A Tale of Two Stories

One upon a time there was a girl with stars in her eyes. She had tumbling red curls and a song in her heart. But she realized, she was sad. She had abandoned her dreams. So one day she turned to her charming prince and said “let’s hit the road and be musicians”. And so they did. Across the land they roamed, singing songs and making friends. Tentative and bumpy, but overflowing with passion, was this humble musical venture of theirs. When times were tough, they always had a place to stay. One day, they decided to take the leap and give up their home so that they could afford to take more risks and spend more time on the road doing what they loved most. They were nervous, but they had support and love enough to feel good about taking the plunge. They were in love, they lived a creative life, they travelled the world singing, and were very happy.

Meanwhile, in a parallel reality -

Times were tough. Everywhere you looked, folks were losing their jobs, their homes, their security. Debt was increasing, jobs were decreasing, and people were having a much harder time weathering basic life challenges. Folks who had little to begin with were hit especially hard. Such was the case for our protagonists; struggling to make a living in an uncertain industry, they were eventually confronted with the need to abandon their home in order to stay on top of their bills. They just couldn’t keep up with the demands of daily life, and became yet another statistic in the saga of the dwindling middle class.

Both of these stories are true. One sounds like a wonderful adventure and the other is a hard luck tale. I would so much rather be the person in the first story, wouldn’t you?

As it turns out, I am.  I am also the person in the second story. These stories are both about Winter and I, where we are at in life, and some pretty big changes that are coming up for us. In some ways these changes are brought about by events that could be considered unfortunate. But we are pretty excited about them!

In a nutshell, we are giving up our darling Lake Merritt apartment with the hardwood floors and the bay view, and moving into a tiny loft bedroom in an Emeryville townhouse. We will have considerably less space, for considerably less cost.

This is something that we have been discussing for a few years now. Most of our musician friends have given up their homes at one time or another to live on the road, and saving on rent costs really helped them get ahead. They invariably describe this time in their lives as challenging, but ultimately beneficial. We can’t help but imagine the possibilities for ourselves.

However, we’ve been reluctant to give up our own space. A place that is just ours, where we can let our hair down and not have to be “on” for anyone. Don’t get me wrong – being the celebrated “Artist on Tour” is loads of fun. But sometimes I just want to sit around in my underpants, you know what I’m saying?

So we put off making this choice.

Until Winter’s dentist made it for us.

While we probably could whether this new expense, it feels like the straw that broke the camel’s back. We want to invest in our business more than we’ve been able to. We want to get out of debt faster than we’ve been. And the more we are on the road, the more it hurts to send back a giant rent check for a place we aren’t even living in.

So we are taking the plunge, and for the most part, we are feeling pretty excited about it!

Of course, it could be said that medical bills are driving us into downsizing our lifestyle. There are those who would interpret our situation as tragic. There are those who will shake their heads in pity, thinking us fools for chasing this music dream. There are those who will see the second story as the hard truth, stripped of the romanticism I am known for.

But frankly, I identify with the first story so much more! And since it’s my life, I get to define what is adventure and what is tragic. I have dreamed of being location independent for years, traveling the world as I sing songs for people and work from my laptop. As I see it, this is the best of both worlds! I will get to experience the benefits of location independence, and still have a place to hang my hat. This is freaking awesome!

I can see wanting to have a larger home again someday, where I can spread out and have art projects all over the place. Indeed, owning a home is a significant measure of success to me. But I can do the gypsy thing for awhile and feel just fine about it. I am so thankful to be given this opportunity (thank you – you know who you are) and it really brings home the point to me that community, love, is what makes the difference between whether our stories are tragic or exciting. It is community and love that makes the first story ring true.

It also brings home to me just how much we live in our stories. How much our stories color our world. How many different viewpoints can be simultaneously true, and what it says about each of us which version of truth we choose to live in.

I live my life as an epic saga. Every day is an adventure, and if someone wants to tell me my life is nothing more than a sad newspaper statistic they can kindly piss off.

I am looking forward to sharing this new phase of our adventure here on this blog as I step more fully into the life of the touring musician! Will I freak out sometimes? Undoubtedly. Might I fail? Well sure. But you know – when I am on my death bed I am going to be damned thankful that I took my best shot at living my dreams rather than clinging to the (rather flimsy) promise of security and the American Dream.

How about you? What parallel stories do you have going on in your life?  What stories do you claim as yours? What stories define your life?

 

12 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Stories

  1. May soft winds guide you to your new adventures with your traveling Minstrel Man!
    I too since losing Manda in March, have been wandering, wandering in my mind and wondering in my head why my baby was taken away. I have tried to settle in one place and just cannot seem to find peace, find anything to get me motivated.
    Even though I was riding my bike and hiking and doing the Yellowstone thing, The boulder on my heart never got any lighter, and it never will. I just have to learn to cope.
    And I am starting that journey this winter. I have gotten my belongings down to two suv loads, will have it down to one. And I plan on living again, wherever I choose, if I see a place I am interested in, I will stop. And finances also have a play, my income was cut in a little under a fourth of what it was. So changes had to be made. And since it has been a few days since the shock, I realize this is a blessing in many ways from the Ancient Ones, they know the plan, I am just a wonderful pawn they can move on that plan at will. Doing what I do. Have a friend who has a bus converted into a camper at a beautiful lake in the woods, all ready for me, whenever I want it…. it sounds better every day.
    I wish You and Winter all the wonderful adventures you can handle! My Favorite time of the Northern Nv PPD you came to was panicking because you ran into traffic LOL, and then Winter and I getting up early and talking while you snoozed, then you getting up and all of us setting in the kitchen, talking and forgot to eat. :)
    Then at the Con went you allowed me the honor of setting in on your interview with Patrick, never will be a bigger moment for me listening to him tell that story.
    So, may the Ancients protect and take all of use where we need to go…
    Kim

  2. This is awesome, Sharon! I have essentially the same story, but without being a touring musician. Was informed I’d be losing my job- which I was growing very sick of- and took the lay off as a way of moving out deep into the sticks where our total cost of living (literally all inclusive) is less than our rent was in Seattle.

    As the saying goes:

    When your out-go
    Exceeds you income
    Your upkeep
    Will be your downfall

    It’s usually easier and more effective to to reduce the out-go than increase the income, though possibly Un-American! :)

  3. Sharon, that’s just exactly where I am at right now. First, the house was waaay too big and expensive for me, so I moved to the 2 BR apt. Then that got to be too expensive, so I moved to a 1 BR apt. Three months later, I lost my job. However, I had a real “message in my life” moment – On the Friday that I was laid off, when I got home and looked at the computer, the first thing I saw was an article entitled “Beginning the Journey”! Am I ever! I also am thankful that I will take my best shot at living my dreams. I want to teach music, but there is no business allowed in these apartments. I also want to do Social Work kind of things, so I am looking very carefully at both options, and I’m really excited. Hmmm, I’d better stop this “comment” or I will be starting my own blog! But thanks for the blog that you wrote. It seems you and Winter and I are all “Beginning the Journey”!

  4. Thanks for chiming in folks!

    Kim – I am so very sorry about Amanda! I can’t even imagine how awful that must feel. May you find peace, and may out paths cross again.

    Aidan – Oh I am working on the “increasing income” part as well! ;+) Best of luck to you!

    Amy – Hi! Nice to see you here!

    Mom – You lost your job?? We should talk.

  5. I know this has long been your dream.
    I am happy for you and take delight in seeing you take the plunge and live it!
    Success is your proof!
    )O+
    sam

  6. Definitely live your dream! No death bed regrets! Everything you say here is so true. Life is the way we choose to see it, whether through rose colored glasses or a rainy window pane. It is all perspective, the story we decide to tell, what part we choose to focus on. Yes, circumstances shape us, cause us to make choices and thus we forge our path, making our way. It sounds like you DO have the best of both worlds and a very interesting story to tell. And you do so very beautifully. I hope all goes well and that you always have what you need. Many blessings to you and Winter.

  7. Thanks Sam!

    So nice to see you here!

    Yeah, I only wish I had grown the cajones to really go for it sooner, but luckily I am still healthy and vibrant enough to do it now, so it’s all good. :+)

  8. Hi Sharon!

    I can weigh in on this —- I have moved to a small town in Northern California
    from Albuquerque and I’m very glad I made the change ! (However, maybe I should have commented on the blog entry entitled ’20 Penises’ – it looks more interesting ;)

    Astrologically, I had one hell of a solar return chart in terms of 11th house – doing things differently and change, how bout you and Winter?

    Anyway, things have been flowing much better for me here already — more than they had been in the desert for the past 4 years! Much good medicine and blessings to you and Winter in your endeavors! – Rae

  9. Yeah, I really need the sea! I’m living in Arcata (up between San Francisco and Portland, Oregon) — it has Humboldt State U — and if there’s anyplace some of my new friends and I have talked about visiting, it’s Oakland (ha!) right next to where I believe you guys currently live.
    The people up here have been incredibly friendly – I have zero complaints.
    And there’s actually a good amount of sun during winter!

    It’s my first Christmas here (though i’m pagan – I try to do something during this time) and I thought I’d put it out there and ask if you know of any nice rituals for being in a place for the first time that might inaugurate my stay – though “inaugurate” seems too formal a term, somehow. :)

    p.s. I’ve started working professionally in music again — (this wasn’t planned, but just “happened” when I got here — ) and I’m singing with a well-known musician who used to back George Harmonica Smith (wonderful blues artist) — so ya never know!! – maybe we can work together if you ever want a bluesy-sounding voice.

    Bye you guys, have a meaningful holiday! – Rae

  10. Rae –

    Congrats on getting back to music! Very rewarding! I’d love to hear what you do sometime.

    Can’t say I know of any specific rituals, I always just make them up as needed. :+)

    Happy Holidays to you as well!

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