Making it Happen Monday: Embracing the future

It finally happened:

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I’ve had my photography domain name for over two years, but I just never did anything with it. It was when someone would ask, “Do you have a site?” that I’d cringe.

“No…”

It was an “out of sight, out of mind” thing. Plus, bartending pays well enough that it was easy to get complacent. I didn’t feel the need to pursue photo gigs. Now… Well, I’m not giving up bartending, but I also realize that I won’t be doing it forever. I have to start building my photography business to someday be full-time.

Understand, I am self-taught. Mostly. I do have my journalism degree and I’ve worked with design both for pay and for fun for years. I have a basic, educated idea of what makes a great photo. I did get a few crash courses from various photographers through the years as well. But on a whole… It’s all trial and error. Lots of errors. And a whole lot of passion.

I. Love. Photography.

Going into it, I don’t want to step on the toes of those who have devoted their education and life to photography! I’ve worried about that. A lot. But I like to think there is room for all of us and perhaps I can fill my own niche. And I’ll discover the niche through the years to come.

I invite everyone to check out my site and like my page on Facebook Perhaps some day I can do a shoot for you!

What Dad taught me…

Mattox_1000The other day, my husband and I were going over some questions that might appear on a motorcycle endorsement written test. One of the questions, I answered without hesitation. My husband stared at me and went, “How did you know that?” I laughed and went, “Dad taught me that long before I even started driving.”

Two days later, as I made myself some breakfast, I found myself smiling at how Dad taught me some tricks to making eggs. And I can’t crack almonds, walnuts and pecans without thinking about how that was kind of a tradition as a kid in the winter… we’d sit on the floor and he’d crack nut after nut for us to snack on in the evening.

He taught me to check my tires (even though I admit I don’t do it as often as I should). He taught me to never let my gas get below a quarter of a tank. (Which reminds me, I need to get gas later.) He dragged me through my Accounting class in college. He taught me business sense and showed me how to treat clients.

He showed me love and respect, and he taught me what to expect from men and how I should be treated. He gave my husband permission to ask me to marry him, but not until after a lecture my husband still remembers today clearly.

He taught me that its okay to ask for help, but to also try my best to stand on my own two feet. He gave me courage to try new things, but also the sense to know when to keep my feet on solid, steady ground.

I still turn to him for advice and guidance. I still go to him for some of the best hugs EVER. I am forever and ever a Daddy’s Girl, and I wish with all my heart I could be with him on this Father’s Day. To thank him for everything he’s done for me through the years, and to give him a big hug myself. I WILL be there in my heart and in spirit, and I’ll make sure to call and talk for awhile on the phone. We’ll make up for it the next time we are all together.

I love you, Daddy!! Happy Father’s Day.

meanddaddy

 

CMA Fest: Is bigger really better?

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Last week was CMA Fest, and this was the first year that it just didn’t excite me. This is also the first year I had ZERO interest in going downtown to “check it out.”  And the reason for both is exactly the same: In my opinion, it’s just gotten too big for itself.

I attended Fan Fair in 1997 held at the Fairgrounds, and I left on cloud nine. I met the artists I wanted to meet (and then some!). I saw hours of great live music. I got to explore Nashville. I left vowing to live in Nashville “some day.” (And just under 10 years later, I moved here!) Upon moving here, Fan Fair had become CMA Fest and had moved to downtown Nashville. I didn’t like the move because it made it nearly impossible to traverse downtown as a local. As a music fan, I liked it. Lots of free music. I still got to feel a part of it without buying tickets. This was HUGE during the recession, when extra money didn’t exist.

Now? Now Nashville has been named the “It City” countless times. We’re the destination place to visit. And I think as a result Nashville has been forced to change in a lot of ways to keep up. It has to stand up to its new stature, but I fear its going to lose some of its charm within that.

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One of the awesome things about Nashville is that there is music everywhere. Austin, TX might be the Live Music Capitol but Nashville is Music City. We stand on our own in the live music department! CMA Fest is a chance to have music fans come to Nashville to see their favorite artists perform, but its also a chance to see up-and-comers. This year, from what I understand, there were a TON of stages set up downtown with music going all day long. At the same time, the honkytonks were trying to stay alive with their acts as well. It broke my heart to hear (and see) great bands play to an empty bar, because no one felt any need or interest in coming inside to see a new act. So many, many musicians (and bartenders!) were left not making any money, and after paying to park and fighting the crowds, they were left working for free. In some cases, losing money.

Parking. Parking is something you’re going to find people complaining about all the time, but during CMA Fest? It was ridiculous. I lucked out to either use a parking pass or catch a ride to and from work, but I heard countless cases of people parking for $10 an hour, or if they were lucky, $35/day. Yeah, I said it. If they were LUCKY they paid $35/day. Just to park! I still can’t fathom that! Sure, tourists could take a cab or a hotel shuttle, but the people who got hurt the most by this was, again, the musicians. $35 to park, to go to work to make $40? The musicians, who are why music fans are there in the first place, are the ones getting hurt the most.

 

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Let’s face it. CMA Fest is exhausting. A lot of locals avoid downtown entirely for the week. But even as I felt very downhearted at times, I was quickly reminded what I love the most about it: THE PEOPLE.

Some people I see every single year at CMA Fest, and I look forward to that all year long. They roll into town to big hugs and welcome backs. You look amazings and tell me everything from the last year. Some are people you know you’ll never see again, but that make a mark in your heart nonetheless. At one point last week, the entire bar was people from Wisconsin… people who walked in strangers and left exchanging phone numbers. My heart was so full that afternoon, I didn’t care that my feet hurt and I just wanted to go to sleep. I didn’t care. I was delighted by these kind souls that crossed paths with me and each other.

THAT is the essence of Fan Fair. THAT is. Not ten stages set up, giving out free pencils and water bottles. Its not fighting for a parking spot or paying 5x as much as usual for a hotel room (Oh don’t even get me started on THAT this year! $500 a night for a room!? Are you KIDDING me!?). It’s about interacting with people you’d never meet otherwise. It’s fellow music lovers on vacation.

 

So is bigger really better when it comes to CMA Fest? Personally? I don’t think so. People are going to leave Nashville remembering the people and artists they met. They’re going to talk about the big named acts they saw, and a hand full of the newbies.  They’re going to remember the PEOPLE they met, perhaps even their newest best friend for life met over a drink in a packed bar or at a Fan Club Party.

I love all the free things CMA Fest offers, but I would beg planners to consider making it less commercial and more personal. I would beg them to remember there’s thousands of Nashvillians who live and work here that have to still making a living that week. I would beg them to remember the heart that is Fan Fair, that is about the fans and not the vendors. Let’s remember the love  behind CMA Fest again.

 

 

The wife of a touring musician tells it like she sees it…