This week's Letter is brought to you by the Modern Jazz Quartet, another entity I have always loved but never thought to seek out further recordings of until now. The best thing about last week's post was all the suggestions I got about other guitarists to check out. If it hadn't been such a hairy week, I'd be sending out a playlist of Reader Recommendations right now, based on all the ideas I got and, in a parallel universe, would have enthusiastically checked out by now.
As it is, we've reached the point the summer when everyone in my house is pretty much over living in Texas, with its week-long streaks of 100+ Fahrenheit days and 97-degree evening walks to the dog park. The dog, for the record, appears unfazed, despite her part-Alpine heritage – supposedly her undercoat provides some insulation against the heat as well as the cold, but we haven't really been able to get a completely satisfying answer out of her about it yet. Canine input aside, summer fatigue does not mix especially well with pandemic claustrophobia and the news that school is, depending on where one attends, either continuing on virtually, starting later than usual, or both.
So my efforts to make the qualifiers for Dad Of The Year have been hampered by a local disinterest in anything remotely ensemble-oriented, like jigsaw puzzles, shuffleboard tournaments, desktop ping-pong, origami stop-motion filmmaking, cheese husbandry, panning for aluminum or any of the dozen other real and/or slightly imagined activities I've pitched to the troops over the past few weeks. Ordinarily I'd just shrug it off and do my own thing, but a couple of my own favorite preoccupations – namely, playing the guitar and shooting new lessons about same – have also been hampered for the past couple of weeks. The short version is: kids, don't climb the dog fence to reach the driveway in the mornings when there's a perfectly serviceable gate you could walk through instead.
Or if you do, proceed slowly and observe where and how your trouser leg might or might not catch as you make your way over the divide. Otherwise, you could – as I did – find yourself breaking your fall on the pavement with one of the two most important wrists used in guitar playing, and acquiring a nasty sprain in the process.
It could be worse – nothing's broken. And after a couple weeks now, I can get around a bit on the fretboard, enough to get back to designing some new course material and to muddle through my weekly online songwriting meeting. But I'm all for making sure this sucker heals the way it should, so I'm trying not to make the Miles Mistake – as the trumpeter recalled in his autobiography, it was a screaming match on the street just a few days after having throat surgery that left him with a legendary rasp for the rest of his life. If getting my left hand completely up to snuff again means laying off for the next few weeks altogether, I'm down.
That said, schemes for the new Travis Picking course are still in the works, as well as material for an introductory steady bass course. I'm also at work on a couple of more advanced courses as well, so there is always Stuff To Do. Even if there are no takers for my Cheese Husbandry project, that is.
Wherever you are, I hope you're holding up despite the weirdness all around.