ukulele

My First Two Originals

It’s hardly a secret I’ve always loved writing. But writing a song was something I never thought I’d be able to do. I always felt I was too verbose; I had such difficulty keeping things concise that I almost gave up writing for magazines. I never thought I’d be able to fit my words and feelings into three or four-minute bursts. But over the past few months, I haven’t been able to play much music physically, and humming covers wasn’t exactly going to further my passion, so I tried my hand at writing. The first song, Fragments, is about the idea of every person you’ve ever shared part of your life with having a piece of your history, and despite you growing and changing and hopefully becoming better since you knew them, them still holding the piece of you that they knew at the time. The judgments that may come with that. But it’s about recognising that though fragments of yourself are scattered throughout other people’s lives, you’re not your history, and you have the power to decide and believe in who you are in the here and now.

The second I had to write the moment I finished reading a blog post by the wonderful Hannah Brencher, whom many of you will be familiar with. She was one of the first people to ever connect with me when I started blogging, and to witness her journey has just been incredible. It’s about the pain of letting go, and the choice that comes along with it – that no matter how desperate and dark a place you may be in, you still have the power of choice as to what’s inside your mind, and what you do with it.

I think for a first attempt at songwriting, they came out pretty okay. I hope you like them. I know both are about potentially sad things, and in the “write what you know” spirit, there’s a little bit of experience in them, but I think if you’re going to put something as potentially uniting as a song into the world, it shouldn’t bring everybody down. It should give them hope, make them feel they’re not alone, and raise them up to perhaps see a new angle. Some of the songs that mean the most to me are ones that do that. It’s my biggest goal in life, and I’ve always said it: to somehow leave my tiny corner of the planet a little better off than it was before. I may not always succeed, but if I can put myself, my writing, or a song out there, whether it’s seen by two people or two thousand (a girl can dream!), then it takes on a power of its own. And I want that power to carry on a message of positivity and hope. The world is too full of sadness to make things that add to it.

My Ukulele Decemberists Cover

So… remember about a month ago when I wanted to finally man up and sing in front of an audience? And went into it shaking harder than a cheap hotel bed and came out the other side throwing up? Yep. Fun times. But amidst the terror and the vomit was a tiny sliver of accomplishment – and an enormous desire to be able to learn an instrument (if only to give me something to do with those damn arms), lose the nerves, and be able to Perform Properly. I’ve never been able to play the guitar, so I decided on a ukulele. Less strings, and a way better fit for my hobbit hands. And only $25!

Naturally this first proved a lesson in patience. I wanted it to be in tune, I wanted to know the fingerings of all the chords, and I wanted to be able to read music and play every song I knew immediately. I’m learning these days that one of the things I need to work on most in pretty much everything is learning to be patient. (But “carpe diem” has such a good ring to it…)  But after a week or two of perfecting playing the basic chords in my best carpal tunnel-inducing claw and almost giving up, I figured out the proper way, and managed to bugger my way through a whole song! So here’s my first attempt at playing the ukulele for people. The cat doesn’t count. PLEASE bear in mind that a) I’m a total n00b and have a LOT of work to do, b) I look crap in glasses, c) I’m still terrified of singing in front of people, but d) I really, really want to keep taking these steps – even if they’re scary and even though I’ll probably look back in total mortification – because I love music. I love singing, even if I’m not the greatest singer. And I really, really want to stop being afraid of doing it.

Here goes. (God I wish they’d let you actually choose the thumbnail!)