Life is weird and progress is not linear.
I apologized to my fans who came to see me last night because there was a birthday party for a guy going on in the same big room as my show, but the birthday people didn't come to hear me.
It was weird.
My ability to connect with people through my musical performance was definitely compromised.
I realized as I stood on the stage somewhat helpless to the birthday revelers' noisy partying, that I advertise my shows with a certain contractual faith for the people who make the effort to attend.
When I invite people to come to my show I'm promising, on an unspoken level, that the conditions for listening to my performance will be good if not ideal.
The birthday party going on in the same room as my show, even though it is a very large room, was a distraction to be sure.
Luckily by the time I started my second half of my show after a ten minute break, the birthday party was pretty much over.
So those that stuck around for me had a better experience in the second half.
But there were some fans, or potential fans, who left during the height of the birthday noise, maybe disgusted that they couldn't enjoy my performance, and maybe aware that I wasn't fully enjoying my performance either.
If I'm not all in, there's no way anyone else can be all in.
Well, the other thing is that I wore an outfit that I've had for several years.
It's a very very short sequined slip with a floral design that reminds me of the sugar skull designs, and since it was the Day Of The Dead, I got the idea to wear it and put my light up skulls on my stage.
But, the over-the-knee black suede boots I've worn with that dress in the past are just really meant for sitting around looking pretty with a drink in your hand.
Last night, as is often the case right now with my current level of shows, I drove an hour, I carried all my own PA set up and guitars into the stage area, I set everything up and did several nervous sound checks since it was just my little PA covering the whole big space.
I left the light up skulls in the car because I didn't have the extra energy to get them and set them all up knowing I'd have to take them down again at the end too.
I played a three hour show, standing and dancing around and all of that, and then I carried it all back out to my car, amplifiers and all, and drove the hour home.
Those boots are not made for walking...much less for heavy lifting and many hours of hard work.
I'm sticking with my cowboy boots or my combat boots from now on.
Both are comfortable even for hours on the road.
What I have to remember now is that even though I'm heading out to a show from my own home where I have a closet full of clothes instead of a suitcase of strictly touring clothes, I have to consider every show just like a tour performance.
I owe this to the people who are driving a distance themselves and choosing to spend their evening listening to me.
That's a big honor to me and I will never take it lightly.
If I'm not physically comfortable I can't give all of my attention to the songs.
The good news is that the owner of the place last night told me several times how much he appreciated that I was able to roll with the situation, and how he loves my music and wants me to continue to play there.
His booking person, a woman I really love, wrote to me already today asking to set up more dates.
And one of my fans wrote to me this morning saying he had a suggestion of another good listening space for me to try to book a show in the same area.
So, I must have still made a good enough impression.
But good enough is not good enough and we all know that.
"...and day by day this pathway clears since first I learned to love it..."