Amy Mantis


When I Don't Play Guitar

January 13, 2013

I didn’t play guitar at all today.  I was staying with some friends and while I did have my guitar with me, I didn’t play it today.

Sometimes I feel fine when I don’t play.  Today is not one of those days.

I often feel like playing guitar is so much of my identity that when I don’t play, I’m further away from the core of myself than I like.  Does that make sense?  I’m grounded when I play because I know where I stand.  I can fly, paradoxically.

I know I extend beyond the fact that I play guitar, that my guitar playing is an extension of who I am rather than the other way around.

I definitely wouldn’t be the same person though if I hadn’t started playing guitar all those (nine) years ago.  Imagining who I’d have been is not something I want to do nor do I feel is it worth doing.  This is who I am, and I’m going to change along the way (we all do, whether we care to admit it or accept it), but music, and playing guitar in particular, will be my constant.

My mentor walked away from his instrument of choice (the organ - Hammond B3 is still his weapon of choice) for six weeks once or twice.  I don’t know if I have it in me to do that.  He was also probably a bit older when he did it than I am now (I’m 22 for those who don’t know).  He’s also a lot smarter than I am.  So maybe he’s onto something.  I can picture this exchange happening somewhere down the line:

"Amy, you need to take a break.  Walk away from the guitar - just for a bit, just to see how it feels."
"But I can’t!  I don’t know how to stop."
"Yes, you do.  I wouldn’t tell you to do it if I knew you couldn’t."
"You really think I should?"
"Yes.  It will do you good"
"You’re sure?"
"Okay.  We’ll see."
"Amy…Just try it." 

It’s not that unlikely.  That’s not going to happen anytime in the near future - I’m talking years down the road.

However, in the meantime, I will continue playing guitar far more often than I don’t play guitar.