I've realised that I've got a ritual, particularly the day before I'm due to play a gig. Wednesday saw me enact such a ritual: on getting home from work I plugged everything in and did a final run-through of my set.
Once was enough, I knew it was too late to make any changes. Besides, I was happy enough with what I was playing, particularly after the relatively last-minute adjustments I'd made the previous day.
Thus complete, I put everything away, and then set about giving the bathroom a good clean. Then I set about giving the kitchen a good clean. Then I set about giving my living room and bedroom a good clean. Then I took a few bags of stuff down to the nearest recycling point, then I came back and did some more cleaning and tidying. At the end of the evening I sat down and relaxed with what felt like a couple of well-earned beers before heading off to bed.
Now on the one hand there are straightforward reasons for all these post-rehearsal chores, in that I would be entertaining guests, plus the place was ready for a clean anyway. On the other, I think what it serves to do is to soak up some of the nervous energy by spending time on straightforward tasks which have a clear beginning, middle and end. It gives me a sense of calm solitude which I really appreciate.
The gig itself went well, and I was glad I'd put in all the extra effort to tailor my set to be more suitable for the atmosphere of the event. Just teasing then, in calling this post Unmitigated disaster.
I don't feel particularly vulnerable when I'm on stage: the focus required - not to mention the volume levels - tends to take care of that. (Even so, I can only bring to mind one occasion where I was so relaxed and immersed in what I was doing that I more or less forgot I was on stage, and that was some years ago.)
No, I feel vulnerable afterwards: after all the preparation and the build up, then to play a gig which goes well (and I was pleased with the response I got) is initially a relief and a good feeling. But then, something else sometimes kicks in - a day or so later - in which I feel a bit lost, maybe lonely, certainly in need of some kind of reassurance. That's definitely been the case this weekend, and in some ways I'm looking forward to the normality and the routine of work.
Still, I now have to continue my preparations in earnest for the next gig. There isn't much time and I want to try and get two new pieces finished and ready. I've just done two hours of work this evening and it was very unsettling: back in the mode of feeling like I face an uphill task, like I was starting again from scratch, even.
But then, I have to remind myself: it's ok, and if I don't get all the new stuff ready, it's not the end of the world. I shall resume with it tomorrow, at which point I should be in a more suitable frame of mind for such things.