Banjo Journal

It takes me a while to discover where I want to play.  By where, I don't mean a place to sit.  The banjo sounds best on the porch.  What I mean is figuring where to put my hands.  It never sounds good right off and sometimes this is discouraging even though I know it shouldn't be.  Everything takes a little time to heat up.  Ovens and muscles and memories and love and fights and mornings and nights and stories and friendships.  Why should the banjo be any different?

So I try not to give up right away and try to remember my preferred definition of play: To amuse oneself.  It's best not to struggle and sweat and worry and strain.  There's enough of that already.  I hope to find one interesting sound and to play around with that for a while.  And perhaps that interesting sound will lead to another and maybe the two sounds will begin to talk to teach other.  And if I really listen to these sounds talking back and forth I just might be able to forget about thinking how I should or shouldn't be playing this banjo.

And when I can forget about that, is when the sounds get really interesting, and the banjo is warm and my ears are warm and my fingers are warm and the playing becomes real, I know, because I start to hear all kinds of sounds between the sounds, sounds that I'm not making, but that the banjo is making, because as much as I'm playing that banjo, that banjo is playing me.

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