Thursday, May 17, 2007

no way did that just happen

Last night was my guitar recital. Guitar recitals are a lot of fun. We all sit in Robin's living room. Everyone steels their nerves with just enough alcohol to relax and still play. All Robin's students (and this recital is just adults) usually get a new song at every lesson, and many of us get the same songs...or newer students are playing songs that more advanced students have played in the past...however it works out, it works out that most of us know each other's songs. And most of us sing harmony--or at least sing along--on every song.

I played two really hard David Wilcox songs in open C tuning: Rusty Old American Dream and his arrangement of Same Old Song. Neither went off without a hitch, but it was fun. I also played a song I wrote in open C called Sarpy County. Or maybe it's called Thunderstorm Warning. Possibly, Thunderstorm Warning in Sarpy County, but that seems a bit long.

There was lots of Patty Griffin--Trapeze, Heavenly Day, Never Give Up. There was some Mindy Smith, Dar Williams, John Mayer, Townes VanZandt. Not those actual artists, but lovely covers of their songs. We joked and laughed, played and sang. That's what I call a good night. Throw in mojitos and frozen margaritas and well...fantastic.

After the formal (which is a very relative term) portion of the evening my friend Mary asked if I would play Boone's Farm Wine for her. I was sitting on the couch eating a cookie, like the one pictured above, and holding my guitar. I looked around for a place to put the cookie, but there was no coffee table and I didn't want to set it on the couch or floor. So, I did what any classy broad would do--I tucked it behind my ear like a pencil.

I played BFW, which is always a crowd pleaser, and those who were still around sang along. Then Barb asked me to play a song I wrote as an assignment, that I guess Robin told her about called Morbid Girl.

Morbid Girl is a song about my screwy philosophy that if I imagine terrible things they cannot happen. The chorus says, "I don't believe in psychic ability. I don't believe in ESP. I just believe the more I imagine the less it can happen to me." That's very logical. I am not psychic. I can't tell the future. So if I think "today Paul will die in a car crash", logically speaking, he can not die in a car crash. The verses are lists and lists of all the terrible things that might happen ("the asthma attack without an inhaler, the white-picket turned impaler").

I couldn't really remember the chords or the words to this song. I was fumbling through it --playing a little, talking through the parts that were sketchy in my memory. I looked down at my fingers while playing and--as if in slow motion--the cookie slipped out from behind my ear, fell end over end and landed, I kid you not, INSIDE my guitar. That giant cookie somehow got past my strings and into my sound hole.

There was a split second of stunned silence and then...well, I can't remember when I've laughed so hard. It took FOREVER to get it out. I didn't want to shake it into cookie crumbs--that can't be good for my under-saddle pickup! I held it above my head and Robin reached in as best she could and tried to fish it out. We finallyI shook it out onto the carpet, but there are still crumbs rattling around in there. At least it's not meat or dairy based.

If only I'd thought to include a line in my song about a Pepperidge Farm Piroutte falling into my guitar, it never would have happened.


Steven said...

How many things can I be envious of in one reading? Rusty Old American Dream is my fave David Wilcox song to sing; the recital sounds heavenly; and the fun stuff afterward is a great story! Shawn Colvin lost her pick in her guitar at Lyons one year -- John Gorka just walked on stage and gave her his guitar to play. Not as good of a story as the Pirouette, though.

emdunbar said...

Rust Old American Dream is one of my favorites too--it is really fun, but really hard to play. That riff is like a contant walking bass line. Goodstuff. We certainly missed you guys. I always drop my pick inside my guitar--that's like a daily occurence--but a cookie? I laugh every time I think about it.

jill said...

I can totally picture this totally UNLIKELY occurrence, and it makes me laugh along with you! I have you to thank for my going-on-15-year-love-affair with David Wilcox. There's just no one better! I'm so glad you get to have fun and PLAY like this! Woot!

emdunbar said...

I have a vague memory of playing Hold It Up To The Light for You--the recording of David playing it, that is. That is still such a powerful song to me. We were going to work out how to play it...but...listen to how FAST he is picking. There's just no way. I'm glad you are a Wilcox fan!

jill said...

You actually not only played Hold It Up To The Light for me, you wrote out all the lyrics and left them on my door while I drove to Wisconsin for a job interview/potential ministry opportunity, and was trying to figure out if I should do that or Lutheran Volunteer Corps. I would bet I still have that letter in one keepsake box or another. THANK YOU!!

Speaking of you remember the post-its all around your door, and you and Paul busting me in action?! I have a picture of that somewhere. Good times.