chance and music and Andrew Bird

Have you ever thought about how much of life happens because of chance?  A chance encounter, a chance decision and suddenly your life is different.  Maybe you don't believe in mere chance.  Maybe you believe in divine intervention or fate or synchronicity.  And actually, I believe in those things, too.  But I also think that a lot comes down to chance.  Unimportant things that change you in small ways.  I started thinking about this with regard to one of my favorite musicians and realized that everything about my love of his music comes down to chance.

Quite a few years ago now (I was going to just say "a few" but then realized it was longer ago than that) a coworker of mine asked me about my writing.  It turned out that he was trying to put together a collection of short stories and art and publish it.  He writes and publishes zines; I hadn't really known about zines before talking to him.  It took a while, but his tiny independent publishing company printed Blister Packs and in it were two of my stories.  To promote the book, John organized a reading at a local bookstore.  I don't usually like doing that sort of thing, but for some reason I agreed to read.  Other than being nervous about my reading, I had a good time.  The most interesting part of the evening was a presentation by artist Jay Ryan.  I was captivated by his art and I was curious about a musician that he kept mentioning, a violinist, whose posters he'd designed.  That musician was Andrew Bird.  After that I looked him up and got a hold of his music and really liked it.

Fast forward to 2009.  My parents were in town visiting for my birthday and the three of us met Matthias for lunch at a bookstore near where he works.  We went upstairs to the bathroom and I waited in the hall for my mom.  While I was waiting I perused a bulletin board covered with fliers for local events.  On it was a postcard advertising a concert.  Andrew Bird.  In just a couple weeks.  When I got home I looked into it and bought tickets for Matthias and me to go.  As far as concert tickets go, they were really cheap and they were for seats in something like the 7th row.  If we hadn't gone to lunch at the bookstore or if we hadn't gone up to the bathrooms or if I hadn't stood in the hall looking at the bulletin board, I would never have known about the concert.

Before the concert I really liked Andrew Bird.  After the concert I LOVED him (and Matthias loved him, too.  I kind of forced him to go to the concert and he wasn't really thrilled about it, but for weeks after the concert all he listened to was Andrew Bird).  There is something about live music.  And Andrew Bird is incredibly talented; watching him perform his music is amazing.  Most people I talk to have never heard of him and I guess that's one of the reasons it was so easy to get such good tickets.  Ever since then I've been trying to convince other people to listen to his music.  So here I am, again, trying to convince YOU to listen to his music.  And so you get the idea of just what he's all about, here are a couple videos.

Seriously awesome.

But if I'd never agreed to do the reading at the bookstore, I'd never have even known about Andrew Bird.  It makes me wonder what else I'm missing.  What bulletin boards I haven't perused and what events I haven't gone to.  I'm sure there's a lot.  Should I take that as a message to PAY better ATTENTION?  To go out and do things even when I don't feel like it?  Maybe so.  The more I think about it, the more examples of chance leading to favorite things I can come up with... the first time I ate crème brulée, the first exposure I had to Amy Butler, the first time I tried a new restaurant and on and on.

As my birthday month draws near, I've been thinking about goals for the coming year.  I've been thinking I want to include "go to at least one concert" on my list, but, perhaps, a more important goal for the year might be to PAY ATTENTION.  I don't want to miss a single thing.


  1. By chance I came to visit your blog Anne having not previously heard of Andrew Bird so you have introduced me to someone new! I am terrified of 'missing out' on something and will heed your advice to look at bulletin boards and pay extra attention!!!

  2. Great message, Anne. I call it synchronicity and have done so since reading Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way. But it doesn't work if we're not open to it, or as you put it, if we're not PAYING ATTENTION!! That will be my mantra this week!
    Wish I could read those short stories of yours!

  3. Great post. So many things happen by chance! I've actually heard of Andrew Bird, but never really listened. He's somebody I would totally listen too. Concerts for lesser known/indie musicians are the best! They're more personal and together a better experience. I really like that he plays the violoin, some of my favorite artists incorporate violin. Paying more attention is a great thing to shoot for, it's just hard to do sometimes!
    Great stuff!

  4. Thank you so much for your blog visit today! I have loved Andrew Bird, too, ever since I saw him years ago when he opened for Ani Difranco. I remember he had an amazing whistle! Amazing what we find, or what finds us, when we get out and explore the world around us. Thanks for the reminder.

  5. Hooray for chance and paying attention!


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