By Jake Sapon, CC Storyteller: On Tour, April 2017
Stephanie and Don, our hosts, greet us with homemade baked bread, spiced nuts, and fresh strawberries. The room fills with artists and creators—musicians, clowns, theater artists, and dancers.
This is our first gathering among fellow performers, and we’re both a bit nervous. This is also the first night that I will contribute to our act by playing original music that I’ve written. My body is tingling with nervous energy. As I wait to play, I look out at the room of people and sense an openness, an encouragement, a sense of total willingness to be present.
This is me. I am who I am. I will play what I will play, and I will play with my whole heart.
My fingers start to pick the first chord, and I feel the whole room waking up. One fellow musician across the room gives me an encouraging smile, and I am, all of a sudden, totally in it, singing and playing with joy. I’m still afraid but I’m also loving every moment, making eye contact and smiling at each person in the room. My voice sounds louder and stronger than usual. Other instruments join in and I feel as if an invisible electricity connects me and the room; my chest feels as if a balloon inside is expanding and expanding.
Kāli begins to read a poem about fear, and asks Erin and Jeff, a musician duo if the poem reminds them of anything. They play a beautiful song— I feel so faint today…. Fade away, fade away. Erin explains how the song expresses for her the sense of being a performer but not always feeling strong enough to perform. She explains how the song expresses weakness, but the act of playing is one of empowerment. We conclude with an Irish folk tune, and the room again explodes in song—two guitars, voices, penny whistle and banjulele all playing together.
In the morning, Stephanie sends us off with porridge, fruit, and more homemade bread.