Last year for the first time I carried my guitar around to all the race venues I attended and I found an open mic or jam session to sing and play in publicly. I didn’t miss a single country, managing to find somewhere to sing each time. I kept a journal about the experience, writing down my adventure after each race. I am turning that one-year adventure journal into a book about the trip and about the open mic and jam phenomenon around the world. But while I wrote the first draft, I’m only around halfway through editing and refining the book – a task I spent the winter working on – and I’m already at the beginning of a new F1 season of travel.
I enjoyed the experience so much that I did not want to stop it, and I have once again decided to bring my guitar with me to all the races around the world and to seek out places to play. But because the book was an encapsulated one-year voyage, I have decided that I will not add any chapters to the book with this year’s trip. If I did that, I’d find myself in the same sort of conundrum as Anais Nin with her never-ending diary. And that is not my goal or of interest to me.
So what I have decided to do is to continue my open mic trip and this year, to write about it on the blog as it happens. I will not go into nearly as much detail as I did with the book. This will be a “live” version of the journey, fed right into the blog. I will occasionally obviously, however, refer to my experiences last year as I revisit some of the original open mics. And when it seems appropriate, I will put up some excerpts from the book that refer to those venues. So in that way, the blog will be about today, and last year, and about my work in progress.
I’ll also be talking about life in the paddock when the subjects are ones that would not perhaps be considered appropriate to my other F1 blogs, at the NYTimes.com or formula1.about.com. Here I’ll finally have a place to write very personal accounts of what happens to a journalist at a Formula One weekend – and of course what I see happening to others, drivers, team members, fans, etc.
I am really excited about this upcoming adventure and endeavor. I love my job, but it’s very important to me to have side projects to give a feeling of hope and progress and accomplishment outside the strict structure of a professional environment.
Having just arrived at my hotel from the airport and pasting in this blog item that I wrote in the airplane, I am really hyped up because the first thing I saw in the Bahrain airport at the luggage area was a British guy with a tall unicycle. He will be riding it around over the race weekend. So I’ll go check that out and report on it later….