Today, April 2, 2011 I sold my 7-course renaissance lute. Many of you may not know what that is so here's a picture:
I bought it about 1991ish from a lute maker here in Toronto, Michael Schreiner, one of his first instruments. Yes it was a student model but it wasn't cheap. It is beautiful, a spruce top, flame maple back, ebony fretboard, rosewood neck and tuning pegs. The sound was quiet, sweet and very introspective. I love Renaissance music and found a couple of singers that blended with my little lute and it sounded like running your hands across satin. Mostly I played for myself but I had the pleasure of studying for just a short time with Jakob Lindberg from England.
Why did I sell it? I have serious repetitive strain injuries and can't play guitar or lute anymore (that's why cooking was a good artistic substitute for me). So what is this post about? Retrospective. When I posted my ad for the lute online (not expecting to get one offer) I initially was thinking about the money, then as the day wore on and I received several offers within a couple hours of placing the ad I started remembering my time as a musician.
It's funny how a lot of songs, and sayings say to look ahead to the future, forget the past and I think sometimes we forget what we have actually accomplished in our lives. I have been on planet Earth for just shy of 40 years and I have had the pleasure of eating ice cream with my dad and sister while tied up to the government dock in Port Bruce catching fireflies and sleeping on the boat. I have had the pleasure of being chased by the herd of cows at my stepdad's farm and being chastized by Grandpa Quick for giving the heard that little work out (apparently not good for beef production). I remember my first professional guitar, I remember the amazing fun times at Mohawk College as a music student. Those fun dinners with my Aunt and Uncle and cousins when I lived with them. The time my grandma picked me up from the bus station in downtown Hamilton and hopping a fence in her granny mumu because she was too lazy to walk around. The time I had a radio program on McMaster College Radio and kept forgetting to turn the mic off and some of the swear words I would get in trouble for.
The time I drove to Albany, New York for a concert. The guitar competition in Buffalo where a member of the audience ended selling me the most beautiful sounding guitar I ever owned. Then meeting Paul, no reason but to play gigs at Starbucks and Chapters at first, then pointing out that parking spot in front of my apartment one night...
The joys of finding new guitar music and being able to take what is on the page and make it into something beautiful and being able to share it with others.
I remember when I had to make the decision to give up playing for good - the tears, the sadness, I remember when we had the privilege of buying the boat and now making new memories with my boating friends and my chef friends.
Think back on your own lives - I realize how much I have done and really how many opportunities I made for myself, rich and poor - and I'm looking forward to doing much more!
If you are curious about lutes and interesting guitars, check out Michael Schreiner's website or Paul Saunder's website (he fixed all my guitars over the years):