On Saturday, I saw Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn at the Avalon in Grand Junction, and aside from the astounding sounds coming from the banjo-laden stage, Fleck said something that has stuck with me all week.
The husband-and-wife duo asked the audience who played banjo in the clawhammer style (a meek clap here and there), who played in the three-finger style (a slightly more enthusiastic response) and who did not play banjo at all (most hands jutted into the air).
“Well, why?” Fleck asked. “Why don’t you play the banjo?”
What a simple question, I thought, and what a wonderfully concise way to live my life.
I grew up very carefully. I wouldn’t say I really missed out on anything too worthwhile, but there are certain things that struck me as nearly impossible. For instance, I didn’t get on a plane until I was a sophomore in college, and that first experience in O’Hare seemed like a maze (one full of grumpy, intimidating TSA agents). I went to a community college 20 minutes from my house and a four-year university about an hour away from home, where I returned every weekend to work a part-time job and drop my laundry off with my mother (God bless her).
I don’t regret those choices in the slightest because it’s what made the best financial sense, and I got a good education. But when I decided to run off to Syracuse for a master’s degree, it felt like I was doing something nobody had ever done before, something amazing, something dangerous, something daring.
Then I met friends who had come to Syracuse from China, India and Taiwan, and I felt rather silly for being so proud of my migration from northern Illinois.
That year away from home completely changed my outlook, though. Where before I could come up with a laundry list of excuses not to do something out of my comfort zone, I suddenly found myself asking, “Why not?”
“Why not?” shouldn’t just apply to the big moves in our lives, though. It should apply to everything we’ve ever wanted. You want to play the banjo? Do it. Why not?
Sometimes your answer to “Why not?” is going to have some very compelling reasons: money and time being the most universal, I’m guessing. But sometimes you’re going to come up from that question empty-handed. That’s when you dive in.
Maybe I’ll start saving up for a banjo. Why not?
Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park presents Friday Afternoon Club on the Mountain, a weekly event through Feb. 27 featuring live music, food and drink specials and a free tram ride with the ad printed or shown from their website. Live music starts at 5 p.m., and the staff spins a wheel every half hour to determine the drink special. The park’s Winter on the Mountain light display is still in full swing through March 1, so don’t miss your chance to experience the winter wonderland with a few added Friday perks.
This is the last day to see work by painter and sculptor Bayard Hollins at the Wyly Art Center in Basalt. The center is open from noon to 6 p.m. Don’t miss your opportunity to see work by this internationally exhibited and collected artist right here in the valley.
Have you ever wanted to write your own play, or maybe you already have, and you just want some pointers for next time? Theater Masters is offering a free play writing workshop, The Art of the 10-Minute Play, at 10 a.m. at the Aspen Square Hotel. The workshop will be led by award-winning writer and actress Naomi McDougall Jones. You’ll learn the basics of short-form play writing, and you’ll complete a 10-minute play during the class. Anyone 16 and older is welcome, and no prior theater or writing experience is necessary. Although the workshop is free, you must register in advance. To do so, email your full name to email@example.com or call 970-618-5219.
Jessica Cabe thinks clawhammer looks cooler, so maybe that’s what she’ll learn. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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