I decided to take a picture of my guitar on Sunday after the service. It’s been with me 18 years. It’s a Tanglewood Odyssey, with a rounded, shallow back which I am used to cradling against me. (In fact, give me a more traditionally shaped guitar and I find it hard to play – it comes less naturally; mine sits so close.)
It’s called upon for use in church services, mainly, although it has accompanied me through some difficult times, when I bled myself into song, letting the chords play me until I hit the right note for my distress or joy.
I don’t do much songwriting these days, but I doubt I’ve written my last song.
It’s been part of growing in confidence, a cautious strumming along, one sound among others in a band or music group (of varying abilities, at various times and places) … to the lone instrument accompanying my voice. Now when I stand up with my guitar in my arms I feel relaxed; tired, sometimes, at other times aware of that ‘difficult bit’ I need to remember how to do…I have to leave that behind and play, especially if I am leading others.
I know my musical theory is dubious; I’m caught somewhere between those who can play by ear and those who diligently follow the music. I’m accustomed to covering up my mistakes or departing from what I’ve got in front of me if it feels right.
As objects go, it’s one of my special ones, mainly because of all the associations I carry with it. And it is rather beautiful, in my opinion…
It’s also been the subject of many hole-y guitar jokes over the years, so if you were thinking of saying it…I’m afraid you are not at all original!
I don’t play it enough, but it’s stayed with me and is there when I need it, sitting on its stand, waiting to make music.