A New Challenge

Something finally bit me in the rear to spur me to action. Yesterday, when looking for something to do to occupy my time, time not being spent reading or writing, I opted to pick up and start over on something I’ve tried many years before only getting to a modicum of success.

Over 15 years ago I spent nearly $2000 on an acoustic Taylor guitar. Back then I was fairly serious about learning. And I was getting competent. Not good, just competent. Unfortunately, because life (and because I had no goals associated with the learning), I walked away from it, unsure if one day I would try again.

That day was yesterday. I opened the case, checked the condition of the strings (still good, not rusted or warped — surprisingly), tuned it, and went at it. I started with simple finger exercises to restrengthen my fingers and to stretch them as well. These exercises also help to get my used to the positioning of the frets and where my hand needs to be when picking the strings. Then when my wrist and fingers felt like they were on fire, I stopped, only to pick it up an hour later to try again. That time, I started to refresh myself on the base major chords, A, C, D, E, and G (and a few others like the minors), and I ran through the finger exercise again. (Given that my hands are actually deformed, this is very important.) Once my hand was sufficiently tortured, I wiped the guitar down and put it away.

It’s only day 1. And I know that I will have an extensive learning period again before getting even to the skill I was at long ago. I am never going to be a phenom, nor do I expect to be. I do expect to learn to play competently enough to have fun and for it to be a challenge. Eventually, when I feel confident enough to form chords and perform some basic chords without my hand falling off, I’ll start to investigate some YouTube lessons, and maybe even find a teacher at some point. Maybe I’ll learn a handful of songs too.

It’s not writing, but it is something creative. And a challenge. 15 minutes to an hour a day at best is what I expect to spend on it. My cautions are always to do something that doesn’t interfere with my writing. It will be up to me to ensure that it doesn’t… without letting this new routine fall either.

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