Dec 31st, 2007: an interesting day…couldn’t sleep the night before due to having napped in the afternoon, fighting the flu, and a brain spinning in so many directions I couldn’t turn it off or make sense of anything I was thinking. Thinking too much can get me into trouble faster than a plate of freshly baked brownies. I arrived at Kavarna with my children and my parents, who I was so glad to have there and I love them so much for being there on New Years Eve.

Kavarna is a coffeeshop/cafe in Decatur, GA that has the best ambience of all other cafe’s I’ve played in. A relaxed and comfortable atmosphere settled in the center of Historical Oakhurst amid old bungalow homes, white picket fences, and Christmas lights. Worn and peeling plaster barely covers the brick wall behind me as I’m sitting on a leather couch in the back listening to Mark Phelps playing his music. The Melinda Kingsley Band is playing soon after and due to my son not feeling well, it looks like I might not be able to listen to them who I absolutely love. I had the pleasure of speaking with Melinda K. for a bit before my set started. She was just as friendly and personable as I expected her to be. This is one of the things I have noticed from my jaunts around Atlanta and the US, musicians are some of the most amazing people I’ve met. Unique in personality, creativity, and appearance…but most that I have encountered seem to understand the need to form a sort of unspoken brotherhood/sisterhood between eachother. You can see it in the way they look you in the eye, grip your hand to shake it, or wrap their arms around you to embrace you in a hug that seems to say, “we have to stick together”. Mutual appreciation and respect is what I pick up on.

After coming down from a euphoric open mic experience in Raleigh at Crowleys of Stonehenge and the family of musicians that graced that stage, this experience just keeps that fire going. This is why I work so hard to play music in the real world. Second Life is wonderful…BUT…there IS a but…a very big BUT. Eye contact, smiles, handshakes, hugs, body language, immediate response, the lights, the sights, the smells, the instantaneous banter between listener and performer, the energy….whoa the energy…I thrive in this environment and feel most at home in a cafe or a bar surrounded by musicians and strangers.

So, does that negate the Second Life concerts and make them less relevant in some way? Of course NOT! They are an extension of the live experience…there IS banter between the musician and the audience…but you do have to wait for the response, sometimes you miss what people are meaning by what they are typing ( I perform with my eyes closed a lot and sometimes a glance at the screen causes me to pick up and read wrong what someone is saying. Anyone else ever have that issue?? huh?? anyone??)

I love Second Life performing and am incredibly greatful for the program, the avid listeners, the venues that provide cool places to play, the fellow musicians that perform inworld, the friends I have made…I wouldn’t stop playing in SL…BUT…I HAVE to play LIVE LIVE in the real world. I have too. Otherwise, I feel like I’m somehow missing something. Human vs. Avatar contact. I love hugs! I love to look people in the eyes. I love hearing voices and watching mouths move. I love watching someone’s animated body movements! (I am fairly animated when I communicate…watch out, I might accidentally clock you upside the head.)

Truly, Second Life music holds a very dear place in my heart, mind, and soul…and I love every moment that I get the opportunity to play inworld. But its moments like I have had lately that reinforce the why in why I do what I do and why I have such a passion for music making. I LOVE MY JOB!!!

Thank you to Kavarna for having me tonight, for Mark Phelps for speaking so nicely about me and for the rockin’ bluesin’ smokin’ set, for Melinda Kingsley and the rest of the band for their friendly persona’s and talent. (they are setting up right now…and i keep watching the clock. I have to be home to ring in the New Year with my “lovelies”.)

Have a blessed New Year all you who read this…don’t lose sight of your passions…run to them…embrace them…don’t let go! Follow those dreams, love the life you live and live the life you LOVE!