In this past week, I have stepped out of my comfy box of familiar territories in both music and health.
While on my little road trip, I received an email from a bass player in Cleveland. He expressed that he's collaborating with a drummer and they were interested in working with a singer-songwriter. Thanks to the wonderful ways of the internet, they came across me on YOUTUBE and myspace and were interested in collaborating with me on my music. This is the first time I have ever had musicians contact me. Usually it's the other way around--me reaching out, hoping someone will dig what I do and want to play with me. But this is a year of tables turning, and I welcomed the offer with open arms.
On Tuesday night I had my first rehearsal ever with a bass player and drummer. My, oh my, what a difference! Initially, it was not an easy difference to navigate. In many ways it reminds me of the early moments of a relationship when you are gently, politely figuring each other out. You have to carefully pay attention because this is when you realize whether the chemistry is right. Or not right. The bass player was definitely feeling it out, asking questions and figuring out subtle, supportive bass lines. The drummer, on the other hand, was going at it like we were in ACDC. I had to laugh at times because I didn't know what else to do. Did I mention that when he introduced me to his dog, his dog peed on my shoe? Yes. This was how it all night began. Welcome to rock & roll, Maura! I have concluded, from many observations, that drummers are a very different breed of people. I'm not sure if there's something a touch different in their DNA, but they go at life with a speed and intensity that not all musicians do. It's a foundation of energy for sure. Little me with my guitar and voice was like, "what the hell is going on?" But this was in the first hour. In the hour following the first, we started actually finding some chemistry. We started clicking. And if felt GOOD. I admit, it was still challenging for me because I'm not familiar with having to sing over a drum set. I found that my lyrical phrasing was being challenged by the tempo set by the drums. All these things are normal and communication is key in working through these challenges (just like in LOVE, baby). I think what got me most excited was playing the new songs I've written in the last few months. I admit, I feel a little more love and excitement for them because they are new and the feelings associated with them are at the tip of my emotional tongue & soul. But the reaction both the bassist and drummer had to my new songs made me even more pumped about them. I have a new song called "This Woman" and the drummer got it on the first time through. The bassist said to the drummer as I was setting it up, "think Johnny Cash, dude. " And my heart MELTED. We played it, over and over, until my fingers ached. I was amazed at the buzz in the room. And I knew, whether or not I choose to work with these two gentlemen, I fell in love with the magic of musicianship that took place in that moment. I tell you, to feel their excitement, as musicians, about my songs--it was a bloody good boost to my creative journey.
Today I'm meeting with a gentleman who wants me to be the front woman to his blues band, meshing my songs with his songs. Blues? I've never really done blues. But he, like the gentlemen above, found me online and believes I have "the voice to sing the blues." He's a pretty accomplished musician in the area and has the most delightful German accent and European flair, so I said, "why not?" Right now, I find myself open to life and all the possibilities that come my way. I look at the confines I put on myself in the past few years and never want to feel that trapped again. I believe I have some things to do while I'm on this earth, and the only way to do it is by stepping outside my comfort zones and trying new and different things.
Goodbye fear. Hello adventure.
Second. My health. Last week I was hanging out with my brother-in-law and nieces. He asked me about the donor process because he wants to head my "find-a-match" campaign and wants to be well informed when he reaches out to friends and family about being a potential donor. (This is kinda difficult to write. I have tears in my eyes at the moment, actually.) I can't really explain how vulnerable this disease makes me feel at times, but this is one of those moments. I have a hard time "needing" people. It makes me feel like I'm weak. But I know this is just bullshit I've constructed in my head and believed for too many years. When he reached out and matter-of-factly put his love and concern on the table for me, I felt like I could have burst into tears. I've had a lot of people that I love say they would be by my side for this "adventure" and a lot of those people are no longer by my side. So to be in the presence of someone who is saying this and meaning this with his whole heart, I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude. It's funny that one of my biggest challenges in life is being vulnerable enough to "need" someone, because, in essence, my survival directly depends on needing someone to give up one of their organs for me. So there I was, facing one of my biggest challenges and stepping out of my comfort zone.
I called the donor center.
I'm O Positive. Oh, am I positive.