Unusually cold for California... and I left my jacket at the security checkpoint in Dallas. Huddling inside THE Wally McCrae’s cozy oversized jacket in the refrigerator-like green room, telling myself to remember this moment. Packed room, lively audiences... CDs disappearing as fast as French fries on a cheat day.
Stuffing the free water bottles from the green room into my guitar case, into my CD box... anywhere I can smuggle them back to the room, because California is dang dry and I don’t have a car.
Feverish anticipation and nervousness in the stage wings, feeling the reactiveness and largeness of the crowd in the clutches of the emcee from my hidden spot, autopilot hands checking my tuning on repeat. Realization dawning that I drank too much water just as my introduction is being made...
Later, off stage, listening. Emotions up and down, laughs and sheer marvel at the use of words from fellow performers.
Tiredness. Must be the innate draw of Texas, refusing to let my body realize I’ve fully left its time zone.
And, early mornings, late evenings. Warm and friendly handshakes, smiles, hugs, conversations and wagers about my age between audience members. Business cards I try desperately to keep track of and remember how and who to follow up with.
Wildfire smoke. In the room, in the hallway, dimming the sun, in my throat.
Intermittent bouts of tingling nervousness and distraction, remembering the IWMA Awards are happening at the same moments I am performing here... knowing I will hear news at any point.
Finally, in the green room, my phone explodes.
The next day, dazed and tired, reflecting on being Entertainer of the Year and Female Performer of the Year...gratitude, and a windfall of emotions. And also an exhausted deja vu as I stare at one more airport terminal, relieved to be allowed to look sloppy on this flight, with no more professional appearances before a night’s sleep comes.