A Paisley Girl

I grew up during the 1960’s and 1970’s. I’m a child of guitars, flower power, paisley, mushrooms (drawing them, not eating or otherwise ingesting them), folk music, classic rock, peasant blouses, white go-go boots, and all of the other wonderful things of those years. No matter how old I get, those things will remain a part of me. That mostly is a good thing, but sometimes – not so much.

Let’s take paisley, for example. No matter where I am, if I see something that is paisley I stop to take a look at it. If it’s a scarf or a blouse, I might buy it. If it’s a new Vera Bradley something-or-other, I might buy that too. A notebook? For sure! I can get away with having paisley things, but I’m learning that certain items are not considered “age appropriate.” Say what?

I have a very cool blouse I bought last year that is a deep blue paisley beauty. It looks stunning on the hanger is my closet. But when I put it on, I feel like I’m a 90-year-old woman trying to look 20. Not that I’m 90 yet (I’m only in my mid-50s). But the woman in the mirror doesn’t look like me when I see myself wearing that blouse. I expect to see me, only not so old-looking. It’s kind of hard to explain, I guess – unless you’ve been in that situation.

There are so many things I recall when I see paisley. I remember sitting in English class in high school and drawing little paisley patterns while the teacher lectured on some topic (okay, I admit my attention span wasn’t always on target). I remember this freaking awesome paisley dress I had gotten from a neighbor’s daughter when she outgrew it – all blue and purple and pink and absolutely wonderful. Most of all I can still see a different English teacher and the brown paisley shirt he sometimes wore, and oh, how I loved him … I mean, how I loved that shirt. Deep sigh …

Why are we so concerned about wearing things that are “age appropriate?” I wear Uggs® – is that a crime? I have an old copy of THE LITTLE PRINCE on my dresser. I have a C.F. Martin Hippie guitar. I play Barbies® with my boyfriend’s nine year old daughter. And I want to wear paisley blouses.

Are the age police going to come and take me away?

What More can I Say (or Sing)?

I love music.  Most genres (rock, classic rock, alternative, bluegrass, folk, classical, new age, some country), not all – although I’m not so closed-minded as to not listen to something if it’s striking in any way.  I admit I used to be one of those who just said no to hip-hop and rap, but then one of the results of having a child (if you’re anything like me) is that you listen to what your son or daughter listens to.  And that can change your mind if you’re open to listening, if just for one or two songs.

I remember growing up with the music of The Beatles and how my parents (especially my dad) tried desperately to keep my sister and me from listening to them.  Luckily, my uncle (only four years older than me) would play Beatles and Rolling Stones until the LPs and 45s (yes, LPs and 45s) would, I assumed, get scratched and unplayable.  I understand what my parents went through because I almost fell into the same trap – I wanted to keep my son from listening to what I categorized as “not worth listening to.”   But do you find that if kids what to do something they will, no matter what their parents say?  Well, one day I found myself listening to my son’s music and thinking, “hmm … that’s not really so bad.”

I admit that sometimes I can find messages in music I would have ignored years ago.  Eminem is a prime example.  My pre-teen son was adamant about listening to him, and at first I blocked the music out, but slowly, I started listening to the words.  Read that again – to the words.  Maybe you don’t particularly enjoy the type of music others do, but sometimes you might find that there really is a message behind the “noise.”

Of course, some people like rap but hate bluegrass.  Or like country and despise heavy metal.  But if you can open your mind for even one or two songs, a new dimension of the music may find its way into your mind.

So why the theme of music for this blog?  Well, last Saturday night I was at Birdie’s Café in Westminster waiting for Transcendent Third to take the stage.  Okay, it’s more a corner of the room than a stage, but all the same … in my opinion, T3 is really, really good.  Check out their website if you’re so inclined (www.t3music.com).  What makes them good?  They write their own music; they play multiple instruments (guitar, violin, bass); their lyrics are insightful; and just as important – they know how to connect with the audience.  Did I mention that they’re identical twins?  Matthew and Michael.  Folksy.  Simon and Garfunkel-ly.  Good music, good lyrics.  Time well spent.

But even more than all of that, I’ve got the bug.  I want to play the guitar and sing and connect with an audience.  I used to love doing that when I was in my late teens and early twenties.  There is something so damn cool about connecting with people.  The hesitation to get up there and do it is that I don’t know if I can any more.  It’s been thirty years and I’ve changed a lot.  I have to give presentations at work sometimes and I get nervous in front of people I work with everyday.  So what would it be like getting up in front of strangers?  Is it that it’s easier to perform in front of people who I don’t know and may never see again than it is to give a presentation in front of people I know?

In 2006 I was making plans to take the guitar out if its case and sing at The Pour House (now Birdie’s Café).  I was pulling myself up and out of a shell I crawled into in 2005 (a very long story for another time).  But The Pour House closed towards the end of 2008 and I was devastated.  I put the thoughts of singing back into the case with guitar and stood them all against the wall in my living room.

Now Birdie’s is open and T3 is singing and the bug is back.  Will it become a reality this time?  Time will tell, I suppose.