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"Is That All There Is?"

I was rereading a very complimentary review of one of our records. 
The reviewer said this: 
"It's one of the best songs Jack has written 
in his long career as a songwriter." 

I read the write-up about a dozen times 
due apparently to a self-esteem problem. 
Then I started to think "What's wrong? 
I should be happier than this." 

Digging through my cluttered ego, 
I think I found the problem. 
It was the phrase "his long career". 

That's it? That was the career? 
Somehow I've always thought of myself as an up-and-comer, 
expecting to break into a career at any moment. 
I didn't know I was actually having one... 
a long one. 

I guess any musician who gets through life 
without resorting to a day job, 
can call it a career. 

How could I have had this alleged long career 
when I still feel 27 years old inside? 
It must be insecurity 
when I take a compliment as an obituary. 

Peggy Lee sang a famous song titled "Is That All There Is?". 
I know the song is good, 
but I always avoided listening to it. 
When it comes on, I mentally cover my ears and sing Jingle Bells, 
fake a coughing fit, 
or just leave the room. 
Some songs cut too close to the truths we don't want to hear. 

I write sad songs about life and death, 
so who am I to talk? 
But if I'm in the later chapters of a long career, 
where's my mansion? 
My big bank account? 

Misty and I were never Nashville insiders, 
and we never got paid for most of our efforts, 
but for some reason we still love our work, 
and will never retire. 
We're waiting for some excitement... 
a tour... 
the Big Break. 

Retirement to me is like endless recess. 
We have too much left to do. 

We'd like to move to Cortland, New York. 
It's beautiful country, 
they have a Country Music Hall of Fame, 
and there's an apple named after the town. 
So why not? 

Or maybe Tennessee or California, Australia or Buffalo. 
Somewhere to see new or old things. 
Have an adventure. 

I know Misty and I have been doing this for a lot of years, 
and yet it seems like one year. 
We've had unbelievable fun, 
and some real hell along the way. 
The bad times made the good times taste better. 
It's the contrasts. 

We still want more. 
We're addicted to life and music. 
Is that all there is? 
Not if I can help it. 

Copyright  March 12, 2006, Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission. 


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