I am a Garth Brooks fan. In my humble opinion, he’s never done a bad song, and most of them are great.
One song of his that I particularly like is called “Your Song,” and it applies to this blog.
In the song, Garth is singing to his audience, directly. He tells them that every time he gets up on stage, he’s apprehensive and wants to do his best for us, his audience. Because in his view, it’s the audience that gives him the courage to get up on that stage and do his best every time.
I play guitar and sing and am in a band, so I know a tiny bit about entertaining, and I’ll tell you anyone who thinks it’s easy is mistaken.
First, there’s the practice. To really learn a song or routine, you have to practice until it hurts.
After you’ve done a song a few hundred times, it get easier, but even then when you get in front of an audience you always have the fear of drawing a blank, forgetting the words … well, that’s a fear I have anyway.
Professionals don’t worry so much about that because it’s their business to practice until it hurts and if they’re making lots of money doing it, they have the time to do it.
Then there’s the energy it takes to entertain. It takes a great deal of energy to get in front of an audience for one, two or more hours and keep them entertained. That’s why you see so many entertainers sweating: hot lights, high energy, lots of sweating.
And that energy has to be there every time you step on stage. Had a bad day? Not feeling well? Too bad, when you step on stage you’d better leave your troubles at the curtain, because people are there to see you, to have you take their worries away. They want you to divert them from their problems, so you’d better not carry yours on stage with you.
Then there’s the set-up and take-down of equipment. If you’re Garth Brooks or one of the other biggees, you don’t worry about that because you have roadies. But most of us have to tote all the gear in, set it up, test it, do the gig, then unhook, re-pack all the gear and back load it. Not a bunch of fun after expending all that energy entertaining.
So, how does all this apply to this blog? Well, the same type of preparation is required for every blog, every column.
First you have to come up with a topic, and there are days when you’re distracted by life and ideas just don’t come.
Then, once you have an idea, you have to develop it so it makes some sort of sense to someone else and not just to yourself.
And there’s the grunt work of making sure sentence structure, punctuation, spelling, etc., are good to go, so the editor doesn’t read it and think a functional illiterate sent it in. Then there are times, like this week, when I was out of town and didn’t have an email connection so had to stop at a Starbucks on the road to send it in (late ☹).
As far as I’m concerned, my job here is to try and create something that will bring you a smidgen of joy on Friday morning. My goal is to entertain and take your mind off the struggles of the day, even if for just a moment or two.
If I can make you smile, or chuckle, or nod your head and say ‘Yeah, I know what he means,’ then I have fulfilled my mission.
On a good day, if I can get readers to respond in some way, then I have gone above and beyond my mission. If I can get you, the reader, to take a moment or two to type out a comment in response to my thoughts, I have exceeded my expectations.
Over the months that I have done this blog, I have been encouraged time after time by the thoughts and comments you, the reader, have made. You can’t imagine how good it makes me feel.
It’s like I can say, “Hey, there’s somebody out there and something I wrote encouraged them to respond.” For me, it’s like the lighters and waved ladies undergarments that Garth gets … well, OK, not exactly like that, but good nonetheless.
So, on this Friday, October 7, 2011, I’d just like to say thanks to all of you who read and respond to this column. And I’d like to hear from you. I’d like to know what’s important to you.
Because it’s your blog.
Randy Gaddo, a retired Marine, is a regular contributor to PRB and lives in Peachtree City, Ga. Contact him at (678) 350-8642 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.