In a fit of desperate procrastination yesterday, I tuned up my ukulele for the first time in months. Part Amanda Palmer inspiration, part need to make a ton of melodic noise, part follow-up on a “joke” I made to a friend last week. See, my friend is in a cover band (they’re pretty good, actually) that plays small, local gigs. In the anticipatory excitement leading up to seeing Amanda Palmer in concert, I joked with him that I would learn three AFP covers and play them at his gigs during intermission. It was the perfect little fantasy, until…
Well, he didn’t see it as a joke. He took me seriously. He thought it was a good idea. Now, I can flake out like I do on most of my crazy ideas and everyone will just chalk it up to me being me. Or. Or I could actually go through with it, actually learn the three songs and learn them well enough that I would be willing to play in front of other people, many of them strangers.
So, yesterday afternoon, I grabbed my uke and the chords and lyrics to one of my favorite AFP songs, and I made my fingers suffer for an hour. About thirty minutes in my fingertips were numb but I had the chords and melody down. Fifteen minutes later I finally got the strumming right. After an hour I wanted to keep going but my fingers refused to work. I reached that happy place, that place where the pain no longer matters because the joy is overwhelming. That place where you’ve learned something new and the suffering is worth it.
My fingers are red and swollen this morning with a weird numb pain that makes typing difficult. I doubt I will practice today out of fear that the pain will discourage me in the future. Right now I want to hold on to that happy place. Will I ever play for my friend’s band? I don’t know. Even if I can level up my ukulele skill, charisma remains my dump stat. (Non-gamer-nerd translation: I have horrible stage fright.) But right now, honestly, it really doesn’t matter if I ever play for anyone not blood-related to me. What matters is that I got excited, I did the work, and I made good art. I call that a win.