Thoughts From A Train Saturday 10.30.21 NO PLAN B
Woke up early to get on the 9:10 train to Alborg. Yesterday was a diamond of a day. Easy train journey to Odense, a hotel and venue that were conveniently close to the station, and a sweet gig with a full house and fun patrons. I was in bed early for a troubadour on a Friday night and made it easily to the station on time today with a sandwich prepared from the continental breakfast buffet at the hotel.
I met a student on the platform who took a photo of me for this journal entry. We discussed current events, the Faroe Islands, and what it is like to travel at this time. As usual, with all the stimulation from traveling and absorbing new culture, there is very much on my mind right now. The news here in Denmark is that travel restrictions and quarantine may be returning because of the alarming numbers of Covid-19 that are returning. My scheduled trip to the Faroe Islands next week may be in jeopardy. I noted earlier in the first installment of Thoughts From A Train that a lot of people called me crazy for making this journey at this time. I figured since I was keeping it to one or three countries (via Spain on the way here, via Finland on the return) that I would be okay. The Finish numbers appear very bad at the moment, but I am simply taking it 24 hours at a time.
Today, I am scheduled to jam with some Danish roots musicians as we entertain people at something called the Nordic Brew Festival. Sounds like craft beers and the Blues to me, and I am looking forward to it. I have not had any alcohol in my body for nearly five years and I feel lucky today that drinking it or even thinking about it doesn’t obsess me and control my life like it used to. Of course, certain steps were taken and are still being taken to make this a reality of my life-where I am at a neutral place in regards to drugs and alcohol and their control over my thoughts and actions.
I am more concerned with the pandemic situation and have had massive thoughts about taking it very easy in 2022, which for me means only going to Ohio and Alaska, and whatever comes up without me trying to exert my will over the booking routes. I could play shows every weekend for eternity at this point, but then I would be absent for my daughter’s pre-teen times, and I have missed enough already. I am booked in Florida at the 30-A Songwriter Festival and a few other shows around that event. My daughter and her Mother, my family, many of my friends, and most of you-have heard me say over and over about how I am going to slow down with traveling. It’s just been so challenging to be a solid parent and also a road dog troubadour. The quarantine arrived to actually help me slow down. Now, with restrictions somewhat lifted, I need to figure out how to make a living while also not being on the road half of the year. During the heaviest part of the quarantine, I simply played on line for tips and applied for a few grants. My monthly Patreon earnings truly helped me to keep my head above water. Like so many people in the arts, I am under a lot of financial stress when it comes to making ends meet with art. I have committed to it, so the results are truly out of my hands. However, if I do not go on the road for at least one long weekend per month, how will I pay my bills? There has never really been a Plan B. I have played music on the streets and under roofs-some fancy, some basic, for a few decades now.
When I look at the world from a train window or as I walk down the streets of a new town and see something unique or universal, I always think of how my daughter might react if she could see what I am seeing. I felt that especially strongly at the Hans Christian Andersen museum yesterday, where there are interactive Fairy Tale displays with all the modern technology to inspire you to create your own fairy tale. I want her to absorb the history and feel of cobblestone streets built before cars existed. I want her to be with me when we go to the hotel continental breakfast and see the little jars of Nutella they provide.
I think of the documentary that Ramblin’ Jack Elliott’s daughter made about him. She basically states that her father was absent for much of her life. I do not want my daughter to have the same story. I have said this before, and I know that my words do not mean much without action, so let’s see how 2022 will really go now that I have put it down in writing. Right now, in my overactive, often restless mind of plans and schemes and ideas, I would love it if I could bring my daughter on two major trips in 2022. The first one would be Alaska, of course! The second one would be Europe. I know we will travel here together some day, and she tells me that Paris is what interests her. I lived there for a year, so I know my way around somewhat. We shall see. I mean, if you’re going to go to Paris, you’ve got to go to London too right? And then what about Dublin? Or Amsterdam, or Vienna, or…wanderlust never ends. I know that it is more important to be at home and support her there, close to her friends and family, but all these journeys I’ve made have now made it easier to provide her with some special adventures. Let us see what I can dig up for both of us in 2022.
We have arrived at the station in Aarhus. There is a bit of commotion as the train divides into two now, with the portion I am on to continue on to the North. I am in the right train car. No worries here. Maybe I’ll get into that sandwich I prepared and read a little bit of this Bolaño book I picked up in Copenhagen. There is no writer that makes me want to write like Roberto Bolaño. I wonder what his parenting advice would be. Probably to enjoy every sandwich I could, WITH my daughter. This is a combination of made up advice from two heroes of mine: Warren Zevon, the great American songwriter, and Bolaño the Chilean writer, both who died relatively young from cancer.
Okay. It’s settled.