Friday, October 03, 2008


I was listening to Johnny Winter’s first album again the other day. As an ex-guitarist I still found my fingers ripping off the notes on an imaginary fret board in the air. It made me realize why I gave up playing in the first place. I’m simply not nimble enough to play. Though I had no resistance from any strings and I didn’t have to make my left hand comply with the plucking of the right hand; I still couldn’t keep up. I never developed the speed required to be a good guitarist.

I remember when I was in my early 20s and I thought I was pretty good, and then I met a guy we called “The Wild Man.” He was amazing and was able to play chords, notes and arpeggio all while sympathetic strings hummed along behind a walking base line. It was like the bastard had four left hands going up and down the fret board all at once.

Now before any of you start lecturing me by saying that if I had the commitment and practiced I would have been able to achieve that sort of mastery, let me say that you are wrong. This 15 year old obviously sold his soul for that sort of talent.

Thinking back to now, there are very few things in life that I’ve actually been nimble at. Music, art, physical activity; though I was a good cyclist as far as speed and endurance. I’ve never been good at shuffling cards or tying knots. Dance…yeah right.

So if you are particularly good at something, please realize that you have a gift. Out of all the talents I suspect I might have, the only one I’m absolutely sure of is that I can make some mean zucchini bread and I’m OK with that. We take the gifts we are given.


Blogger darev2005 said...

You have a rare talent to use words to touch people. Nimble fingers or no, if you were typing with your nose you could still brighten (and/or darken, your choice) peoples lives every day. I've always been jealous of people with musical talent. I can't even play a harmonica without hurting myself or someone else.

4:23 AM  
Blogger Donna said...

I like this entry. Sad to say, I seem to only excel at being mediocre. Gee, that sounds like a pity party, but it isn't. I enjoy life! Is that a talent?

4:26 AM  
Blogger loopymamain06 said...

this weekend hubby and I are going to see my old high school friend "howard Glazer" play his blues locally...his major influence was "Johnny Winter"
you can google his name but I'll also post his links on my blog. weird how I was thinking johnny winter this a.m.
da loopymama

5:30 AM  
Anonymous Matt said...

Great post... I'm a clumsy guitarist myself. I never was good, but that didn't stop me from playing in bands in college. I had a bad experience recently -- my best friend asked me to play guitar at his wedding (nightmare!). I started playing at my house, getting the guitar out at parties, eventually muddled through a few 90s grunge rock songs and a bastardization of the wedding march.

7:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My nimble-fingered son has been giving his 50-something dad guitar since the end of summer. Both heartwarming and humorous to hear my husband laboring away at Ode to Joy on a 3/4 size starter instrument while our 12-year-old fills the house with amazing sounds from my husband's era on the used 'dream' guitar he picked at Thiels this past year with his life savings.

8:56 AM  
Blogger weese said...

I have broad brushed skills in many areas - but excel at none. I was an art major, I have played a variety of musical instruments, I am mechanically inclined, I can cook well enought to survive (and not kill the kids), I can mend my clothes, I can clean like the dickens...alas I still throw like a girl.

9:45 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

It seems that we are all gifted underachievers.

6:19 AM  
Anonymous dalia said...

see, now... i was a horrible piano student. eight years and i still couldn't read music. i played entirely by ear, which is considered "cheating" by conservatory standards.

after all that time playing, i simply had to concede that i'm not that good a musician... my other talents lie in the kitchen. i make a wicked banana bread, and my crepes are to die for. failing that, i'm cute, i'm funny, and gosh darn it, people like me!

8:56 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Yeah, I like you, too, D. And the photo of the back of your head is cute as well.

3:19 PM  

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