Today I told my landlords that I would be moving out in May.
"My plans have changed," I said. "I'll be moving everything back to my parent's house."
My original plan had been to stay in this tiny town and look for a job in the Portland area. It seemed like a good idea at first, but it was merely a way to buy time for myself while I figure out my life. Truth is, there's really no reason to stay in a college town if you're not going to college. So after I graduate, I need to get out of here.
I need to travel. I need to make music.
It's strange how abruptly this epiphany hit me. Usually when I make decisions, it's over time and the answer is never really that clear. But this - this was like catching the bubonic plague or being slammed by a semi-truck or something.
I guess it started Saturday night.
Ryan and I took a band field trip to attend lesbian fest 2010 at the Backspace cafe in Portland. Oops, did I really just write "lesbian fest 2010"? I meant to write "a Kimya Dawson concert." Freudian slip. Anyway, it was one of those sit-cross-legged-on-the-floor-and-be-mesmerized-by-every-song type of shows.
There's Kimya and her guitar. I took this picture from my spot on the floor behind some woman (I think it was a woman...) with really intense hair. This hair is not hard to miss, especially considering it takes up about a fourth of the photograph.
I hadn't listened to a ton of Kimya's stuff before the concert. I knew all of her cutesy songs from "Juno" and a couple of tracks from her myspace page, but I wasn't fully aware of how honest and beautiful her music is. She plays the kind of music that reminds me why I love music so much. It's simple, raw, unfiltered, and makes me want to be a better person. I think I was grinning through the whole show because her songs were so refreshing. She sang about everything from love and death to giants and lemmings. And she kept coming back to this one theme: making music is what she has to do to be happy.
If you weren't there, it probably sounds like a load of hippy weirdness, but it totally inspired me. I even emailed her to tell her how much I enjoyed the show. I have not heard back yet, but she strikes me as the type of girl that doesn't check her email very often.
Ryan and I ran into one of our old drummers at the show. We seem to have a Spinal Tap-esque curse when it comes to drummers. When we finally find one, we have a difficult time keeping them around. This drummer was probably the best drummer we've had, but he only played a couple of shows with us because he was headed off to Tennessee for a bit. Hadn't seen him since we played Ash Street with him in July. But there he was, wearing his round black glasses and waiting for the world's most indie folk concert to start. He seemed happy to see us. We told him how we were about to graduate and get sucked in by the corporate world though we wanted to be rock stars. He told us that we rock and that if we want to do music, we should just get our name out there. It was cool hearing that from someone a bit older that I consider to be a pretty good musician.
We left the concert feeling inspired to write music and play music. But on Monday, we could only do one thing: go to class.
My first class of the morning is a memoir writing class. I'm taking it as an elective and I really like it, but I hate waking up before 10. I dragged my rock star butt to class though, just in time for Schtick Lit day.
Schtick Lit is that new(ish) genre of nonfiction memoir in which the author sets up some sort of experiment to undertake or manufactures some unique experience. Examples include that guy that washed dishes in every state and that liberal kid that went to Liberty University for a semester. The prof asked us to write about what we would do if we were to embark on a schticky style memoir. I sat there thinking, Dude, it would be so cool if I could just blow off my life to travel across the country and write about something in a way no one has before. The class was over before I could make these thoughts any less vague, however. It was time for work.
There was a new sign hanging up on the door in the office that said something along the lines of "If you knew your life was about to end, how would you live differently?" I clocked in just in time to hear my coworkers discussing it. "I don't think I'd change anything," they said. "I like the way my life is."
I stared at the sign, then at my coworkers. I realized that if my life was about to end tomorrow, I would change so many things. So what does that mean? I didn't want to think about it. I grabbed some copies that needed to be done and headed downstairs to the copy machine.
It was at the copy machine that I ran into one of my favourite literature profesors (I'm a work study student in the writing/literature office). I greeted him enthusiastically and we proceeded to have the conversation that made me realize this town is too small. I trudged back up the stairs with copies in my hand and a million thoughts in my brain. I can't stay here for the summer. This town's too small. This state is too small. For being such a big world, it's getting too small where I'm at. I need to go on an adventure.
I sat by Ryan in physics and expressed these thoughts to him on our ritual post-physics walk to the mail room. The mail check turned into coffee and two hours later, we were hooked on the idea of a rock tour.
It's a crazy idea, but the more I think about it, the more it just makes sense. The more I can't get it out of my head.
I don't remember the last time I was this excited about something.