What a journey this has been!
I decided in early 2011 that I would write songs and make an album. Since then I have released two albums and performed at venues throughout Chicago, had radio airplay, attended Folk Alliance conferences, and am continuing to write almost daily. I've made lots of new music friends who are among the smartest and most genuine people I've met. I aimed high, threw myself into the fire, and ended up doing things never imagined I would have the courage to do -- conquering fears, or at least facing them. A level of courage I truly didn't know I had.
I started out 2012 with my right ear full of packing material, and spent three months not being able to hear much of anything because of recovering from a tympanoplasty (they replaced my broken right ear drum with skin from behind my ear). In the midst of that my wife's father passed away (one of my favorite people in the universe and a great inspiration to me). I struggled to overcome some more health issues late in the year...these personal tribulations and others like them required resilience and strength I didn't know I had.
Obviously we've all been suffering through the emotional toll of the election, and major news events in our communities -- most recently the devastating losses in Newtown, CT, and hurricanes hitting the northeast. On top of that, I've been reading Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow -- an amazing and perspective-shifting book for me that brings an even bigger sense of "we must do something about this" to another issue which affects us all (the war on drugs/mass incarceration/the U.S. "Justice" system). These are burden we all share, but I didn't begin to even comprehend how heavy this load would get.
So to summarize 2012, I've been skipping down the yellow brick road thinking I cannot do this -- I couldn't keep it together, and have the brains, the heart and the courage to make it through all of what I faced. But here I am...road weary...but I've made it through, with so many things to celebrate. My son's amazing achievements in his pursuit of the violin, my wife's brilliant work in writing and assistant directing a show at Second City. My dog surviving bladder surgery and continuing to be an awesome little best friend. So many hidden triumphs and victories, these and others all worth celebrating.
I've had several amazing side quests and adventures along the way, so by no means has it been a constantly difficult year, but I'm ready to take my heart on a chain, my badge of courage, my diploma of brains, and perhaps even some ruby red slippers (or just new boots), and face 2013 with greater confidence that I can do this.
And of course create more music!