as Snuffy Wilson
Choices. We make them every day. Some are more dramatic than others. Some are life changing. Some have repercussions that remain unknown to us.
Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, bass guitar was my main instrument. I also sang poorly, and wrote songs, generally on guitar. I was in a few bands whose genre ranged from blues and blues rock to progressive rock. None of them were successful on any level, and looking back, it’s not difficult to see why. We weren’t very good.
However, my experience within a band environment and dealing with musicians was bad enough that I have never again sought to be part of a band. Since that time, I have focused largely on being a solo acoustic artist. While I haven’t achieved what I wanted, I’d say I’ve gotten more satisfaction and success on my own, which is fine. Still, how would my life be different had I chosen to be in other bands, either solely as a bassist, or perhaps playing guitar and maybe singing? I have no way of knowing. I can say with a high degree of certainty my life to date has taught me that I just don’t get along well with most people, and particularly groups of just about any kind. Considering I was an only child who grew up as a minority in a small town, I suppose that’s not exactly surprising. There have been times when I actively sought friends and social bonds, but I’ve given up looking. If I happen to stumble across something, I’m grateful and I allow the relationship to take its course...but it’s rather telling that I’ve lived in WI since 2006 and anyone I’d consider a close friend (aside from my wife) lives in AZ, WA, or CA.
It’s that relocation in 2006 that led me to this blog entry. The short version is that life in the AZ desert didn’t suit my wife, and she wanted to go back to Madison, WI. There were only a couple of things that could have kept me in AZ. One was Jiyushinkai, and the other was the fact that my grandfather and mother lived a few hours away in CA. I’m not much of one to ponder “what if” scenarios, but every once in awhile, I wonder how my life would be different if we had stayed in AZ.
My first thought is usually that my wife would have been miserable. She has issues with migraine headaches, and the heat of AZ wasn’t exactly helpful. There were also relationships I had with a couple of professional musicians - whom I considered somewhat briefly to be friends - that I probably would not have had. But perhaps the biggest difference would be that I would probably still be actively involved and practicing with Jiyushinkai. I really miss those folks and that practice; sometimes it’s painful. Of course, it’s possible that I could have somehow screwed up that relationship. As it stands now, I’m welcome to visit and train as often as I like, which is something.
I often feel like my current course in life is equal to that of a blind man stumbling around in an unfamiliar environment. It’s not that I haven’t tried to implement plans or somehow better myself and/or my circumstances; I have. It’s not that I am not currently doing things that will hopefully effect my future in a positive manner; I am. But sometimes it seems that no matter what I do, I’m stuck between crappy jobs I dislike and making music largely for myself. It could be worse. I could be homeless and unable to make music at all. At least my choices haven’t led me to that path. Yet.
I need salvation, I need relief from what keeps bringing me down
Bring me some comfort, bring me some joy,
bring me my six feet of ground.
- Me, as Snuffy Wilson
Still, I called my latest collection of songs Hope for a reason.
I won't be broken
I won't back down
I won't give up
I will rise above
I may stumble every once in awhile
I may fall apart
I may break a few bones
I may have a few scars
but you, oh you,
you can't hold me down
cause I wear my pain like a badge
and I'm still around
I Will Rise Above
- Me, from I Will Rise Above