There has been on topic I’ve failed to write about for the last many weeks. It is not for a lack of something to say, but a comprehensive angle never manifested. In my past columns, I have written about music in different ways ... whether it is anecdotal or supplementary, but I’ve never tackled the topic directly.
Until August of last year, I took a four to five year hiatus from playing the guitar. My hiatus didn’t just include playing music, every aspect of music was mostly erased from life. I rarely listened in the car, and in my house only a dusty record player reminded me of a love I was shared for it. So, the question you may be wondering is what changed from the 18-year-old with long hair who always had a guitar in his hand to the 30-year-old who would assume to just avoid it entirely.
What most people may not know about me is during my collegiate years, I changed majors every other semester. The idea of permanence, of picking a career was a decision too daunting for me to face. So during my exploratory years, I thought I would mold my love of music into some form of career. Though I’ve learned much during my year and a half in music school, the rigors and mathematical approach of theory killed my desire to continue.
As an example, when I was younger and heard a melody or song on the radio, I would just become enthralled by the mystery of it all. I knew there were principles at work, but there was a certain magic contained in the unknown. That changed. When I was in college and learned more of the theory of music, those songs I admired turned into numbers and intervals. I found slowly that the thing I loved most about music was taken away from me.
Now, I am stating this happens to everyone and if I would have likely continued my education with it, I would not have perpetually felt that way about music, but at the time it was utterly devastating. I lost the one thing I thought I could never loose. Love is a sour thing to lose, and it creates a void when it has left. So for the following four years, everything music related existed in my life from the instruments to most of my collections. It was not until I was in the very last year of my 20s when that feeling crept up again.
After returning to Linton, I started to discover something was missing. I realized I was not whole if that makes sense. It took a while to soul search to find the answer. And the answer was simple enough: peace.
The question I asked myself is at what point do you feel whole? For some, it may be the smile of their child’s face or the glance a lover makes as she passes. For me it was being 13 years old, locked in my room, and with guitar in my hand. Playing the guitar is meditative. The best I play is when I look up after the song is finished and I don’t remember what I did. And with the band I’m with, it is easy to get lost in the moment. When I play, it doesn’t matter if I have a toothache or an ailment, everything fades away and I am reacting and creating simultaneously. People who are not musicians don’t understand that music is a conversation. If you listen close enough you can hear what each instrument is stating, and responses to the statements. It happens in the moment, and ends as the last note fades.
I have been mad at myself for putting down the instrument, because I wished I would have continued in learning the instrument, but I am grateful I found the love again. And anytime I need peace, it is as simple as closing my eyes and feeling my fingers ease across the fretboard.
Grant is a staff writer for the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.