Dear 1999 Jeff.

There's a blog event going on at Muscian Wages, for which seven music bloggers are answering the following question:

If you could go back to 1999 and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?

I can't resist, especially because I am one to dwell on the past and play coulda/shoulda/woulda way too often.


Dear 1999 Jeff,

This is going to be a little weird and by all known science, totally impossible, but I am you 10 years from now -- writing to you.

And I have some advice.

You have plenty of it, you make plenty of it, you will make plenty more -- and it will never be enough. Why? Because it's not money you want, or even what money can buy. You will learn this. The hard way.

You will pick up this tidbit of new age advice while in talk therapy, following a severe traumatic brain injury (yup, as bad as it it sounds). It's a gem of a tidbit and if you can remember to keep it foremost in mind as you deal with the world around you, you will spend a lot less time being mad and worrying about who's out to get you (most likely no one).

You will put this off for years and when you finally tie the knot, you will wonder what took you so long. And there won't be a good answer.

You can do it. I know that every time you start a song you can't finish it, but you can. Here's how: as ideas start to coalesce into something more than just a jumble of words and notes, ask yourself what you are writing about. Try to make the answer reasonably specific. When you have it, place it at the top of your lyric sheet and when you get stuck, go back to it. Also, don't be afraid to modulate. Key changes are the key to good melody.

You're not in danger of becoming an alcoholic, but you drink too much. And what does it get you, save for a headache and regrets?

You're good about family, but your friends tend to come in second to your job. Don't get me wrong, your job matters, but not more than your friends. Just try to remember this before cancelling on weddings and other events.

That's about it, I think. I know you wish I would tell you what stocks to buy, but I won't. And before you get all upset, remember point two above.