Maura Shaftoe Maura Shaftoe
Maura Shaftoe Maura Shaftoe
Maura Shaftoe Maura Shaftoe
Maura Shaftoe Maura Shaftoe
Maura Shaftoe Maura Shaftoe

Maura Shaftoe Maura Shaftoe

Maura Shaftoe


By Maura on Jul 01, 2017

I'm waiting for a sign. Then I'll know what to do or know it's the right decision.

It's a sign, I knew I shouldn't have tried this.  It's not going to be successful, I'll be embarassed. I will fail.

I've said or thought those things.

I have used signs to confirm my direction or change it

I've used the lack of recognizable signs in the same way.

I was waiting for a sign, I didn't get it, so clearly I can now, for instance, walk away from a relationship, job, commitment,( fill in the blank). There wasn't a sign, if I was meant to stay, there would have been a sign.I could apply this strategy to many areas of my life.  I was probably leaving anyway, sign or not, I just wasn't saying it.  Maybe you get what I mean.

Why am I rambling on about signs?

Well, it has to do with the place music and signs about music have had in my life.

When I was in junior high, they created a music award for my grade so they could give it to me.

Now that was a sign I basically chose to ingore.

Instead of acknowledging that I loved music and might have more than a shred of talent, I ingored it.

Instead I clung to some belief that music was hard for me.

I had a some story that my parents didn't approve, that they supported my sister's art more than mine.

It was crap.

They tried me with guitar lessons which didn't stick, and piano lessons( now granted the teacher scared the pants off me), and I had been given the opportunity.

Instead, I had already decided, for whatever reason, that I wasn't good enough, not deserving enough, all those lines you've heard so many people say and write, I had them.  I wrote them and I supported their place in my life.

Somewhere though, there was a kernel of -- determination, a little piece of me that knew that walking away from music entirely wouldn't be a good choice for me.

I started to ignore some of those signs that put roadblocks in my way.

When I was getting ready to record my first album, I bought a brand new Apple laptop so that my arranger/producer could work on the project while on the road.  Back then, it was a chunk of change.

My shiny laptop made it's way to a drug dealer.

It wasn't a sign.

It was a producer relapsing into addiction

What did I do?

I reached out, got a new producer, Mike Lent, we went on to record three albums together, write some songs, tour together, and are fast friends.

When I started my second album, my mother passed away.  She was a long time dialysis patient, I was a major part of her life and she mine.  It was a trying time.  

It wasn't a sign.  It was the circle of life.

We decided to finish the album, and ended up writing a song that was used and is used in a teaching video for end of life choices.  I toured that album.

We wanted to keep some momentum going, so I applied for a grant. Surely, a grant would confirm that what I was doing had value.  We started writing new music.

I didn't get the grant.

It wasn't a sign. Not getting a grant  isn't a sign for anyone.  There are many talented people out there with valid projects and a finite amount of funding to go around. That is it.

What did I do instead?

Mike and I recorded a stripped down Christmas album in 2 days on a shoestring budget.  Somehow this little project got played all over the world.

Life got in the way after that.  I limited my access to performing and creating music. I ran out of steam.

It wasn't a sign.  

I made a career change ostensibly to allow the time and freedom to make my life and music work.

It wasn't magically happening.

The stars weren't aligning.

It wasn't a sign.

It was me, not acting on a commitment I had made to myself.

I reached out and thankfully found a writing partner who was willing to work with me.

I applied for another grant, which I didn't get.

I had some major financial challenges, a broken furnace and failed deal among them..  I could go on.

These weren't signs either. It was just life.

It's done, this new project, and though it didn't come together with the ease I expected, I am proud of it.

Now I ask myself, are you waiting for a sign or making an excuse?  Am I making this a sign because it fits my image of what my sign should be saying to me?

If I recognize the sign might be me making the sign mean something it does not, is that the sign?

I don't have the answers.  I still am a sign seeker and maker.

I do know one thing, I can create in the face of insecurity and adversity, and I can do it with intention.





My cd release is May 25th at the Ironwood, in Calgary, if you are in the neighboourhood, please buy tickets and come on out.



Tags: Maura Shaftoe, singer songwriter, Calgary Musician, Signs, new album, Make me a memory, CD release,

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Maura Shaftoe

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