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The Prince Experiment

On January 4, 2018, I had a dream that I undertook a one-year project: learn how to play that gorgeous sunburst Stratocaster that I bought 25 years ago (for real) when I thought it was my destiny to start an all-woman rock band. I experienced pushback in my dream and so went to the 400 Bar (West Bank Minneapolis, circa 1990), and Prince was playing. He took me aside, we danced a bit, and he told me that not only should I learn the guitar and start that band, but that I should use the year of learning as the structure for a memoir.

Oy. Prince, right? Apparently he recently visited another friend of mine in her dream and also encouraged her to be more creative, and why the hell WOULDN"T Prince spend the afterlife encouraging people? But still, the guitar? I'm 47. I'm a full-time writing professor and a full-time novelist (it's a good thing I don't do the math; also, please don't do the math). I have a 15-year-old son and a 47-year-old husband at home, and they're both a blast to hang out with. I've got the world's most amazing friends, whose time and attention I like to swim in like it's the warm blue sea. Not to mention, how self-indulgent is it to learn to play guitar when the world is on fire?

That last question is actually what made up my mind--that, and a list of five reasons to learn guitar that Nadine sent me--because I know that the hardest and best time to create is when life is the most difficult. I can spare an hour or so a week, ten minutes peppered here and there, to learn this guitar, and to maybe blog about it, and to maybe turn that blog series into a memoir. You're welcome to join me, to share your creative endeavors in the comments, and to offer unsolicited guitar-playing advice, starting with: I just pulled that guitar out for the first time in years to snap that photo. It's got a broken string. I don't know how to change broken guitar strings. I guess I'm gonna learn.


p.s. I just looked up the year my guitar was released. 1981. I would have been eleven, living in rural Minnesota. That was the year before Prince released 1999 and blew my small-town mind. Down the road, I'll tell you the crazy story of how I came to own that guitar. For now, let's just appreciate the man...

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