That Time I Played Guitar

There was a time, way back when, that I played guitar for a very brief period. No idea why, but that’s what our prompt of “musical” brought to mind and so that’s where we ended up for today’s post. As a child of the 70’s, I was in love with the singer songwriters of the time. Amazingly talented people who could simply grab a guitar and write something catchy and incredible that moved my heart. Though I always wanted to play the guitar like they did, this wasn’t an instrument taught in my school so I ended up playing the violin instead. Don’t get wrong, I loved it, but a part of me still longed to strum a guitar and write songs. You can’t really sing along while playing a violin. It wasn’t until high school that the urge grew too much for me and I decided to try guitar. My dad bought me a mail order one which was delivered when we weren’t home and the postman strangely thought the best place to conceal it was under the car in the driveway. Luckily, we found it before someone backed over it, and I soon begin lessons. It was all a dream come true, until, months later, a car accident would change everything.

My guitar instructor was wonderful and introduced me to classical guitar music. This meant strumming with all fingers rather than using a guitar pick. I adored it and practiced like crazy, quickly becoming rather good, strumming my way through all kinds of wonderful music. Soon after, I began my last year of high school, excited to serenade my friends. But by the time the holiday season arrived, I was equally busy with lots of various holiday parties. I was President or Vice-President of several clubs and the end of the year meant hopping to various gatherings. It was driving home from the very last gathering, perhaps overly exhausted, that everything changed. I don’t quite remember what happened, but think I may have nodded off briefly, and suddenly there was a horrible sound of crushing metal and a fierce impact. I stumbled out of my crumpled car, still wearing a silly Christmas tie that played music. I don’t have many memories of what happened next. The clearest memory after that was waking up in a hospital bed with two fractured hips. And, also, a faint feeling of thinking how creepy it must have been for whoever found me to see a stumbling boy mumbling “help me” to a slow, tinny electronic rendition of Jingle Bells.

My head was bandaged when I awoke, my ear had been partially severed in the crash as well. It was restored, without any visible scarring, though I still like to think of it as my Van Gogh moment. Soon, a giant bag of letters and cards arrived. Apparently, news travels fast and when it travels through the grapevine, people often get things wrong. Many thought I was dead, but I still appreciated their kind thoughts and well wishes. Not many people have a chance to hear what someone might say about them after they are gone. But other than hobbling around on crutches for a few weeks, I was miraculously alive. One injury, however, was small yet devastating. The index finger of my right hand, was broken in several places. It healed only to a point, with limited moment. I could still hold a violin bow, but I now lacked the coordination required to strum my beloved guitar. I was crushed and lost, at first, but soon discovered that I could still hold a pencil to write and draw. Especially easily, as it turns out, since my finger seemed to be slightly locked in that position. Life doesn’t always work out like we hope, but if we continue to have hope, it always delivers something wonderful.  And though I never became that singer songwriter of my dreams, I don’t have any regrets. Just a fond and lasting memory of that time I played guitar.

Join Us For The March Art Challenge – Paint What You Like!
Click Here To Learn More!

About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Quinacridone Red, Terra Cotta, and Cobalt Blue.  Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
#WorldWatercolorGroup - Day 12 - That Time I Played Guitar - Doodlewash

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on, contact me!

Recommended7 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
  1. Sandra Strait 1 week ago

    How horrible that accident must have been! Your account was chilling. And yet you still spoke with humor and found something good in the result. You’re my hero, Charlie. And an artistically talented one, too. You may not be able to play the guitar anymore, but you can paint one with the best!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 7 days ago

      Thank you so much, Sandra! 😃💕Yeah it was a pretty tough time, but I’m thrilled how everything turned out!

  2. Jodi 1 week ago

    Oh Charlie – your stories are so fascinating! Every day you share another nugget of wonder. Thank you!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 7 days ago

      Aww you’re too sweet! Thank you Jodi! 😃💕 I’m beginning to think I’m the doddering old man telling the same stories! hehe… but there’s always some memory that comes back that’s new.

      • Jodi 6 days ago

        I think you have a lot of stories left in you buddy.

  3. Lisa 1 week ago

    My theme phrase is ” trust the process.” .You get that! I have always regretted not learning to play something, but it wasn’t in the cards.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 7 days ago

      Thanks, Lisa! 😃💕 Yes to “trust the process” and also simply “enjoy the journey”… there’s so much to be enjoyed, we couldn’t possibly have time for all of it.

  4. Sharon Mann 1 week ago

    What a story Charlie, sure glad you came through the accident ok. My husband played classical guitar and one of his worst fears was damaging his fingers. You have painted an outstanding guitar. The warmth of the paint choices shows off its beauty.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 7 days ago

      Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕 That’s so awesome your husband played classical guitar!! Yeah, it’s the worst classical guitarist fear… I thankfully hadn’t played that long yet. But there are always other wonderful things life has to offer!

  5. Sharon Nolfi 1 week ago

    I’m sorry to learn about teenage Charlie’s accident. It sounds like you brought your usual positive attitude to the situation, with great results. Your guitar reminds me of all the great 70’s music, including folk songs, which I especially loved.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 7 days ago

      Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕 hehe… yay that this reminded you of that music. It was truly my favorite!

  6. Catnip Blog 1 week ago

    Very scary accident – I’m glad your guardian angel was looking out after you so you could survive and strike just the right “water-color-chord”.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 7 days ago

      hehe… thanks! 😃💕 So happy you liked what came after. Yeah, I’m thrilled to be painting and sketching. It turned out to be my most favorite thing of all!

  7. mynewsdrive 1 week ago

    fascinating Charlie! 🙂
    You are a real hero!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 7 days ago

      That’s so sweet of you! I’m no hero… just a dreamer loving life! Thanks so much! 😃💕

  8. Mama Cormier 1 week ago

    I’m sitting here in awe. I can understand why some of your friends thought you had died. It must have taken awhile for your recovery. Thankfully you’re with us today and you’ve found a new talent that you share with us each and every day.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 7 days ago

      Thank you so much! 😃💕 Yeah, it was a pretty rough time back then, but even with two fractured hips, I healed and went on to teach tap and jazz dancing of all things! hehe… we all have the power to overcome just about anything!

      • Mama Cormier 7 days ago

        You taught dance after that!!! You are truly amazing.

        • Author
          Charlie O'Shields 6 days ago

          hehe… yeah… I taught dance and performed in theatre to pay my way through art school. Using the arts to pay for art I guess! 😊

  9. smzang 1 week ago

    You are indeed a man of many talents!
    and apparently blessed with 9 lives.
    Love this…the painting and the story.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 7 days ago

      Thanks so much, Sarah! 😃💕 Yeah, totally 9 lives… I’m not counting… but so thrilled to be where I am today.

  10. Ellie 1 week ago

    Oh my goodness! What a horrible thing, but in true Charlie form you made the best of it. I once started to learn classical guitar- it is a magical thing. But we are lucky that you continue the magic through your paints!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 7 days ago

      Thank you so much, Ellie! 😃💕 Soooo cool you tried classical guitar… it IS magical isn’t it? Such a fun time I had back then, and even if it’s not possible now, there are still so many more possibilities just waiting to be discovered!

  11. Jacob 1 week ago

    Heck, that’s bad. I suppose, if nothing else, the musical tie might have injected a bit of relief into the event! Lovely guitar, it looks fresh and ready to pick up and ‘play’ (in my case, just go mad and hope for the best!)

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 7 days ago

      Hehe… the musical tie was definitely awesome in the end. What a ridiculous thing to happen! lol I still chuckled about that one. And thanks! 😃💕 Glad you liked the guitar! Go mad and hope for the best if what I do when I play piano. 😉

  12. Snehlata Maheshwari 6 days ago

    Guitar is away some n love the story.

Leave Me A Comment!


Want to say hi and connect? Do you make lovely things with watercolor and want to be featured in the next Guest Artist post?! Great! Not sure, just feel the need to say something? Awesome! Just fill out the form below!


©2015-2018 Doodlewash® | Privacy & Cookie Policy | Disclosure | Site Powered By

- Enter Your Location -
- or -

Log in with your credentials


Forgot your details?


Create Account

%d bloggers like this: