Reflecting on winter, the issue with blogging, and how you can score a free concert tee

     I have memories of  giant hills blanketed with fresh powder, my cousins and sisters, hand in hand as we climb to the top of our mountain. Silent but resolved, heavily dragging our feet. One foot in front of the other. 
     Crunch. Crunch. Crunch. 
     Upon reaching the top, the mood breaks and we look out over the park that borders our cousins' backyard. It was a sizable distance for a group kids with a yearning for speed and icy abandon. We flung ourselves down the hill without hesitation. Some of us had actual sleds or toboggans, but our family neglected to equip up with adequate tools, and we soon began experimenting with any flat, thin object we wedge our frames onto. Some were more successful than others. Cookie sheets, Trash can lids, storage containers, you name it.
     When we fell, we would lay there for several minutes, too cold and tired to rise. Only the sky visible, the edges of my snow impression rising several inches above my head.
     If I don't move, will I die here?
     How long will it take somebody to find me if I fell asleep?                            
        These are the thoughts running through your head when you're abruptly flung from your cookie sheet. 
     Winters were brutal back then, or at least we thought they were. We would circle up next to their wood-burning stove afterwards, our wet clothes dripping, slung over chairs and tables. I'd pretend I was Laura Ingalls Wilder because who else had a wood-burning stove? I can't help but reminisce in the midst of this bizarre Midwest winter. It's been one of the warmest on record, with hardly any snow forecasted at all. Heck, last week the trees were opening their blooms early in the consistent 70 degree weather. In true Missouri fashion, we've rebounded into blizzard-like conditions this week. The blooms, once signaling the promise of warmth, now lay covered in a blanket of frost and ice.
   As any Midwesterner knows, the snow and ice will disappear later this week, and the blooms will thaw. The snow that falls outside my window is merely a temporary inconvenience, as it's not cold enough to stick to the ground. Not enough to shut down workplaces or cause school closings. Plenty to slow traffic. The flakes flurry around your body, melting on your cheeks, your hair, your car. 
     I suppose these are very minor problems; truly, children in Uganda have it much worse. But, please, Missouri, give me winter or give me summer. Make up your damn mind, k? thx.
     Moving on,
     The issue with maintaining a Blog (with a capital 'B') is putting out quality content consistently. This translates into writing things that people actually want to read, multiple times a week if you're good at it. It requires commitment, writing when you don't feel the creative calling, and being meticulous about tagging and analytics.
     I adore language in all forms--literature, storytelling, performance, you name it. I waited patiently until midnight for the release of each Harry Potter Book, and my cousins and I would sit and watch the movies until we memorized every production mistake. I spent a lot of time with my cousins. 
      I remember being young, still in diapers, sitting on my mother's lap, as she read "I Love You Forever" by Robert Munsch. You know the book I'm referring to, the cover featuring a chubby baby boy sitting in a white tiled bathroom next to a toilet and a roll of un-done toilet paper. Love has been communicated to me through language and words since I was small. It represents a refuge from the storm, a cathartic release of emotion. The lowest parts in my life have been logged in a grid-lined notebook.
     So why should I struggle with maintaining a blog? The answer is largely due to my concern I'd put out content that nobody would find pleasure in reading. I spend an inordinate amount of time backspacing.
     Nah, that sounds trite.
     Have you even taken an English class?

     But, as they say, practice makes perfect--or better at least. So I bravely move forward with a new goal of posting once a week. Do you have a topic you'd like me to talk about? Something you were curious about? Make sure you shoot me a message with your ideas! 
     And finally, I'm pleased as punch to share that my first official concert tee is now available for order! Available in both men's and women's v-cut and in a variety of colors. The tee is $25, but if you purchase your tickets to "Duet" at the same time you'll get $5.00 off of your tee! Designed by phenomenally talented Saint Louis artists: photographer, Craig Warnhoff and visual artist, Parker Gibson.  Stay tuned for a full photoshoot in my new merch swag!

     And to kick off this swag launch, I'm giving away a free concert tee to one new subscriber to my newsletter, released initially quarterly. You can sign up by clicking the link below and electing to receive my artist newsletter containing tons of fun anecdotes, updates about my upcoming shows, ticketing information, etc. I promise not to share your email with any third parties! The contest will last one week--I'll announce the winner next Wednesday, March 22nd via Instagram. Let the games begin!

     Can't make it my next show? Here's your chance to show your support! Order your own official Emily Johnson concert tee, catch the show streamed LIVE via Instagram, and enjoy the performance from the comfort of your own home. Select 'Shop' in the menu to check it out!
     Speaking of my next show, "Duet," we had our first rehearsal last week! We streamed one song live to 25 viewers total--in my opinion, not shabby for my first live broadcast on social media. I gave away two free tickets to the show, awarded to Alex Bertman (@ajamesbermann) for his viewership. Make sure you tune into our next live rehearsal, streaming on Sunday, March 26th at 7:30pm, for your chance to win!
     Show-planning has been stressful, as it always is, but it was good to get the first rehearsal under our belt. It's my first time coordinating a full band for a performance, so I was anxious leading up to our first meeting.
     Would the musicians very be able to jive without appointing a music director?
     Would the performers be prepared or even show up?

     How do I communicate with the band in a way that expresses what I want even if I don't read music? 
     I was definitely nervous. I feel like there isn't much guidance available to an independent performer producing her own shows. It's kind of a learn from your friends, your idols, the show you saw on a whim or the one you paid good money for kind of a situation. I'll get on that soap box at a later date, but our first rehearsal came and went without any major catastrophe or snafu  Major thanks to my band, the cast of "Duet,"  and those pals who tuned in for our live broadcast. I couldn't make these shows happen without your consistent support! 
    I think that about caps it for today, strangers and friends. I hope your week is productive and relaxing in all the right ways. Check back next week for another post!