So much of my life is about this gradual loss, this slow dying. So much is out of my control. So little of what happens to me is chosen by me. I think I am going to choose to quit singing now. I know many will try to talk me out of it. I know none of us want to believe that what will happen to me is going to happen. But I believe it. I feel the changes every day and I can't ignore them. That's why I want to walk away from singing with the memory of a good gig and on my own terms. i want my last show to have been with David Rokeach, Jon Evans and John R Burr. There can be no substitutes for them and I've been on a lucky roll having them available, that has to end sometime.
I kept saying to myself at Yoshi's "just be here, Carla" and I was. I basked in it. I felt the warm golden glow of the lights, I thrilled when the band locked into a groove, I was moved by how many former students - some going back more than ten years - were in the audience. I gobbled up Jon's virtuosity and utter commitment on Big Yellow Taxi and I was moved by his songlike solo on I'll be seeing you, I was in awe of David's amazing groove and his passion in executing it and the way his kick drum lands in the perfect spot every fucking time and how it sounds so rich, powerful and resonant. I was grateful for his smile when we did our little duet . John R.'s remarkable versatility was killing me. From his chop-laden solo on The Way You Look Tonight to his bouncy stride on Smile to his unabashedly beautiful solo on Circle Game, he slayed me. I basked in it. The love from the audience poured over me. At one point i thought I couldn't go on and I saw Jay in the audience - someone I only just met from this blog - and I knew I would be okay. I felt bathed in love and I was right there and it was all so beautiful I could barely muster up a good joke all night.
As John R. carried me off stage I realized it was probably the last time and I lost it. It was a momentous night in my life.
It is a rare privilege to get to perform for people - to make them laugh and cry. Except for friends, family and my beautiful boy, nothing has made me happier. I didn't have a choice when I had to quit performing Wedding Singer Blues and I truly thought "dying can't be half as bad as this". If I choose when to stop singing, at least I'll have some control.
My voice used to soar. I felt like I was taking flight when I sang. Now it's all I can do to get the notes out. I know I sound okay but it breaks my heart to remember how I used to sound and know that's no longer possible. It's hard to explain.
It's so hard for us to let go of who we were, what we had and what we dreamt we would be. I wanted to "make it" as a performer, to find "the one" and live happily ever after and of course to watch my son get married and have kids that I could swear in front of. None of that is going to happen for me and yet I feel like a success. Go figure.
I will of course sing now and then - a tune here or there while I can- but I pray I can have the strength to be like those Buddhist Monks destroying the elaborate sand mandalas they just completed. I imagine them hiking up their robes, joyfully kicking up sand and laughing.