Monday, May 27, 2013

It's just so scary

Christa and I took a quick trip to Nashville earlier this month. Last year I spent several weeks there getting to know the city and working up the courage to play at open mics. I've played hundreds and hundreds of concerts in my lifetime, but probably less than 10 open mics. At this point I don't particularly like them. Actually I get pretty nervous. In a normal concert I usually have time to get a decent mix and it sometimes takes me a few songs to get into it, but that's ok. At the Bluebird open mic, you get one song. No time to warm up or tweak your mix. Get up and deliver the song. It kind of levels the playing field.

Well not completely. Even with all those restrictions, there's still the song and the performance. I've heard brilliant songs in Nashville that nailed me even though the writer could hardly sing. And, of course, many mediocre songs that seemed pretty good because of the performance.

Writing a song is one thing. Delivering it is another. Recording it is another thing altogether.

The night I played the Bluebird this month there were 30 performers. Everyone played once and then they picked 10 of those 30 to play a second time, a second song. I sat there while they picked the names, hoping really, really hard that they would not pick me. I made it through delivering one song; I wasn't sure I could have done another. They didn't call my name and I gulped water in the corner and posted to instagram through the final 25 minutes, then grabbed my guitar and cleared out of there. It's a good thing to do, a privilege for which I'm grateful.

It's just so scary.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Dailies, Part Two

After a few more revisions I ended up with this. And it's kind of working. (It takes 3 months or so to get a habit firmly established and I'm not there yet, but it's doable. Even, I think, while traveling).

It's quite different than my original concept. It's now the 3 Minute Dailies. I set the timer for 3 minutes. I do each discipline for that long. Stretching. Guitar scales. Sketching. Free write. Prayer. Silence. Reading. Study. Reflection. Etc.

If I'm rushed I cut it down to two minutes for each thing and it still works. If I've got just ten minutes I still get more than half of it done.

Monday, May 13, 2013


A while back I got tired of the fact that I've been so inconsistent with my personal daily disciplines. So I decided to make a system to put them in. I drew a nice chart, (one I'd want to look at every day as I began my new life of consistency). The chart included many, many things I'm working on (sporadically) from a wide variety of arenas: creative disciplines, mental disciplines, spiritual disciplines, etc.

I tried it. It didn't work. (Some of my friends predicted this). It seems I don't have two hours free for this every day.

So I went back to the drawing board and chopped it all up into small, workable segments. Only 45 minutes Mon, Wed, Fri, a full hour Tues and Thurs. That'll work, right? Hmm. No. I'll tell you where I ended up in the next post...

Friday, May 10, 2013


Cold shoulders
Cold fingers

Hum of a refrigerator

Snow flakes buzzing like bugs

- Jonathan Reuel, 2013

Friday, May 3, 2013

Inconsistent to Good by Choice

I need the twenty mile march
Athletes practice a monk's routine

Instead I 
Rush ahead 
Lag behind

lack confidence
am not prepared 
for trouble

Jonathan Reuel, 2013