Early in 2012, more as a winter-spring resolution than a New Year’s one, I made myself a deal. I would get out and sing in public once a month. More, if I could work up the nerve. Every time I did it, I rewarded myself with a sticker on my calendar. Shut up. I teach 5-year-olds. It works for us.

By the end of December I had 15 stickers.

I wasn’t sure if I still needed the sticker deal in 2013. In 2012 I went to a bunch of open mics, I wrote a song, I finally got serious about learning guitar, I went to music camp, I sang on a faculty concert at one of the schools where I’m on the voice faculty, and I even got paid to sing once or twice elsewhere. I was doing better than I expected, as a musician, after a long and frightening dry spell.

Tonight I got the first sticker of the new year. My old bandmate Rob Wilson hosted a song session at the High Street Station Cafe, and I stopped by after work, and there was a whole roomful of ballads and sea chanties and one or two songs that could seriously make you cry. I think the rafters in that place, if it has rafters, are just a little higher now.