Last August, I was deep in the process of writing Bluer Than Midnight, a weird, noir-insprired two-act about The Blues, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Afterlife (no, really), when, taken with a wild notion, I went and bought a guitar because I figured, well, how can you write about the Blues from the inside without trying to play it? A quaint notion, but still....
Anyway, after a year of struggling with my Strat, I finally managed, this weekend, to play a Blues song above my usual profound level of lameness such that I enjoyed myself. It's "You Gotta Move," a Fred McDowell tune that the Stones covered on "Sticky Fingers." I'd looked up the tabs on the Internet, but the key was a challenging one for me, so I actually, honest-to-God transposed it to a key I could play (that's "A" boys and girls), and the pieces came together. Plus, the song's within my extensive, five-note vocal range; so I could actually sing the goddamn thing without hellishly embarassing myself.
Afterwards, I kind of sat back in a fugue state, my left hand aching like hell because I ended up playing it nonstop for about a half-hour, and thought: "Damn...I really did it. I'll be go to hell. I feel incredibly high."
And then I tried to play something else and was immediately humbled.
The play's more or less finished until it goes on to the next stage--a workshop or public reading--and I'm happy with it and looking forward to seeing where its journey next takes it. But whether it lives or dies, it's given me a moment I'll always remember.
WITS in Action! Turiya Autry at Grant High School - We visited Grant High School to see WITS writer Turiya Autry working in Courtney Palmer’s classes. Autry is teaching in two sections: African American Lite...
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