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Saturday, May 22, 2010

My Grand Plan

Over the past few years I've simultaneously balanced (or imbalanced) my musical life through several bands, and by researching and writing about musicians from days gone by.

I've known for several years now that I'm at a crossroads in my life; now that I've achieved some stability for myself, I need to make a shift from what I DO do to what I WANT to do. Does that make sense? In a nutshell, I am a musician, music buff and music historian who works at a deliciously cubicle-y day job in Clinical Research.

Luckily, my educational level hasn't seemed to matter much up to this point, as I have been chasing some of these scholastic pursuits and been published numerous times. But the way I see it, it can only go on like that up to a point. I mean, who wants their biography written by someone who doesn't even have an Associates' Degree? I cannot be taken seriously as a historian unless I have the academic creds to back it up. And naturally, I know very little compared to what I need to know... I must learn about it in more depth, not just from Half-Price Books, 'zines and liner notes.

Did I mention I'm also a total academic nerd who loves writing papers, school, deadlines, and all that schtuff?

After my father died in 1997, I wanted to take a break from school and I found myself with my first band. It felt so right, although I was really scared of the possibilities. After some fits and starts, I finally found the group that got me some recognition (The Casey Sisters) and creative satisfaction, and I started to really get on a roll. And then when Swedish record labels came a-knockin,' it was like...forget school! Why not move to Austin, get a record deal, make some albums, play a bunch of festivals and tours in Europe? School will still be there when I get back.

And there I stayed for ten years.

One day about a year and a half ago, I found myself on the website for the Center for Texas Music History (CTMH) at Texas State University - San Marcos. I sat, idly clicking and wishful thinking...until I saw on the webpage that one of my gal pals, a super musician, was listed the Director of Programs for CTMH at TSU-San Marcos. I mean, I hadn't seen her in a while, but DAMN! She had my dream job! I literally got goosebumps and FELT my life change at that moment (even though my butt was sore from sitting in my stupid computer chair).

I wasted no time in contacting her, and we met up soon after. We had a glass of wine and I showed her a few of my writings and told her what I wanted to do with my life, and how I hoped to make the transition. Lo and behold, she got tears in her eyes, said how amazed she was by my interest, and promptly gave me a writing assignment to be published on her website. Ever since she's been my mentor and my cheerleader. I love her.

I've now started planning my education in great detail. While taking core courses at ACC and working full time, I've been planning for a transfer to Texas State in the fall of 2010. My goal is clear: B.A in History, M.A. in Public History. Oh, how I thrill at the thought of taking an Archiving class, or a class on the history of country music, or a class on how to research and write historically-oriented publications. We're talking drooling here.

What were previously my attempts to FEEL like a scholar are now slowly being realized. Rather than just writing for 'zines, I'm now a writer for Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), which is bona fide and has been around since eighteen ninety-fucking-seven. I'm ready!

Once of my articles is about to be posted on TSHA Online; it's about Ronnie Dawson and is the article my friend assigned me last year. The TSHA editor then asked if I would write on another group...and there are more to follow, or so she told me on the phone the other day. What? You got it, lady! So now I'm researching The Levee Singers.

Later on will come some information on a cool idea I had that my mentor says will get me on all the documentaries as a "talking head." Who doesn't want to be a Talking Head? I mean, even David Byrne and Tina Weymouth wanted to at some point. Haha.

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