Amy Mantis
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The Art of Doing

I was talking with a friend tonight.  She's one of the most talented writers I know.  Puts me to shame.  Except for on execution.  Although lately that's debatable.

I believe in inspiration and striking when the iron is hot.  But how does the iron get hot?  Waiting? No.  Not by waiting.  By doing.  I write every day.  I may not always write here, but I always start or edit a song and I keep a journal in which I rarely miss a day.  By no means am I a perfect writer, but I like to think that I increase my chances each time I put pen to paper.  Or fingers to a keyboard.

I'm an advocate of doing.  Always.  Like Seth Godin says, always be shipping.  These posts are me shipping.  Are they perfect?  No.  Are they done?  That's debatable too.  But they get shipped.  Same with songs.  I played a song that was less than three hours old a couple of weeks ago.  Risky?  You betcha.  Worth it?  Absolutely.

Embracing the Voice

I was tired, then I fell asleep for about 15 minutes at the end of SNL and now I'm not tired.  Oops.

One thing I've never been enthralled with in the solo acoustic world is how...not stripped down because I love that.  I don't like the inability to rock out - not that I can't rock out acoustically (believe me, i can), but it's different.  You get something with a band that you don't get by yourself, no matter who you are.

For a while I felt like my voice wasn't strong enough to carry a band.  It probably wasn't, but I also wasn't embracing my voice for what it was.  I'm starting to embrace my voice for what it is more and more.  And through embracing it, I've tapped into a new source of creative energy.  It's cool.  I still have a ways to go, but singing has definitely positively impacted my writing.

I think it was George Harrison or Tom Petty who once said that he thought he had to sound like Frank Sinatra.  Then he realized he didn't have to, and he never would, so he embraced his voice for what it is and moved on.  Either way, it worked out well for both of them.

A Rambled Way Of Saying Do Your Thing

Somehow it's past midnight.

I'm trying to find a Tom Petty song with the lyrics "Don't let 'em bring you down/Don't let 'em get to you" or something along those lines.  I know I could look it up, but that takes away the fun of it.  I thought they were in "Even The Losers," but if they are, I haven't gotten to them yet.

This is the first day I haven't played guitar in a long time.  I'm gonna play after this, but I didn't play on 11.12.13 (I just wanted to type that).

Definitely not in "Even The Losers."

There was a time when I felt like it was morally wrong for me to not play guitar every day.  That stretch was from June 2008 until probably December 2009.  I felt that way before then, but there were times when I couldn't take my guitar with me if my family was taking a trip or something.  The guitar stayed behind.

Then there was a time when I would go for days without playing guitar.  That didn't last long, and I didn't play because I was in a confused state.  That was only this past February and March, and maybe a little bit in May and June of 2012.

THE LYRICS ARE IN "THE WAITING."  Wow, I'm ashamed because my favorite Petty album is Hard Promises.  Wow, Amy, bad fan.  And the lyrics are "Don't let it kill you babe/Don't let it get to you."  Ugh, Tom.  Every song Tom Petty has ever written applies to my life in some capacity.

Anyway.

The times when I didn't play guitar religiously were when the band was without a singer.  Or, to put it less gently, when my singers quit, my world was turned upside down for a shortwhile.  I realized that playing guitar did more good than harm at some point.  Initially I was too..everything to be able to sit down with Big Red or another of my babies,  You should see the songs I write when someone quits.

I don't think not playing guitar really helped me though.  When my first singer quit, I was fortunate to have rehearsals for Berklee's Commencement Concert that last four to six hours every night for a week straight where I had to play guitar.  I had to practice, I had to rehearse, and I had to perform.  After that I took a break from playing.  Then when my second singer quit, I don't think I touched my guitars for over a week (which is a record, surprisingly).

At a certain point, not playing guitar becomes more of a chore than anything.  I'm a guitar player, I'm a musician.  It's what I do.  I identify myself with my guitars.  So to not play is, in some ways, to not play is to not be myself.  And to let anyone have that kind of power over me is not cool.

Whatever it is that you do that you love to do, if someone throws off your game, don't let her.  Whoever it is, do not give him that power.  Even if it's a struggle at first, do it.

(And this writing is why I'm going to bed.  Toby Zeigler would not approve of my borderline abuse of the English language.)