Even when it’s bad, it’s good to be alive…

I’m writing this blog post from bed. A bed in my dad’s house in Forsyth Missouri to be specific. I was supposed to be in LA by now to celebrate my brother’s 40th birthday, but my plans were severely altered by a recently replaced CV joint/boot that pulled my car into the center divider of the Will Rogers Turnpike going 70 mph.

For the record, because I know some of you might be thinking it, I was not texting and driving. I really try not to do that. I admit I do it at stop lights sometimes, but not while in motion. I was distracted however. It was early on in my cross country trip back to California from Missouri and I was keeping busy eating sunflower seeds which made my mouth salty and dry. My bottle of water was no where to be found on the passenger seat and I noticed it had fallen down into the floor of the passenger side and rolled under the seat a little.  Cruise control was set at 70 mph which was the speed limit. I steadied the car and leaned down to fish for the water bottle. Before I knew it I had lost control of the car and it was pulling hard to the left and directly into the center divider.

The next thing I knew the car and I were in the air. I had a brief dance with zero gravity before the gravitational pull of the earth forced the car, now completely flipped, back onto the asphalt highway lanes. The car was sliding upside down across two lanes of highway and headed into a ditch. While sliding upside down I felt calm and serene. Even with the roof that was caving in, and the twisted metal that seemed to be all around me, I never felt compressed or restricted. At this point the windshield started to twist and shatter. I felt shards of broken glass against my face. I closed my eyes and mouth and then felt an intense blast of glass shards raining against my body. I also felt the glass bouncing off my face. eventually the sliding stopped and I could see grass and dirt outside the passenger window. The window was gone and it looked like there was enough room for me to squeeze out of the opening.

I crawled out from under the overturned wreck of what used to be my car. I stood up and dusted myself off. I felt a slight pain in my right knee and saw some dark blood spots forming in the right knee area of my jeans. I noticed my left hand had a very tiny cut on the fleshy part of my palm and there was some blood trickling out of that minor cut. I was in shock and felt very clear and hyper aware of my surroundings. All 4 wheels of the Honda were still spinning. I saw 5 people running over to where I was, just standing next to my car and slowly realizing that my glasses were no longer on my face.  The folks running towards me were other early morning travelers who saw the whole thing. one of them was a retired EMT who checked me out. A nice couple helped me brush away flecks of broken glass from around my eyes and then a highway partol officer arrived and called a tow truck. I could feel the shock and adrenaline having its way with my body, masking any pain or injury I might have sustained. The ambulance showed up next and a very nice EMT took my vital signs. She told me how lucky I was to have survived. She asked me if I wanted to go to the hospital to get checked out. Influenced by the reality of the loss of my car and the expense of the towing that was imminent and whatever expenses that lay ahead as a result, I opted to decline an ambulance ride and an emergency hospital visit. She said that I seemed in pretty good shape considering what I had just been through and had me sign some paper work confirming that I did not accept a ride to the hospital.

From this point on reality was washing over me and all I could think about was what sort of condition all of my belongings were in as I had nearly everything I owned in the back seat and truck and OH MY GOD MY GUITARS ARE IN THE BACK SEAT….!!! I NEED TO HAVE A LOOK AT MY GUITARS! CAN SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME GET MY GUITARS OUT OF THE BACK SEAT!?!?

Two emergency responders got on their hands and knees and pulled out my left handed electric telecaster and my left handed Garrison acoustic.  The tele was in a hard case and in perfect working order. The Garrison was in a soft case and I was expecting the worst when I unzipped the gig bag.  Miraculously the guitar was fine. no chips, cracks or any damage whatsoever. Just severely out of tune. I was re-tuning it when the tow truck arrived.  I had to make room for the wrecker to flip the car back over. While that was going on I continued to inspect the guitars. Once satisfied, I kissed the body of my tele and put her back in the case.

The next thing I knew I was being shepherded to the tow yard where I had to hand over a few hundred for the towing. My loved ones had been notified about my accident and were driving 3.5 hours to Oklahoma to retrieve me. After a long afternoon of waiting, and fielding calls and texts of concern from friends and family, the calvary finally arrived and we all transferred my belongings into my dad’s SUV. It was a long drive back to my dad’s place in Forsyth Missouri (where I am recovering now) and on that drive a wave of deep dark depression hit me as the weight of my situation sank in. No car, very little money and stranded in the middle of smalltown USA. I was on my way to California because my Kindness of Strangers Tour was finally over and I had a seasonal job waiting for me in San Francisco. How the heck was I going to get back to California now? Earlier in the day, while stranded in GH Auto Repair and Wreckers, my producer and dear friend George Landress called me for a bit of a pep talk. He told me that even if I may not know it, a lot of people love me and would want to help me in my time of need. He said that shit happens and that the best way forward is to shake it off and keep moving and to not wallow in the darkness of the misfortune. George believes in me and is a huge supporter of what I do and who I am. I am so thankful for his words and his encouragement. He told me to set up a crowdfunding page in an effort to recover some of the loss. He assured me that my friends, fans and loved ones would show up for me and that the loss would not feel so challenging once I gave myself permission to accept help. So the next am, feeling thankful to be alive I watched as the donations rolled in with each refresh of the “Brian’s Accident Recovery” Go Fund Me page.

Here is a pic of my trusty tour vehicle after the tow truck turned it right side up again:

car

and here is a pic of some glass that I pulled out of my ear this morning:

glass

I’ll post the link to my accident recovery Go Fund Me page in case anyone feels compelled to help me reach the goal that was set for the campaign. We are pretty close now, but everything helps and will greatly assist me getting back in the game. I thank you all in advance. Here is the link:

http://www.gofundme.com/briantravis

My friends and fans and supporters are showing up for me in a big way and I don’t know how to thank you all. I’m overwhelmed with the outpouring of support during this difficult time. I just want to hug you all and never stop. Being an indi artist is so challenging and set backs like this are absolutely the worst…but it is during times like these that I see how much people really believe in what I do when they put hard earned cash down to help me keep going.  So many have re-posted the link on their social media pages and said such nice things to encourage others to help me out. One of my favorites comes from my dear friend Serena who posted: “A lot of you may know my dear friend Brian Travis from the LA music scene, Renaissance Faire, and Dickens. He flipped his car going 70mph on a highway in Oklahoma, while he was trying to drive back to California. Miraculously, he was not injured, but now he’s in a tough spot financially, as his car was totaled. He’s brought joy to many of you through the years, please help if you can.” It’s nice to know that I’ve brought joy to many people over the years through either my music or just being who I am. As a very self critical artist, I often feel blind to the joy I am bringing others and tend to focus on the missed chords or inadequate venue sound or the misgivings of my voice and pitch. I am much too hard on myself and I guess one of the many lessons in this is that the world is hard enough already. Shit happens and more people than you realize love you. Be a little easier on yourself and never give up. Shake it off and keep moving forward. And remember that you are very lucky to be here. Share your gifts, share your talents and share your love.  The world is a crazy and dangerous place, but it’s also a very rewarding and miraculous. From the start my tour was called “The Kindess Of Strangers Tour”. The concept was to survive on the road as long as possible while playing as many shows as possible only accepting what was offered to me through the connections I made through my music. It was a donations based “pay what you like” kind of thing. I got to perform shows in LA, SF, Santa Cruz, Cottage Grove, Eugene and Portland Oregon, Joshua Tree, Grand Junction, Boulder & Denver Colorado, Oklahoma City, Branson and Springfield Missori, and Athens Georgia. I never once went hungry or was left out in the cold. Now, at my darkest moment of the tour, you all show up for me in droves and I can’t thank you all enough.

Back in 2001 I wrote a songs called Temporary (about a dear friends suicide) which was recorded on my very first full length Brian Travis Band CD. The chorus of the lyrics are as follows:

“Do you really understand

you’re just another grain of sand

and everything in life is temporary

Did all that you believe only serve to make you sad?

Did you have to suicide?

Even when its bad, even when it’s bad

its good to be alive.”

– Even when it’s bad it’s good to be alive indeed…

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