Wednesday, July 20, 2011

living a dream

dear Terra,

excuse the absence, once again, but i've been busy, living the dream and then recovering from it.

being hired to play at this year's Mariposa Folk Festival has sent me through the gamut of emotions, from elation to anxiety, fear to excitement, happiness to exhaustion.

it turned out to be a wonderful weekend. i wasn't scheduled to play 'til sunday, so the first two days were relaxed and fun. the family was reunited, and good times were had at the ArtsU tent - the first time we've had such a visible presence on site.

sunday came and Sue Charters and i did our first outdoor presentation of the Blood and Fire show, a first also for the shortened version, The Donnelly Primer. not a huge crowd, but it went very well. my brother and sister-in-law and their musical son drove up to catch it for the first time, and there was a great back-and-forth with audience members afterward.

i was relieved to have gotten through the first show successfully, and i found myself surprisingly relaxed leading up to the big one, hosting a workshop in the pub with a veteran folkie and a new friend, a young songwriter accompanied by his fiddling companion.

i introduced myself to the veteran outside the pub tent, and then to the fiddler, who i asked to join us on stage. the veteran seemed unsure of things, never having heard of us. but we set up, me vowing to install electronics in my old Larrivee, as the sound crew, working a new and unfamiliar hi-tech board, were unable to cut the feedback from the instrument mic. i tried to pretend i was playing a twangy twelve-string with brand new strings and way too many overtones. it kind of sounded like that.

i asked the pro to start us off, which seemed to surprise her. i had tried some funny shtick to lighten things up, for myself as well as everyone else - stripped off and changed my shirt and publicly denied that we were the pro's latest folk supergroup. i guess she thought i was going to play the first one myself - in my view a workshop faux pas, and a thing i vowed i would never do.

it was magical. we went around three times and i got to close with Emmylou On the Radio, just as i had planned, or at least hoped. the audience was enthusiastic, and the veteran congratulated me on my job of hosting and told me that it was her favourite set of the weekend.

talked with my brother and a few folks outside, and then my wife and Suse-my-muse, who fed me with a fresh view of how i had done. i realized that what i was feeling mostly was relief, that i hadn't taken in just how special a moment it had been. Deb and Susan can do that for me, better than anyone.

so we celebrated the rest of the day, with a decent cheque in my pocket and a bit of cash from cd sales. that night i found myself avoiding bed, not wanting my day of days to be over.

i was surprised how back-to-normal everything was over the next week. it didn't match the high i was still feeling, the dream continuing into waking.

so yesterday, having the house to myself, i set out to write a song. all i had were the first three words and a stolen melody for them. so i went out to the tent (our dining/party shelter, the shady place to be on a hot day) with my guitar and notebook, and started with the three words and notes, Come On, Dreams.

come on, dreams, i want to fly tonight

come on, dreams - damsels to save.

they're all around, i hear them calling,

and i'm feeling brave

i've been having these daylight dreams

how could life be as good as it seems?

i don't want to change a thing

now, about these damsels...


i dared to dream, some nights

of a creature i would ride

a Spanish butterfly

in search of damsels...



the creature has a name

my head is turned, and turning gray

who will save this day?

my damsels.

such a shock, when dreams come true

you become a bigger "you"

now i'm painting what i drew

bring on those damsels...

come on, dreams.

the damsels don't need saving, of course, but they're more fun than windmills. they are Deb and Suse and Alyssa and Jen and Carol and Lori and Wendy and Susan and Diane and Sue and the list goes on.

the creature is referenced by a rhyme with name, ie. "fame", as in "don't let it turn your head".

and Spanish for butterfly would be "mariposa".

so in the bridge, the song gets turned on its head, and the damsels save me. as always.


Susan said...

.....what a magical song, paul...can't wait to hear it....really have to get to songO one of these times...congrats on mariposa!!!...wish I could have seen you.....

kimberley campbell said...

What a wonderful post about you 'butterfly' experience. Beautiful-and a lovely tribute to your muses.
I haven't heard you play in so long -please keep me posted on upcoming appearances.

Met Dylan his art opening at the Brownstone. Looks like the apple didn't fall to far from the tree...very creative.

Best. Kim Campbell