It's fortuitous that my recent resolution to let go of the past has coincided with our move back to the Pacific Northwest from Illinois where my husband and I lived for the last three and a half years. That means that I am now back in close proximity to all my junk, boxes upon boxes of it. I'm a saver.
I am determined to sift through it all now and throw out what is useless, keep only what is meaningful, and scrapbook everything I ever claimed I'd scrapbook. (For the record, I think I'm about 10 scrapbooks behind right now.) It's a slow process, partially because I just had a baby and sorting through boxes isn't my top priority during the day, but mostly because I scrutinize every single scrap of paper. Sometimes it takes me a few passes to determine if something needs to be kept or not. Did I mention I'm a saver?
Well, today I stumbled upon all of my old guitar music. And with this new aim to "let go" in mind, I have ruthlessly dumped the lot.
When I was in high school I decided that I would play the guitar. This was my motivation: I was attracted to guys who played the guitar. Incidentally, this is the same motivation that inspired me to try to learn how to skateboard when I was 22 - bad idea. Somehow I thought that if I was to play the guitar then those guitar-playing males would eventually think I was cool and would ask me out, or at least I'd be a rockstar and have the envy of my peers. I'm glad I never used this logic in my attraction to men's facial hair.
So I learned a lot of chords. I printed dozens of chord sheets and tablature charts off of the internet for songs such as Better Man (Pearl Jam), Crazy on You (Heart), Are You Lonesome Tonight? (Elvis Presley), Waltz #2 (Elliott Smith), Linger (The Cranberries), Spending My Time (Roxette), and What's the Frequency, Kenneth? (REM). I had very eclectic tastes. For most of my college years, I worked steadily at this goal by playing in my free time and entertaining my roommates with folksy sing-alongs. I never had any formal training. It showed.
After college, I met my husband. He wasn't my husband when I first met him; that came later. He played/plays the guitar...a lot better than I do. I haven't even bothered pretending I'm a guitar player since I met him - over six years ago now - which is why I know that I don't need to hold onto these silly little chord progressions sketched out on pink lined stationery with the accompanying lyrics to Morning Has Broken (Cat Stevens) and If I Had a Million Dollars (Barenaked Ladies) and The Great Adventure (Steven Curtis Chapman). Besides, I reached my goal: I married a guitarist. And I'm fairly certain it wasn't my self-taught campfire style that clinched it either.
Still, it was a difficult decision to some degree. There was a voice in my head saying, "What if you want to play songs for Beatrix someday? You'll probably at least need the '90s praise choruses...and the Christmas music...and the Simon & Garfunkel too. You might need the lyrics for Man on the Moon (REM) for a Trivial Pursuit question." But no! I'm not listening to that voice. If I do, at some point later in my life, decide to take up guitar again or play for my kids, I can very well find all the same chords on the internet then. And if I do forget that I ever knew Leaving on a Jet Plane (Peter, Paul & Mary) forward and backward, what's the harm? So, goodbye, guitar-playing dreams of old...you have been released.
In the same box I found a few of my own songs that I had written. I have not yet been able to throw them away. I'll leave those for another day, another post.