Wednesday, April 3, 2013


Music must be a labor of love because for every one person earning a living picking at a guitar, scraping a bow across catgut, or pushing pure tone from the bell of some gleaming sax, there were a dozen or a hundred like Jimmy Ess who sleptwalk through thankless day jobs so that they could help a little with the bills, while their partner—Erika, in Jimmy’s case—made a decent enough living that anything he brought home wasn’t really needed and was more of a sop to soften the guilt someone might feel for his inability to make his music pay. The first four years that he and Erika were together had passed with her enthusiastic embrace of his dreams. “Write,” she said as she applied the mascara and lipstick that was the mask of the young professional woman. “Record,” she said as she gathered up her briefcase and hustled toward the door. “Get a gig,” she kissed him goodbye. It was romantic to have a musician boyfriend and after work happy hours were happy times. Her friends from work still dug music and enjoyed being around someone who walked outside of the world of bi-weekly paychecks and mandatory staff meetings, someone who’d never been inside a cubicle or had his internet monitored. They liked Jimmy because he made it seem like the glory days of their undergraduate lives were still near enough to touch.

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