The Riverview Cafe Saves My Life Again
And the shadows fall and I think I am writing in pure darkness. Who can read anything I write when it is too pitch black in the world to read and when all of light is owned? I grow bitter about the precise ways fame fails to visit me. I imprudently complain about all the people not reading what I write to the very people who are reading what I write. I am faithless. I have worked all my life as an artist, and I have achieved only...
So I go to The Riverview Cafe on Thursday night. And everyone is a genius. Greatness nips at every singer songwriter's heels. How many people do my wife and I hear sing and play? Maybe twenty or thirty. None of them are remunerated, none long remembered, none lionized. No ones ship, or maybe I should say train, since they sing about them so much, is ever coming in. Oh, all of them are gifted enough. All of them try hard enough. Everyone of them deserved something more. And why not. You may take this as a hard argument against God, or you may take it as the best way to love God, but
Everyone everywhere, through all of time, deserved something more.
Spare me the black tongues of realists. I'll have none of that cold acceptance that passes for pragmatic. "Life's not fair." is the devil's version of "Everyone deserved more." Let's start with that then: Everyone deserved more.
And so everyone playing at The Riverview Cafe deserved more. They deserved to be able to see, to walk again without pain, to be young again, to have someone hear their lovely voice and put them on a great stage and give them so much money they don't have to work in some grinding job. They deserve an old fashioned record contract, love, a fresh start, and more applause than such a modest audience as ours can produce. Sometimes, sitting there, I actually wish I could clap louder. But even though I swear they all deserve it, I don't believe that in those shining moments, on that unglamorous and raggedy stage, any one of them cares. I can't see them caring at all. Sometimes I even look for it, hear it whispering around, but every time I look I find that all of that deserving more dies dead on the stage. No one cares. For two songs a person, ten minutes maximum, no musician, no singer, cares that they deserve more. They have whatever there is to have. Their piece of art.
Oh how I like listening to them. Oh how my heart is restored.
Some of the performers are okay that night, some are completely wonderful. That's the way it goes. Maybe it's just that night, and those who are great will later be merely okay, and someone okay may, in three weeks time, play a song more lovely and touching than I would ever imagine hearing, for free, in such a humble place. And then too they may never play that song again.
Did you know that genius belongs to everyone?
Genius belongs to everyone. That's what they sing to me, on Thursday night, Open Mike Night, at The Riverview Cafe, when they save my life.
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