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I live in a house full of musical instruments. 35 fretted (and related) instruments, seven or eight keyboards, several freestanding synthesizer boxes, piles of whistles, flutes, drums and exotic percussion toys. Music has been what has flipped my switch for as long as I can remember. I never listen to music while Iím working at my Ďrespectableí job, since I pay to much attention and get distracted too easily. My cozy little home office is also my music room, and, as I write this, Iím within armís reach of three guitars, five keyboards and a small wall of guitar amps. I havenít touched any of them in four days.

Over the weekend, LinnieRed and I got extraordinarily inspired and committed a housecleaning. Neither of us minds the clutter, but it really was getting away from us in terms of normal housekeeping stuff. I like it and hope to stay on top of it in order to avoid the dinginess and resulting Herculean effort it takes when it all gets away from you.

In the process, we rearranged some of the clutter and found a precious few extra square feet of floor space. I liked that, too. It got me to looking at all the ďstuffĒ we have accumulated through five marriages, umpteen moves and just a lifetime of not being able to let go of much of anything, even stuff with no value, real or sentimental. In particular, I was looking at the 35 guitars, basses, banjos, mandolins and whatnot. Looking at them got me to thinking about the 2 Ĺ car garage which is packed to the gills with PA gear, computer equipment, packing boxes for instruments and the usual assortment of house and lawn tools. All in all, itís a lot of ďstuffĒ.

Now, I have a passion for fine guitars and Linniered indulges me in this regard, bless her little rust-colored follicles. Iíve always been able to rationalize this with the argument that I was a performing and recording musician, and the instruments were, at least to some degree, tools of the trade. It struck me just as I was considering all of this amassed stuff, that, these days, Iím neither. Yes, we perform every now and again, but very seldom. My recording rig will need a couple of grand worth of hardware and software to become usable again, and that is on the agenda, time and funds permitting. But, barring some unforeseen (and highly unlikely) circumstance, I donít see myself really needing a lot of this accumulation any more.

So the thought of disposing of some of the gear and thinning the ďguitar herdĒ struck me. In the past, this sort of thought would send me running to the nearest instrument to practice, riff, meedly-wheedly, bellow and chonk until the urge passed. That, in turn, would get me playing more regularly and before long Iíd dream up some scheme to get back to performing or recording. Not so this time. The instruments sit there, untouched. And some of the nicer ones have begun to emanate an accusatory aura, even from within their cases.

Iím blessed to be able to work at home and typically at some point during the day, will take a break and play a little bit, just to clear my head. That hasnít happened all week, even though I havenít been too hideously busy. Iíve got playerís block.

I expect I really will thin the herd some and put the money to some different and possibly better use, and we sure could use the extra space around here. But Iím still having a tough time coming to grips with the idea that the thing that has turned my key for more than 50 years just isnít getting to me as it once did. So, Iím waiting it out. Besides, every time I part ways with an instrument, something happens almost immediately to make me regret it.

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The following comments are for "Player's Block?"
by TomTerrific

On the block
Sometimes that happens, though, for almost anyone doing something creative, and I think it means a breakthrough may be happening--a change of relationship with your playing, or a move toward a new approach.
Of course, sometimes it means you're just wandering away from it, as a number of unfinished paintings and songs in our house show. But don't let your mind scare you, looking at how you've lost touch with it, when the inner musician in you probably knows what it's doing.
And, look, you're starting to write.
Thanks again for the comments. Much obliged.

( Posted by: icarus [Member] On: February 26, 2005 )

Keep writing
I have enjoyed two works that you have written for us in here. It is as if you are having a conversation with just the person who is reading, I am looking forward to more.
Christian Albert

( Posted by: ChristianAlbert [Member] On: March 16, 2005 )

player's block
Good stuff! I really liked this! It tells a tale of what it's like inside the music at those times when there ain't much music.
Well not the kind everyone else can hear.
That must be one heck of a house, you and linnieRed and all that talent. writing, singing, playing!

Boy do I know what you're talking about! It's funny how the whole thing works, play , learn, plateau, walk away, rinse & repeat... for the rest of your life!
A wise player once said to me "Ya wouldn't choose this... who would?" But I wouldn't have it any other way.
I'd say more but I can hear my "stick" complaining that it's been too long since we played together.

( Posted by: monkpeabody [Member] On: April 23, 2005 )

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