I can't say if my favorite part was playing shows or writing new songs.
I can only say that I really enjoyed both, probably equally. It'd be tough to say one was better than the other. They were both better than driving home late at night after shows- when your eyes burned, Gatorade was warm, CD's were down by the sleeping guitarist' feet and the exit was always a few too miles down the road. Warm Gatorade is the worst way to drink Gatorade.
Drinking Gatorade right after you brush your teeth is the second.
But with another four years coming to close and coincidentally another phase in my life coming to a close, I've been looking back on my years in Portland, the years in between the nonsense & swinging good times at Goucher and the life-searching and penny-pinching times here in Philadelphia. Halfway through those years, I started to feel a disconnect with the person I was in the previous years, the Goucher years. Pictures became pictures of someone else with other people and memories- slide shows of a long lost vacation. It became hard to relate to those years; to communicate with the folks from those years. If I hadn't changed, then I might be changing and who knows how that change has affected me currently.
In Philly, it happened sooner and now it happens frequently. Not only with the Goucher years, but also the Portland years and everything that goes with them. It's the feeling of the page turning, of the weather changing, of the sun setting (or rising.) Moving on again seems to have created a mental disconnect as well as just a geographical disconnect and I'm not sure if that's normal. I'm not sure if wondering what I actually did in the band really happened or if that one show was really that fun or if that sunset coming around Long Island was really that profound. I can't remember Wednesday nights- what I did and how I did it. I've lost sight of the details, of the things not pictured, framed and/or put in an album.
But I remember that if we were either playing an awesome live show or writing a great new tune, the emotion I felt was pure joy. A giddy joy accompanied by the broad smile reserved for only the purest of situations. It was unlike anything else and I remember how differently my heart felt before and after, how I would drive home after practice humming the new song and mumbling what I thought were Chayes' lyrics or how I'd wake up in the morning, feel the pain in my elbows and know that the night before must have been fun.
When the memories and the feelings have worn off and become experiences you remember as things that happened- that's when the change happens. That's when you focus on the forward and the road ahead. So pocket up those memories and file away the experiences- rely on them to help get you through. You may never smile that way again for that reason. That's life. But it doesn't mean you won't smile that way again for something else.
Or more importantly, someone else.