Thursday, February 5, 2009

Get Away!

i live to build community. and although that sounds like a noble and selfless thing to do, it hasn't really been like that.

when there was no discernible folk scene in our home town, the band i was in started up a Folk Society. now we have a weekly song circle where i can showcase my writing, make friends, and jam with them. and a concert series where we get to hear the best of rising Canadian talent, make friends, and jam with them.

i see a pattern developing...

when my best friend and i were suffering from a huge case of writer`s block, after co-writing a fabulous song, we started up a writer`s bloc. the next month, we were both writing again, getting together with helpful friends and...

when the Mariposa Folk Festival returned to its ancestral home, thanks in large part to the work of the aforementioned band and Folk Society, i volunteered our bloc to lead songwriting workshops, where we spread the love, made friends, and...

when i needed to supplement my meager income, i started teaching evening songwriting courses through Parks and Rec., where i widened my reputation, made money and friends...

when the bloc was firmly established, i realized it was, by necessity, a closed group. i wanted some way to share what we were doing with a larger community, make new friends...

i had also been working with my buddy David at a beautiful local outdoor education centre, which at some point came to be the setting for our shared dream of a winter weekend of fun and learning and healthy physical activity with our current and brand new friends. and jamming.

i introduced the idea to the bloc, who gave me unanimous support. so we booked the lodge, spread the word, lined up volunteers to lead workshops, and hoped we could entice enough people to drop a very reasonable $120 so we could meet expenses.

well, we did, just. and one weekend in the middle of January 2007, we all came together for an amazing time of shared music and joy. complete strangers became fast friends. atheists joined in the sunday gospel session.

the name, and the whole idea of the weekend was `D.I.Y.` Do It Yourself. we didn`t bring in big names, or outside experts. and it was fantastic.

i guess that`s my entire raison d`├Ętre: if you want something to happen, it`ll probably be quicker, and more to your liking, if you do it yourself.

i spent a lot of years complaining about things not happening, waiting, wishing. what a waste.

as soon as i started these little projects, i knew there were a bunch of people who would prop me up and support anything i tried, and thank me for doing it for them.

so now i`m in the middle of a beautiful, thriving community of musicians and listeners, that i`ve helped to grow. the folk society celebrated fifteen years this week. the writers`bloc is in its seventh. Mariposa nine. my Parks and Rec classes have expanded to sessions for teenagers as well as adults. i`ve started performing and teaching songwriting in public schools. the DIY weekend three weeks ago was the third annual, and by far the best ever.

selfless and noble, you might think. a bit of it, i guess, but mostly i did it because i wanted it to happen.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

one of the best posts yet! hopefully i'll be able to come too sometime, so you'd better keep them going.
love the picture. even in middle age, mom still has to sit in the front row of the class picture!
xo M