Bit by a Musical “Bug”

I nearly got rid of this musical companion in 2011. Pictured here in a photo shoot for its Craigslist ad.

Where were you on October 6, 2018, as Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court by the Senate?

I was at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, singing along with Ani Difranco‘s timely punch back toward our patriarchal system. I was also sitting in a bushy area that would give me a tick bite to plague my next six months. I was also experiencing the beginning of a bad concussion (from hitting my head on my apartment ceiling twice hard) and thoroughly questioning my life.

Human services had been the focus of my career for about a decade. I’d secured a Master of Social Work degree the year before, focused on community systems. I’d next moved to Northern California and was working on a peace-related community organization project. I care about peace very much, but I felt like I was fighting against the grain. I’d always loved creating music, but I had long been holding it to the side of my life.

Following that fall day at Hardly Strictly, months of a concussion and infected tick bite symptoms transpired. With this sickness, it was hard to focus on computer work, logistics, and driving in the peace organizing work I’d been doing. I got headaches easily; simple things made symptoms worse.

However, I wrote songs at a fast pace. I meditated to make sense of this time. I aborted my focus on my human services profession and began a dive into sharing music as a way of interacting with life. I focused energy on this desire I had set to the side for years.

Significant support from people dear to me made my transition easier. The past year, I have picked up the pace on musical writing, practicing, performing, identifying my musical goals, and finding my way in music business. I have experienced internal wind in my sails. I look forward to embarking on a tour late this fall.

I’m encouraged remembering other musicians – I’m thinking of Kate Rhudy, Lucy Wainwright Roche, and Joe Pug – who at some point chose to set another goal to the side: creating music is now the direction for each of them. I share my own story in case it has any wisdom in it for you . . . in case you some time feel called to change directions, and turn so you can feel the wind in your sails.

C

Published by clairebatesmusic

Conscious analysis and loving transparency illuminate tender, gutsy, bluesy folk when Claire plays and sings. Claire Bates gives from her heart songs for hard times.

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