A Couch of One's Own
How dreaming of just a couch to sleep on changed my music and myself.
Illustration by Katie Parrish
Alot of folks who bash a guitar aspire to clubs, festies or the stadium circuit. But when I was eighteen, the street, specifically Washington Square Park, is where I wanted to play music, to make money and to grow a pair of man-sized performing cojones. I wanted strangers who had no reason to like or dislike me to stop and either drop a buck, break into a smile or, at the very least, stay for the entire song. The further goal was to have one of these strangers invite me to crash at their apartment that night.
I’d started playing at thirteen in my rural Westchester town in order to reach people, because I could barely talk. Fresh out of three years of special ed, I was terrified of the “normal” kids in high school, and my words came out one by one, if at all, unless I knew the person very well.
I found an old Gibson acoustic guitar in my parents’ closet that summer, yanked it out and learned to string it and tune it from my school’s music teacher. Almost as s…
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