Spring Update!

Every time I write a blog post I think “wow, how has so much time passed since my last blog?” and this time is no exception! Suddenly it is the beginning of May and I am looking ahead to the summer, along with taking stock of what this last year of my life has been.  

This time last year, I was feeling all the feels as I had just gone through a break-up and was in the midst of making a massive decision about my job. I ended up leaving the school I had taught at for 17 years, which was so difficult.

Though there are still almost two months left in this school year, I am definitely feeling reflective. This year has honestly been great!  I have absolutely loved the flexibility of substitute teaching, along with the increased mental energy. Even on the toughest sub days, there isn't mental weight like there is when in a contract position. I can be fully present while in a classroom, bringing students the best of my expertise and passion, and then I can walk out at the end of the day and do…well, whatever I want. I have lots more I could say about that part of life, and perhaps I will in another post. But now let's talk about the “whatever I want” part, because that part hasn't necessarily gone how I thought it would (shocker). 

I guess I thought (and it seems so did everyone else…) that I would just write a million songs and play a thousand shows and just put every ounce of energy into being a musician. Turns out that I didn't actually have many ounces of energy. What I had, I chose to put into resting, healing, and unravelling many years of stress and pushing myself way more than I ever needed to (personally, professionally, relationally, and all the other ways). I have slept more in the last 8 months than my whole adult life combined (that's definitely not true, but that's how it feels). I have done a lot of journaling and therapy. I have taken life so slow, sometimes it has felt like I've been going backwards. I suppose in some ways I have (but I mean that in a good way). I really needed it. I deserved to take care of myself all those years, I just...didn't. 

So, I certainly didn't just jump right into songwriting mode.  In fact, it felt easier (and safer, somehow) to focus on other creative outlets more. You may know that I have been making and selling polymer clay earrings and other stuff for a couple years now. Without the pressures of contract teaching, I have done way more of this, selling my wares in 13 local markets over the last 10 months (with many more coming up!). I have always needed multiple creative outlets to keep the crazy at bay. I have totally fallen in love with this type of creating and really enjoy connecting with people at markets. Making all my quirky, strange little things brings me joy and seeing them bring others joy is so rewarding. I definitely plan to continue this and hopefully expand. Check out https://www.instagram.com/maebirdhandmade/

Now. Musicianing. For many months I felt song ideas bubbling up and let them spill out onto sticky notes and notebook pages and texts to myself so I wouldn't forget them. But it really hasn't been until the last few months that I started weaving them together, or letting them weave themselves together. This has very much been my process as a songwriter; I have a long gathering period where I'm not really writing, but I'm not not writing either. Then something will click into place and ideas will start to connect. That's usually when I sit down at the piano and start trying to make something. Some songs come together relatively quickly once I get to this stage. Others take FOREVER. 

What I am finding right now is that I am going back to ideas that I had years earlier but couldn't quite turn into anything. Maybe it just wasn't the right time before. I recently finished a song that I started at least 15 years ago. I certainly didn't work on it consistently in that time, but every few years I would dust it off and try to take the core idea (the lyrics and melody, kind of) and build onto it. I just couldn't get it right, so I would set it aside again. I remember making some actual progress last summer as I was driving to Kimberley on my summer tour. I had lyrics for a verse come together in my mind and I actually said them out loud over and over until I found a spot to pull over on the highway to safely write it down. 

All these little bits and pieces had to be wrestled into a song that worked and that I felt good about. I think I have done that, and now I have moved on to other songs. I am starting to see a picture of my next project(s), which is very exciting. I have no idea of a timeline for recording or releasing, but it is good to feel like a songwriter again. 

Speaking of summer… I don't necessarily know what it will look like this year. I'm so very okay with that. I am not going on another tour like last year. I have a couple music events planned and may add a couple more. But not the 13 shows I had last year. I'm learning to live life with a looser grip, letting my hand unclench after a lifetime of feeling like I had to hold tightly and try to control everything. I'm working on being more spontaneous in little ways; maybe that will help me to be more spontaneous in big ways, too. 

Reach out if you have thoughts or ideas, or just to say hello!

Much love, 

Sara-Mae 💚

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