“Fear is the mind killer.”– Frank Herbert, Dune
“On second thought , let’s not go to Camelot. ‘Tis a silly place.”– King Arthur, Monty Python And The Holy Grail
A friend gave my name to someone who was looking for a musician to play acoustic and sing in the courtyard of the condo complex she managed. She contacted me about it, and I told her that I’d love to do it, but it might have to be a little later as allergies have been wrecking my voice.
Now this is absolutely true. But it was also a convenient excuse. An excuse because the truth is that somewhere in me I was scared of doing this gig. Now, if you know me at all, then you are probably thinking the same thing that I was thinking at myself: “That’s ridiculous. This is not only one of your careers, but also one of the things you feel is your reason for existing. One of the things that makes you feel completely in your element, fulfilled and like your truest, brightest self. Why would you possibly be scared?”
Because fear is stupid but almost ever-present. It is the root of almost all negativity in one form or another. Yes I am a professional musician and I love it, but my usual element is playing with bands or recording. I haven’t done much solo playing in a long, long time. I love working with others and being a part of a team. When it’s just me I feel so much more exposed and vulnerable. I feared because I hadn’t been honing my solo act, that I wouldn’t have enough good material to play 90 minutes. That my real voice problems would make me perform at unacceptable (to me) levels. That people in this complex would not want music foisted upon them. That they would not like my song selection. one would be too obscure and no one would know it. The next would be too cliche and played out. There were infinite reasons to not do this gig. All of them, ridiculous for the most part.
Just picking songs that I do with bands and could do solo would be far more than enough material. Yes my voice isn’t 100% but it’s probably not noticeable to anyone other than me. Every song will be loved by some and hated by others, it’s the nature of art which is totally subjective. In this time of being quarantined at home, most people would probably love a little music in their lives. Were my fears completely unfounded? No, they were within the realm of possibility mostly, but pretty far fetched and unlikely.
I had referred her a couple of friends’ names as possibilities as well (she had someone who was supposed to play tomorrow flake out on her at the last minute). In the end, I messaged her and said that if she needed me tomorrow, I could do it. It still scares me. I still find that ludicrous as well. But most importantly, I don’t want to live and make decisions based on fear. Especially when it keeps me from doing something I’ve meant to do and wanted to do for as long as I can remember, which is actually get my solo act going.
And this is how we arrive at my Dune/Monty Python quote mashup: “Fear is the mind killer. Tis a silly place.”