I can’t play “Blackbird” on the guitar. 

It’s not like it’s the hardest song ever written, or anything.  It’s just that it’s outside of my ability.  Close enough that someday I might be able to do it, but far enough that it will require some serious attention. 

Therefore, it’s the only thing I’ve decided to accomplish while I’m unemployed.  Other than, you know, finding another job.  And so: I play it for a few minutes a day, note by note, straining through guitar tabs I bookmarked on my computer ages ago. I’ve tried to learn this song before.  I’ve never persevered until I learned it, but then, I haven’t had much free time.   

I can play the first measure like I’m an actual Beatle.  The second measure I mostly nail, but always miss the landing on the 10/12 fret chord.  It would be embarrassing, but the only person who hears it is Fletch, and he usually sleeps through it. He’s also stopped howling at the guitar.  I think that’s supportive.  So I miss the chord, back it up and try it again, underestimate the distance, look carefully, and work through it.

The rest of the song I can get through, very laboriously, but it’s not like it’s impossible.    It’s not something I would make anyone other than the sleeping dog sit through yet.  It’s work, but then, I’ve done far less pleasant work.

I know that most of it is repetition, playing the same transitions over and over again until muscle memory takes over and it becomes automatic.  This particular song is all up and down the length of the neck, though.  For those of us who have played the guitar for decades but never gotten past the same eight or ten chords everybody knows, venturing all the way down to the 10/12 frets is a reach.  My hands aren’t quite big enough for some of the stretches.  More correctly, they are, but I’ve never put them in quite those positions before, so it feels weird every time.

I’m pretty patient with myself.  I’m suspecting I have some time.  Architecture is a little busier than it was a few years ago when I was looking for a job right out of grad school, but it’s not the most active field for job hunters.  I’m hoping I have a little time, but not vast, unproductive, financially barren stretches of time.  Things will work out as they should, change is good, yeah yeah yeah. 

Meanwhile, I did this:


Those are itty bitty sticky notes on my guitar.  Because I finally had to admit I can not land that 10/12 fret chord, and some of the chords in the middle, without some help.  A little scaffolding.  A little support.  It’s just sticky notes; it’s not like I carved them into the wood or anything.  But right now, any signpost is a good signpost.  Anything that shows me the way forward when I feel like I’m flailing is worth the effort.  Anything that boosts my confidence is worth the investment.  (Also why I just bought a white fringe blouse, and take the time to spiral curl my hair whenever the heck I feel like it these days. 142 people applied for the job for which I interviewed today.  This could take a while, and curls are free, people.)

Plodding along and finding my way in halting notes and baby steps.  Tonight I played the first verse without looking.  Someday it’ll sound beautiful?  


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