ShannonB - I think everyone is right there with you, even if the musical struggle of the day has different faces. How far any of us go isn't just for time to tell IMO - not exactly. It depends on getting up each and every day and sitting down to the task, and for never stopping our search to learn something... I'm speaking to me just as much as to you. And I DON'T mean that we should all have the same goal.
I think limitations are often blessings in their way. Like a person who just has one thing - a guitar. That makes me think of Steve Baughman or Michael Hedges and the skill and expression from uncounted hours spent on that one thing. I definitely agree about talent, but I also see that when I follow (Steve's) lessons, when I practice every day, for as much time as I can stand trying to master one simple hand movement - I find with joy that I CAN do what Steve does (or a reasonable version thereof) if I'm willing to put in the same kind of work that he has. I'm not saying that I'm Steve, but I do feel such joy in playing when it starts to come together a bit, and realize that the joy of it is largely because of the struggle. Writing too..
From my perspective I attempt to lead a C.H.A.R.M.E.D life, which it my personal shorthand for trying to keep up with all of the things that I'm trying to keep up with. C is for composing, and that's a task all its own. H is for health, only because I have to make it a professional goal or I won't do it. A is for artistry, and its the time that I spend just on being a better guitarist or singer, which has a direct impact on what or how I can compose. R is for recording. M is for mixing. E is for exposition - my shorthand for performing and promoting, or the time I spend helping others perform and promoting them. D is for dirty work (on a bad day) but it really stands for details, which is the book keeping and preparation and correspondence and web site and equipment maintenance and whatever. And that's not my spiritual or personal life, so trying to do all that is crazy right? And to be honest I'm still working out if that's the right list for me, of what I should be focusing on as a musician.
I meant only to emphasize that I'm REALLY serious about how if any of us is not a recordist or whatever, that it's also a gift and a kind of freedom in a way. I'm very sorry if I become an irritating broken record about any part of it. Feel free to give me a DiNozzo head slap. But I think we are meant to help each other. Whatever "Whetstone" does or doesn't do - that is the reason for the passion.
Gag, too long a post. I know that doesn't help when you're stuck though, and I know that place I think - scenery is awfully familiar anyway. So I might as well offend more...
Either of us can absolutely write some kind of song this afternoon - I don' think there any question of that. What I get caught up in is trying to write a GREAT song. And though I still have that goal, its a problem if it starts to damn things up when I sit down. I go back to Rich Mullens, who said that he never tried to write an awesome song, he just wrote songs. And kept some of them. He called himself a quilter, not a weaver meaning that he would come up with these "patches" and maybe years later sew them together. I imagine him playing with something silly driving a thunderstorm, throwing lines back and forth with Beaker, or singing it to himself like
When he rolls up his sleeves he ain't just put'n on the Ritz
our God is an awesome God
There's thunder in his footsteps and lightning in his fist
our God is an awesome God
I guess he kept that one.
Playing - child like - how else do you get a screen door on a submarine?