I had no shortage of ideas for my “cinq minutes” this week. Days 1-3 passed before I even narrowed my options. A few passing thoughts I had were gardening, long boarding, and cooking. I ruled out gardening and cooking because I already planned on doing both of those this week, so I felt like I would be cheating my way out of my cinq minutes. Long boarding is still on the table for a future week when I am feeling more daring. =) I did fiddle around on the long board once, but I was too afraid I would break a wrist or get run over by a car. The latter almost happened. I was inching my way down the middle of our street, completely oblivious to my surroundings, when I turned around and saw a white minivan…just sitting there…waiting for me to finish playing around in the road. Completely embarrassed, I grabbed the board and ran inside. That incident put an end to my experimentation for the week.
After much deliberation, I decided to devote at least 5 minutes every day to playing guitar. I actually first began playing guitar about 10 years ago. I learned all the basic chords in about a week and felt really good about it, even though I pretty much sucked. I soon wrote my first song, called “Not Over You.” Then my younger brother became curious, picked up the guitar, and was awesome in like an hour (minor exaggeration), so I decided to leave the guitar playing to him. For the next 5-6 years, he played the guitar and we collaborated on lyrics and vocals. Our duo even had a name – “Stage Fright Remedy” (you can look us up at http://www.myspace.com/stagefrightremedy ☺ ). To be honest, I was perfectly happy with this arrangement. My true love is writing songs, not playing the guitar or performing. The hitch in the plan came when I moved 3,000 miles away to grad school. Suddenly, I had no accompanist and therefore no way to write songs.
Then, this winter, my wonderful husband bought me my very own guitar. My guitar playing skills, or rather, my lack of skills, is now the only obstacle in the way of me writing songs. Since January, I’ve managed to learn a couple of songs and attempt to write a song or two, but only playing 1-2 times a week has really slowed my progress. So, this week, I spent at least 5 minutes (usually closer to 20 minutes…I know…the blog isn’t called vingt minutes, but I was having so much fun!) every day learning a new song. The name of the song is Skinny Love by Bon Iver – I love this artist and I highly suggest you look him up on YouTube. I don’t do him justice. I probably drove my roomies nuts, but I stuck with it!! Luckily we had a couple of nice days this week and I was able to give them a break and drive my neighbors nuts instead. =)
I even recorded a video of the end result. I apologize for all of the sounds in the background…in addition to the traffic you should be able to hear my husband play some piano about halfway through the video. =) My playing is far from perfect, but I am really proud of how much progress I made on the song. A week ago, I didn’t know any of the chords (it is in an open tuning, so the chords are completely different from standard tuning). I also loved the feeling of spending a little time each day on guitar. Instead of starting from scratch after not playing a song for a couple of weeks, I was able to add a little bit each day and saw measurable improvements. As my guitar skills improve, I am beginning to fall in love with playing rather than merely seeing it as a means to writing songs. I would call that progress! Click on the link below to see my cover.
So…did anyone else devote some time to an activity or interest this week? What were your experiences or reflections on it? If you had a crazy week and didn’t have any time for “cinq minutes”…tell me about that too. =)