I’ve only written a few new songs this year. One poured out of me in one big emotional purge, but the other two took weeks. It was as if each week I had to mature into the next verse. I had to come around to being able to handle where the song was going next. If I had forced myself to write the song in one sitting, I would have missed the progression, and the story wouldn’t have been right.

The ending for this latest one has sat me down and shaken its finger at me. It snuck up on me and I fought it aggressively — mostly because I wanted the aggressive ‘I’m right!’ kind of ending, and instead I got the ‘let it go’ kind of response. 

It turns out I can be prideful with my inner writer as well as with everything else in my life! 

Fortunately, this inner-self wrestling always yields something better than what I would have come up with without the fight. It just sucks! Especially when both versions of you are little weaklings. 

Speaking of weakling — it turns out one does not just develop guitar skills without touching one’s instrument. I’ve gotten comfortable. I have my set of tunings and chords that I can use on right handed guitar and I use them a lot. I had this big plan to reinvent myself as an artist, become my own guitar hero, and have this big unveiling of my skills. I did practice more for a while, but I eventually got frustrated and wasn’t feeling very creative at all. 

I got so caught up in reinventing myself that I forgot who I was. My latest song utilizes some really familiar chords in a really familiar progression, (I also can’t seem to stop writing about plants, heights, and girl power — forgive me) but it feels good to be back to my old self again. 

I hope that as I progress, my writing and abilities will grow with me. I’m really excited about these latest songs. Please stick it out with me! 

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life update!

June 11, 2013

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Hello Everyone! I’m still alive and well! I graduated from Belmont this past December and I’m currently working full time for a concert series in Nashville. I love my job, and I’m actively working on new songs and left-handed guitar. I have high hopes for lots of exciting music in the future. Stay tuned!

my brother ben.

July 7, 2012

I’ve recently started going to a ballroom dance class. My first time I was a little nervous because of all the hand holding with complete strangers. It’s interesting seeing who notices, who doesn’t, and who needs a few double-takes. But I love dancing, so I decided not to care and just be myself. 

Tonight I had the honor of meeting my new friend, Ben. Ben was in a farm machinery accident around age 5 and lost his left arm. He leads his wife around the dance floor like a pro. I introduced myself and we swapped stories. You don’t have to fill in the blanks when you’re family. You already know. So I said, “I play guitar.” Ben looked right at me and said, “You have everything you need.” 

Ben kissed both of my cheeks at the end of the dance party and I will never forget him. 

In November I wrote a post about the beginning of things changing for my life and the reason why you haven’t heard from me since is because my life has been a whirlwind of dreams coming true. 

Two months ago today, I released my first recording project entitled “In the Year of Letting Go.” I played all of the guitar parts on this record and I am unhealthfully proud of it.

I don’t know if anyone still follows this blog — originally my wreck recovery blog, this blog currently stands as a place to document my progress with guitar and the ups and downs of it all. Fortunately, my accident no longer plagues my life, and my impairment is not the spotlight of my existence, but I intend to continue posting here — tunings I’ve found and love, techniques I’m struggling with (here’s a brand new one…slide), how much I need to practice more often…Oh my.

Anyway, the EP! I’m going to be writing it’s story here

And if you’re still here and reading, thank you. What an amazing journey we’ve had together. 

the beginning.

November 6, 2011

This past week has been pretty overwhelming. On the 29th I had the honor of performing two of my originals at Belmont’s Fall Follies (A comedy show very similar to SNL with featured musical guests.) I’ve dreamt of playing Follies for the past four years when I first saw the Delta Saints play the event. I auditioned last year but didn’t make it through the large sea of qualified musicians. This year I upped my game with a new song, “Quitter.”

This post isn’t really about playing Follies. And although it was an absolute dream come true, it really represents something else: the beginning. The night before Follies, I prayed to God that this would be the day I dare to hope for my musical career. I had no idea how much He would respond with that prayer.

I’ve been working on my guitar and reinventing myself as an artists like crazy lately. I don’t think I was ready before. I needed a season to be at war with the changes of the wreck and decide if this is what I really wanted. It hasn’t been easy. I’ve had the rug pulled out from under me a few times, one specific instance inspired “Quitter,” but I’ve been in a season of trying to obey God. I’m not sure how well I’ve been doing, but I know that for every inch I’m willing to give, He’s ready with miles.

“Quitter” has gone over really well with my peers. I must say, I love singing it. God is so mysterious, because I wrote the song in a lot of pride and anger over someone who hurt me, and God has taken that song and has used it to move others and draw them to Him (including me). I think people relate to recovery stories. They want to recover. They want to grow. They resonate with the truth that in the mess, there is one resounding truth, we’re all human beings created by the Savior and Creator of the universe.

I’m still learning what it means to be a forgiver, and I think the greatest lesson I have to learn is fully giving my life to God. I’ve been a bit overwhelmed by how quickly God is moving my career forward. I almost forgot. God is the Author of Time. He will give me more songs to write in His timing. He will open up the opportunities and help me meet them in His timing. And my greatest priority should not be my music but making Him Lord over my life, which is no small task for a control freak.

So stick around. Things are really moving forward, fast. And I can’t think you enough for sticking it out with me this far. Lord knows it’s been a journey. Here’s to the beginning.

the chicken or the egg.

December 29, 2010

as promised, my video project is now available online! and for now, embedded exclusively here, on my wreck account blog! thank you to all of you who have kept up with my story. some of you come to me, ashamedly admitting that you have been reading, as if it is some sort of invasion of my privacy. don’t worry, i keep a private journal. this blog is for the purpose of the public eye. it means a great deal to me that you have been reading. so thank you.

the following video is something i put together with my awesome and generous friend, justin wylie, for a scholarship application. for those of you who have been following the blog from the beginning, you will understand why this is a really big deal for me. admittedly, i am playing right-handed guitar for this song. it is a little glimpse at the past and an open view of my current situation. this is the first song i wrote on my right-handed guitar following the accident. my guitar had been in his case for a very long time prior to this song…here’s how i felt about that:

http://player.vimeo.com/video/18247919

Kristen Wright | “The Chicken & The Egg” from Justin Wylie on Vimeo.

the chicken or the egg

does it really matter
what came first?
the chicken or the egg?
i don’t care
i don’t care

what am i supposed to do with this
new kind of loneliness?
a heart cut down
in the top of her pride

when i saw him today
i thought i would cry
and all i can ask is, “God,
why, why, why?”

i’ve learned that in loss
we’ve gotta love
even when no one understands
love with all we’ve got
cause that’s what the heart demands

You smile as i admit it
“i am weak”
and i cling to the feeling of Your lips
on my cheek

I’ve learned that in loss
we’ve gotta love
and he feels familiar in my hands
i’m gonna love with all i’ve got
cause that’s what my heart demands

(copyright 2010)

happy new year everyone. here’s to more in 2011!

finally.

November 14, 2010

it was incredible playing for an audience tonight. it has been far too long and it was really good for me.

Playing left-handed at my first show since the wreck.

my performance was far from perfect, but i’m pretty sure i played in tune and i bared a little bit of my soul. that’s what matters right? and i learned so much from the performance…but really. i’m performing again. one word: bliss!

i alternated between playing left-handed and right-handed. one song is right-handed because my finger picking is much stronger coming from five fingers and honestly, playing right-handed is far more familiar and sounds better. i don’t think i’ve mentioned this yet on the blog, but i’ve been playing right-handed with a cut-capo system. it’s basically instant open tuning, which allows me to fret most chords with two fingers.

the show went really well. stay tuned for the video project! it is finished! i’m just waiting to get the finalized product online and it will be yours!! here’s a picture from tonight to tide you over.

great news.

i’m playing my first public show since the wreck this saturday, november 13th, at ugly mugs in east nashville. it’s mosaic’s writer’s in the round show. (fun fact: my first nashville show was this exact same setting back in april of 2009…and i haven’t played a show here in town since.) i couldn’t be more thrilled to share the night with artists, jenny ray and duo, handsome and gretel. so if you’re interested the show will be at 7:00 at ugly mugs.

how do i feel about my first public show since the wreck? victorious! and a little scared. haha! i will be playing all originals, and there is sure to be a little soul bearing. i love performing and it has been far too long since i’ve been able to sit behind a guitar and play my work. i suppose the most intimidating aspect about next saturday is my ability to play…but i know that audiences are forgiving and if i drop my pick or play some muted strings, the show will go on. i’ve learned that the best way to get better at playing for others is to play for others and learn from experience. see you saturday?

more big news!

after the show next weekend, i will be premiering a really exciting project online. i’m applying for a scholarship for musicians with disabilities and i needed to submit recordings of live representations of my music. soon after the show next weekend, a video will be online youtube/here/everywhere of me playing a new song. look for the big premiere post here!! stay tuned!

september.

September 2, 2010

well…it’s september. in just over a couple of weeks i will have completed my first year since the wreck. my heart is filled with two very different emotions. one, dread. it has been interesting to be back at belmont for a fall semester. fall semesters are far different from spring semesters. everything is new and there is so much to adjust to. it’s very easy to get wrapped up in the idea of “a year,” but most of all, i fear how i will feel on that day.

last year, around this time, i had this Holy Spirit kind of feeling in my gut like my life was about to change drastically. i felt like i was on an edge and that everything was about to tip into motion. one could argue instead that the motion of my life came to a halt. in so many ways, it did. within the months following my wreck, i learned so much about the importance of rest (however, i still have much more to learn). really though, i think my life just took on a different pace, and maybe a ninety degree turn. God has been teaching me so much over the last twelve months and i know it’s only the beginning.

which brings me to my second emotion: relief. i am so ready to have made it through the first year. someone asked me once if my current state of being with eight fingers was a touchy subject. the answer? absolutely not. this is my reality now. it’s not like a bad breakup that i would prefer not to mention until i’m in a new relationship. getting through the first year is a relief because i can begin to dwell in life outside of the first year of healing.

i have wonderful news to report. when i left for school last january, i measured my grip strength to be around a 24 in my left hand (remember, it was initially a 4?) with my right hand around a 60. i went into the physical therapy office right before i moved back to nashville and my new left hand grip is a 37 with my right hand getting even stronger at a 79. my left hand is now over half the strength of my original right hand grip, and i think my right hand is getting stronger from playing left-handed guitar (which is getting a lot better). overall, everything is getting better. i’m writing again, piano seems to be opening up new creative opportunities, and my degree is taking some exciting turns at belmont this semester. please pray for me as the 17th draws closer. thanks for all the support this past year. more to come!

nine months.

June 17, 2010

today marks nine months since the accident. i know i haven’t written in two months. i’m going to do what i usually do and blame it on homework. although, i am happy to report that i am six days away from being completely done with summer school! this means that i am home in indiana again. i am taking six credit hours at the local community college which will help me to keep a more sane level of course work when i go back to nashville in the fall. to clarify, i am not taking summer school so that i can “graduate on time.” the semester off last fall will have me graduating in december of 2012 instead of may, but that is within four years of schooling.

it is so good to be home. i am completely devoting this summer to relearning guitar and making music. i have been picking up the guitar more than ever now that i have more time on my hands, and i am starting to get more familiar with my old tricks. i am even writing a little bit more, which is extremely exciting. i have really struggled with the pressure of writing over the past nine months, but i am starting to learn how to let go of that. at first, i really struggled to write because i was afraid of having to write amazing, gut wrenching, post car accident songs. those may come, but i’ve learned that writing is a creative process that isn’t meant to be pushed into a mold. also, i had a lot of baggage with learning to write without my guitar skills as a firm foundation. before, i wrote within the limits of my guitar (which is a horrible place to be, even before a double digit amputation); and now, i’m learning to write without that limit. it is a much freer and a much more terrifying place to be as a writer, but i am anxious to see what songs may come of it.

being as it is nine months since the accident, i wanted to do something special, so i’ve included a photo of me playing left handed. sometime in the future, i’d like to do a video, but this should do for now. as you may be able to see, there is a little contraption clipped to the bottom of the sound hole.

playing left-handed with my new hand saddle!

just earlier this week, my dad fashioned a sort of saddle for my left hand to rest in. my dad is a genius. i was telling him that i was having trouble stabilizing my left hand for finger picking because i used my pinky against the frame of the guitar when i was playing right handed. it is difficult to see in the picture, but he essentially made me a device to stabilize my hand over the strings. i just started working with it earlier this week, so everything is really new. i will keep the blog updated to see how i progress with it. right now, it works great; however, my left hand doesn’t. so it will definitely take some practice.

as far as everything else goes…i’m doing pretty good. God has blessed me with the greatest family and friends anyone could ask for (yes, this means you!), and my PTSD isn’t as acute as it was earlier this year. i still get the occasional bad day, but God has taught me so much in this journey, and i am so blessed! i promise to update this blog FREQUENTLY this summer. once summer school is over (6 DAYS!) i will be nonstop music. i love you all, and thank you for all your support and prayers these past nine months!