On any given Thursday night, you will find me wracked from a long day at the office, reclining on the couch before the mighty television. Staring me down from across the shag rug, my guitar sits still and quiet as if to taunt me.

It rests there, leaning comfortably, grinning, almost, as if to dare me to pick it up, to prove it. Its masking tape “X” reminds me that each strike could be my last round of “Family Feud,” my last game of tic tac toe.

I picked it up last night, strumming it gently, singing faintly, seeking something new. But the chords sounded the same (maybe worse), the words sounded the same (maybe worse), and the melody sounded the same (maybe worse).

There are times when I touch it and songs spring forth like raindrops in a storm. There are times when it sounds brand new, when merely looking in its direction inspires.

This is not one of those times.

My friend Jason, at a recent meeting of music executive big wigs, toasted me as the most prolific independent artist he knows. Today, I wear that badge like a scarlet letter. That letter — bruised, battered, world-weary, wind-whipped and worn — is the letter x.

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