Being better

Anyone who’s been following my recent posts knows that I’ve been shedding my skin. In fact, thinking about it now, I realize I’ve been writing about being in the midst of a big transition for probably a year or more.

So it hardly makes sense at this point to consider any new perspective I may come up with, the definitive word on where I’m headed. As a friend of mine once wisely pointed out, “Dave means what he says when he says it,” and you can figure out the implications of that without my help.

But I will say this: I’m going to become a better person, I really am. It’s actually becoming a huge priority for me right now. To quote Bruce Springsteen, “man, I’m just tired and bored with my self.” The two biggest challenges in my musical endeavours: exhaustion, and my damned boring self.

When I hit the road again as a musician, I was almost laughably modest about it. I recorded Evergreen in front of about 11 people, and I spent just about the whole night with my eyes closed, shyly singing my songs and stringing them togther with heartfelt little true tales that I felt deeply about.

That was only the second solo show I’d done in five years. I took to the stage again at age 31 because I wanted to honour the gift of my songs, not to be a rock star. I wanted to make a contibution to the understanding of the Canadian experience, and indeed the human experience, on the basis of the richly varied life I’ve been so fortunate to enjoy. I wanted to let my own little light shine.

But not on myself! That was really important, and it needs to be number one again, because I’m worried I’m becoming all about me. And frankly, me doesn’t deserve all the attention. See, in this business, even though I’m not particularly well-known, I’ve learned that I can still become a big jerk, because even if not many other people are thinking about me, I’m thinking about (and promoting) myself all the time – whether I’m making my new poster or picking the perfect t-shirt to wear on stage. Or writing in this publicly visible diary, for that matter.

Note to self: The world doesn’t need another small-time guy who’s all about himself. Sing your songs, tell your tales and your truth, and get on with being better.

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