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December 2004

A journey of 1000 miles begins with a single traffic jam. 95 South, DC to Florida, the worst possible direction on the worst possible travel day, the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Just one scheduled gig, but a list of handyman/home repair jobs stretch out like this line of stopped cars before me, to the limit of sight.

Photo: Susan Moss' House Concert

Just one gig, but man, what a gig, the last Heart's Desire Concert, a venue level barely dreamed of 1000 days before. Susan Moss, who has fed and watered my seedling music since an early songswap, who introduced me to Laurie Oudin at Main Street Cafe before my first open-mic there, who told me she liked my songs so much I should leave town.

In the language and symbols of Ancient Greece and of signing apes, it is the past that lies before you, the future behind you, rushing in unseen. 1000 days to Heart's Desire, the fits and starts and stops and caroms of them, stretch before me as well, strung now into a ragged circle, Susan Moss saying it's time to come back.

Traffic thins, eventually, and I make it to FL in record time (longest), and set to the punchout list of repairs. I actually enjoy fixing things, finding elegant solutions to sticky problems. It is quiet and reflective, good for writing, so different from performing, the balance of the two activities good for me. I don't have to do either exclusively, which helps me do both.

Despite my nervousness the concert goes fine, again no set list, discovering the next song along with the audience, Elizabeth in great tone. I am startled out of rhythm when the assembled begins to sing the chorus of Jesus, Inc. The hot tub after, a night in the Oz shrine, followed by the most pleasant day of doing nothing I've had in memory. Back porch talks of books and music and soccer games and performers and songs and of work, the philosophy of promoting.

Although gigs keep coming in, we have resisted promotion for awhile now, trying to focus on the missing parts of the package. I think shaping the music career is a bit like making Thanksgiving dinner. All the dishes need their individual preparations, and all need to be cooked in the right sequence, to come finished and ready at the same time.

The CD, the website, the songs and performance skills, the venues played, the bio, the press kit, all need to be on the table when the venue sits down at your electronic table.

For us, for now, the list of venues played is simmering nicely on the stovetop, a new batch of songs browning to a crisp in the oven. But the press kit remains undercooked, the website in a tupperware bowl in the fridge, and The Real CD is raw, still thawing on the counter.

We do have one new LIVE collection out, Not The Real CD at a Not The Real CD price ($10), performances from this past year with some new songs and special guests. (Chris Chandler, David Roe, Kort and Beth McCumber, Ellen Bukstel, Jordan Cherkinski).

Look for it in that tupperware bowl.