Confession: When I was in, oh, fourth or fifth grade, I dreamed about forming an all-girl band. Not Spice Girls-style (although I did love them in my younger days); in my band, we would play our own instruments and write our own music. I wanted to be the drummer. And I decided we would call ourselves “Hot Ice.” I seriously thought that was the coolest band name ever.
Fast forward to present day. I still have dreams of musicianship, but now, I’m solo, sitting on a wooden stool, wearing red lipstick, and singing something with a Tracy Chapman or Me’shell Ndegeocello vibe while strumming an acoustic guitar.
My Hot Ice dreams were childhood fantasies (albeit fun ones). Me learning how to play guitar in my late 20s – it’s going to be my reality.
And that’s because I met Lucille last weekend.
Lucille (yes, I named my new guitar after Little Richard’s song and the glorious Lucille Ball) is a Taylor GS Mini. She’s made of rich mahogany (insert Anchorman joke here) and is smaller than a standard acoustic guitar, but don’t let her size fool you. She’s rather loud and her tonal quality is excellent. She has lower action – which my hands are extremely excited about – and she just feels right. I “tried on” a lot of guitars last weekend, but I kept going back to the mini. We were meant to be, Lucille and I.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I have fallen in love with a musical instrument. But not in a Lars and the Real Girl kind of way – in a budding musician who is scared and excited and can’t wait to learn something new kind of way.
Since accepting that dance performance is no longer going to be a constant in my life, I’ve been trying to discover something that will ignite my creativity and get me excited again. And while I have lots of options (cupcake baking, poetry and spoken word, choreography projects, novel writing), nothing has really been sticking.
And I’ve realized it’s because baking, writing, choreographing…they don’t challenge me. They’re safe. They’re things I’ve dabbled in before.
Granted, music has always been a part of my life but in different ways. There was a short-lived stint with the viola in fourth grade, tons of choir concerts and musicals throughout middle and high school, and, of course, dance – bringing music to life through movement.
I did ask for an acoustic guitar one Christmas when I was in high school. When I got it, I was thrilled…but didn’t pick it up again until college.
At U of A, I made a valiant attempt to learn how to play my guitar. I bought a capo and everything! (Seasoned guitar players, you’re allowed to laugh at that.)
But my “guitar instructors” were always boys with ulterior motives. Thirty minutes into chord progressions, it was apparently time to make out. Eww. Yeah, I didn’t keep many of those “instructors” around for very long. So I learned a whole lot of nothing.
Now, I want to learn everything. I want to humble myself and start at square one, as scary as that is for me these days. I want to breathe stories into song lyrics. I want to have an outlet for both good and bad days. I want to perform but in a completely different way than I ever have before. I want to have drunken, midnight jam sessions with my boyfriend and Guitar Center dates on the weekends.
I’ve always talked about becoming a singer-songwriter. Now, it’s time to make good on that promise to myself.
And finding Lucille brought it all together. Just a girl and her guitar, ready to take over the world.