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Opportunity

I should be writing. I should be marketing my book. I should be blogging. I should be . . . (fill in the blank). Lately, I’m always finding an excuse not to be disciplined in my writing life. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed with all that is needed to sustain a productive writing career, so I avoid it all. I focus on other things that are easily attained or maintained.

For example, this week I went with my family to the Faye Inn, a tavern in Fayetteville, Illinois. The smell of beer wafts over me as I step inside onto the worn wooden floor. Two long tables hold an already anxious crowd of mostly seniors, and a younger pack clusters at the bar, their elbows propped, hands gripping their longnecks. My family claims the last vacant table while dad and I unpack our instruments and set up in the corner under the muted, flat-screen TV.

Soon, dad and I are joined by the other Tuesday-night musicians and the jam session is underway. Twelve-string and six-string guitars, an accordion, a fiddle, and two banjos rouse the crowd. The microphone passes from musician to musician, each choosing his or her favorite song to sing with the throw-together band accompanying. Even audience members play along on spoons and a tambourine.

I don’t know many of the bluegrass songs the band plays, but I follow along on my guitar. Dad, playing his banjo, and I play country tunes when our turns come around. I get a big round of applause for playing “Ya’ll Come Back Saloon,” and Dad, age eighty-four, gets accolades for “Make the World Go Away.”

The evening passes quickly, my guilt about not writing drowned out by the music. Putting fun into my writing week was a boost to my spirit, might even make me a Tuesday-night musician at the “Ya’ll Come Back Saloon.” While I was forgetting about writing, Mom worked the crowd and sold two of my books. Focus and opportunity are always at hand.

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