Everyone wakes up, realizes they have the capability to be an extraordinary and unconventional individual, and then they go back to sleep and forget. Every single day -
Sixteen years ago, that was me. I was a married, mother of three, commuting hours each day, and working a full time job, to help pay for expensive automobiles and numerous other luxuries - all of which items were financed, hollow, fleeting and ludicrous attempts to buy happiness and save a crumbling marriage. I always thought that I was meant to live an extraordinary life, but somewhere along the way settled for something else. What happened to the young woman who rode motorcycles with her brothers, surfed before it was fashionable for women to surf, the one who liked to write songs and love stories too? How did she come to be so mundane and so miserable? Why did she give up on her dreams of living an extraordinary life? My lifelong inner defiance of conventionality painfully ate away at my heart and soul for years, while I did what both society and my then husband said I should. All of that work and all of that spending was to no avail in the end, resulting in unhappiness, divorce and years of financial difficulties. The saving grace of that marriage being three brilliant and beautiful children that I love beyond words.
I drove away from our house in foreclosure, with my three little ones in a used Toyota Corolla. The only item of any significant monetary value that I still had being my hand made, solid oak, upright grand piano. I rented a house for me and the children to live in. Music and writing were my passions! I didn't care about any of that other stuff or want it and I gave it all to my ex. I knew it wouldn't be easy - but I was resolved to live life my own way and to set an example for my children not to make the mistakes that I did. It has been a long time since I took that leap of faith in myself and I made more mistakes along the way, but I have never looked back at my exodus with any regret.
Through years of just getting by financially - I learned the art of frugality. I found a better job, closer to home saving both gasoline and time. We had to move within the same neighborhood a few times and I learned to minimize my possessions down to what we really needed. When the children were at their father's I took off on sole adventures, an apple and a sipper bottle full of water sometimes being all that I could afford for sustenance. Miles of nature hikes, walking around at museums, festivals and pow wows slimmed me down better than any gym I ever belonged to. I met a variety of amazing people and made friends. I tried and failed at relationships. I practiced my piano, and wrote pages and pages of love stories. I starved sometimes in order to keep food on the table for my children, but relished in the emptiness of my stomach in that it was for their sake and I was truly living. I was forced to sell my beloved piano at one point because we had to move and I needed the money for a security deposit. I was incredibly sad at the loss of the piano - that one really hurt - but I took some solace in having sold it to a father for his child - an idiot savant who played incredibly well and they were grateful to have it. There were times of deep sadness, times of great joy - life really did have its ups and downs. What goes around, comes around though, and some incredible things were about to come my way.
About a year after the loss of my piano, I took on a roommate. My eldest was off at college and so I rented her empty room to a college student - Jackie - who played guitar, gave lessons and worked at a music store. I someone shyly asked her to teach me to play guitar - figuring although I could not afford another piano, I could afford a cheap guitar due to the additional rental income from her and a part time job that I was working in addition to my day job. Her immediate response was "learn to play the bass so we can jam!" I shrugged, agreed and she brought me a rental bass from her store so I could try it out. That bass was kind of a monster - I felt as though I was wrestling with it at times, but I immediately fell in love with bassplaying in and of itself and spent hours practicing each night and on weekends. Jackie moved on after awhile, but her mere suggestion was a milestone in my life. Learn to play the bass so we can jam . . . I never would have thought of doing that if I had not met her!
The following year, I met my true love, now my beloved husband Tim - a wonderful human being, a brilliant guitarist, composer and sound engineer. How we met is kind of cute, but I will save that story for another day. In any event, he gave me a beautiful Fender Jazz bass for my birthday nine months after we met, and little by little helped me acquire a complete bass rig as my skills developed and I began looking for bands to play in. Tim is good with money incidentally, almost always paying for things in cash. Eventually, Tim also gave me the Korg SP500 keyboard that you see in my main blog picture - another story for another day. I have been playing bass for almost ten years now, and have been a member of various bands as bassplayer or keyboardist, and sometimes both. I am living an extraordinary life!
In future blogs I will tell you more about Quail Studios - the recording studio that Tim and I built together, more about our life and the music that we have been working on.
Renee Quail aka "Ro"
You can learn more about Tim's and my music at the following link: Quail Music