I student at MTSU interviewed me for his project!

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! 

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.

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!

piano scales.

July 12, 2010

did i mention that i am a music major? well, i am and i’m pretty sure that most music majors from all over the country learn piano before they graduate. at belmont, you have to pass this exam called the piano proficiency and the exam includes a variety of piano skills that have to be demonstrated, one being scales. i, by no means, am a pianist. i have tried to learn several times, but piano is not an instrument that i have ever felt extremely comfortable playing. at the time of my accident, i was in my third semester of piano classes and i was preparing to take my proficiency exam at the end of that course. i was generally ready to pass it. i had learned all of my scales and i was starting to feel like the skills of piano were attainable.

i was really good at scales. now, in the real world, scales aren’t the most valuable of skills to be proud of. no one pays for a ticket to listen to a pianist demonstrate E harmonic minor. but at belmont, it is essential to play scales well for a firm foundation in piano, and i was on my way to piano proficiency greatness.

piano scales were designed to be played by ten-fingered people, so you can imagine my current frustration. i am still required to pass the piano proficiency, and i genuinely want to. i’ve always wanted to be halfway decent behind the ivories, and i want to truly earn the degree that belmont proudly uses to create wonderful musicians. most of my peers have passed this exam by this point in their four-year plan, but i’ve decided to take a vacation from piano classes until the spring semester of 2011 and practice independently until then. because piano is going to be so different for me now, it’s important to explore my current abilities and limits. currently, i’m starting from square one with scales.

i can proudly say that i am working on a method and have mastered the C, G, D, and A major scales. each scale presents a new challenge and the challenges of gracefully moving from white to black keys is much easier with ten fingers. also, i have to deprogram my mind from the original understanding of which fingers move together since i’m learning to play the scales with both hands.

relearning piano and relearning guitar bring completely different challenges and frustrations. guitar is difficult because i’m teaching my hands to do something that is unnatural (playing left-handed) and new (having zero callouses on my right hand after having several years worth on my left). having eight fingers does not play as large of a role in holding me back from learning. piano is different. it is not physically difficult to push a key, but my loss of two fingers seems to be screaming much louder when i try to learn a new scale. because each scale is different, i have to figure out what combination of 3, 2, 1, 2, 1…etc. i can play to get from one octave to the next. i am curious to see how i will progress with the rest of the scales. my goal is to have all of them mastered again by january. by then, i will be starting my first piano class since the accident. i’ll keep you updated!

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!

i’m learning what it means to be content. tomorrow marks seven months since my accident and i’ve gone through a lot of significant struggles and changes since that day. i’m at a place now where i am learning to accept where i am and be content with what i’m doing with my life. i’m not saying it’s easy. some days are better than others and i often find myself feeling extremely behind. because my guitar skills have been stripped away, i often feel like all the work i have done up until this point has been erased and i have to start again at square one.

but it’s important for me to remember where i was seven months ago and where i was five months ago, and so on. i am physically independent again. i am no longer changing bandages on my body. i am a full time student. my life is surrounded by music daily and i am enjoying my time here at belmont. no, i’m not where i thought i would be a year ago, but i am where i need to be in this healing process. i came here to this semester to finish what i started last semester, and that’s what i’m doing.

i’m really looking forward to the summer. i haven’t been able to devote as much time to guitar and piano as i would have liked since i’ve been here and i have cleared my schedule to do just that. i lot of patience is going to be needed ahead. prayers are appreciated! 🙂

i’m officially done with physical therapy today! i am thrilled with the progress i’ve made. my hand has improved tenfold since i started back at the end of october. i mastered the dreaded black clothespins, the heaviest weight. and i am especially proud to say i met my grip strength goal today! my initial grip strength in my left hand was a four, while my right hand was around a sixty. my therapist said our goal would be twenty. i was thrilled the day i met the strength of ten, but today, my grip strength was twenty-four. my left hand is at least one-third the power of my right, and that is a huge comfort. when i think back to where i was, this is the sweetest of victories. of course, my therapy does not really end. everyday is a new challenge for my hand, and my hand is meeting it. a good friend asked me the other day what my biggest limitation is at this point (aside from guitar and piano). i answered my grip strength, and even that isn’t so bad anymore.

the dreaded black clothespins

of course, this is not the entire picture of the challenges ahead. i leave for school on the tenth and i have no idea what God has in store for me this year. i do know that i’m pretty much open to anything now. my life is God’s. that’s one thing i’ve definitely taken away from all of this. pray for me with this semester coming up. i’m a little anxious about it still, but i’m also eager for a change of pace. there are a lot of unknowns ahead, but i do know that God is my life now. happy 2010 everyone!