Part 2 of Dawn's Crazy September is officially in the books, and I can advance into a relaxing schedule of school driving, Chaucer coaching, lawn mowing, vet visiting, and work. My next crazy burst involves two trips to Massachusetts in the same week, but at least I have an empty weekend between now and then.
Cramming a poetry reading and two music gigs into three hysterical days was a very odd sensation. Poetry readings are shorter, but far more mentally and emotionally intense. Playing three long sets in a bar is like running a marathon: a heady mix of exhaustion and adrenaline. Plus, there are four people on stage, not just one. We're all taking risks together, trying to read each other, trying to cover for the others' errors, trying to ride impulses and improvisations, trying to read the crowd and respond as flexible but united compatriots.
As I was playing on Saturday night, I found myself thinking in soccer metaphors. The bass player and the drummer are like the defensive line. If they aren't completely solid, everything goes to hell. The guitar player is like the midfielder: sometimes on offense, sometimes on defense. He goes back and forth between rhythm section and lead player, but he's also calling the plays. The fiddle player is the striker, a quick diver, alert to the gaps and fissures.
But on Sunday morning, when I revealed all of this cogitation to my son, his response was "Well, who's the goalkeeper?" That blew a hole in my metaphor.