Keep Reaching Out, But Remember to Pay Yourself

A Younger David Crosby

A Younger David Crosby

Just like in the movies a message
Comes through all the static and hiss
Pulling just enough words from the storm-filled sky
To know that someone somewhere needs this

The radioman runs to the wheelhouse
Got that message held tight in his fist
An S.O.S. off of the wireless
Saying someone somewhere needs this

For you to look out
Look down
Reach your hand into the water
For you to look out
Look down
And pull someone out of the sea

You are the captain . . .  this is the ship
You will have to decide what gets done
Think about it when you’re on watch tonight
‘Cause someday this message will come

For you to look out
Look down
Reach your hand into the water
For you to look out
Look down
And pull someone out of the sea

And your hands are slippery
The wind is strong
The boat is rocking
The world is storm

Your hands are slippery

You feel like turning away to run free

Your hands are so slippery
But you can pull someone out of the sea

For you to look out
Look down
Reach your hand into the water
For you to look out
Look down
And pull someone out of the sea

For you to look out
Look down
Reach your hand into the water
For you to look out
Look down
And pull someone out of the sea

David Crosby, Radio

The grading for the weekend is promising to be one long, sustained grind, but I’ve remembered to stop intermittently and pay myself. After rising early this morning and grinding through my first tall stack of papers, I recalled that I’ve already worked 40-plus hours this past week (all teachers do) and am coming to resent that the hours were not enough–I’m losing a weekend to grading. So I stopped long enough to reward myself before plunging on to the next stack of papers.

I put the new DVD on for my second listen (Crosby, Stills & Nash 2012) and felt some hurt when Graham Nash, now in his senior years, reported to the audience that they as a group had written a lot of songs over the years, but could have written a lot more. He then introduced their next song Wasted on the Way. I understand plenty of what he meant. Most of us probably live with regret that we didn’t do more of worth in our past endeavors, particularly when it comes to enriching others. I could not begin to record adequately the ways that CSN enriched my life throughout the decades–I don’t have that long of a manuscript in me, I’m afraid. As they closed out their encore, honoring teachers with Teach Your Children I of course know that I could have done more and better as a teacher throughout the years. But I’m not going to go there. What’s past is past, and I still have opportunities within reach.

One of my driving philosophies of life is that a person has to pay himself/herself if there is to be any hope for being good for others. And I have tried to stay with that philosophy. Those who don’t know me well enough have accused me of being a workaholic. Not true. Much of what I do that they think is work brings me pure joy, and I feel that it is play. That particularly applies to studying the subjects I teach and creating works of art (no! I don’t regard grading as my joy–that is strictly work, strictly hell).

So. I laid aside my grading long enough to attempt a pencil sketch of a younger David Crosby. Though Neil Young has been closer to the center of my musical imagination in my later years, David Crosby was the one who stole my heart in 1969 when I was in high school. The first CSN album release immediately compelled me to drop the electric guitar with its power chords and pick up the acoustic guitar and pursue vocal harmonies.  Crosby’s rich baritone voice was closest to my own range (though I wished like hell I could reach those clear sharp tenor notes of Graham Nash!). And I absolutely loved that Buffalo Bill Cody buckskin outfit he frequently wore! I was residing in Fort Worth when Crosby was arrested in the Dallas nightclub, and my heart was torn. Once he released his confessional autobiography Long Time Gone, I purchased it and read every word. I cried. I’m so glad he is back and O.K. for the time being. And I really appreciate that he is still writing music–his recently released Radio being my favorite of all time, as it speaks to what I feel in the teaching profession. I posted the lyrics at the top of this post, and am so delighted that it is part of the performance on this DVD.

So, what am I trying to say? That if you wish to be good for others, and wish to do well in your endeavors, never neglect to pay yourself. Don’t burn out. Replenish. I will attempt to avoid burnout this weekend by doing some things that matter to me, including listening to music that moves me and attempting to push out some works of art.

Thanks always for reading.

I make art in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not really alone.

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11 Responses to “Keep Reaching Out, But Remember to Pay Yourself”

  1. jenniferalicechandler Says:

    That’s good advice. It’s easy to fall into the trap of having unrealistic expectations of yourself which leads to not making time for other things. I often feel guilty for not being productive enough.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Foghorn The IKonoclast Says:

    That is good advice since my anxiety disorder is made worse by not smelling the coffee and relaxing a bit.

    Like

  3. createarteveryday Says:

    I thought it sounded familiar when you mentioned your sketch of him. My memory is horrible, but I’ve seen this before. Wow, it’s quite well done, as I’m sure you know. Interesting you also felt a connection as you drew him. I wonder if that’s common with portrait artists? Seems like it would be quite a natural phenomenon.

    Like

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