If you want to get good, show up

If you’re learning how to play the guitar, stop thinking about it.

Just pick it up and get started.

95% of getting good is just showing up everyday and working at it.

Derek Sammak
Trust the process

We’ve all heard it before, ”Trust the process”

But what does that really mean?

The best way I can break it down is like this:

The way to truly “trust the process” is to:

Fully let go of trying to control the outcome of what you want.
And to fully give up all expectation for the thing that you want actually working out at all.

If can truly achieve this state of mind, the thing you want will actually happen.
And not in a way you expected, but in a way you didn’t expect, but still fulfills your desire.



ThoughtsDerek Sammak
The Basics

Most of the time when I sit down to do my thing, nothing really exciting happens.

I don’t have anything to say.
I don’t have any fancy licks up my sleeve.

So I bust out the guitar and just play the same old G major chord that’s been around for a million years.

”It feels good, but it’s so boring. It’s been done before. I can’t just do this basic shit”

But who cares.
It sounds good.

If being fancy isn’t working, go back to the basics.
There’s an infinite amount of musical potential with just one chord.

ThoughtsDerek Sammak
Playing guitar is not always fun

Neither is lifting weights, making the bed, or forcing yourself to add some spinach to your smoothie because you realized you haven’t eaten enough greens today.

But you wake up everyday and do it. Because you’re committed. And because there’s something on the other end that is pulling you towards excellence. And because there’s something here now about it that makes you feel alive, present, and capable of anything because you feel yourself actually following through and doing it.

I don’t always like practicing guitar, writing lyrics, singing, or performing. A lot of the times it hurts. But I made a commitment to work at it everyday. Because it keeps me sharp, grounded, and seems to bring joy to other people. So I do it.

Getting inspired is easy. Following through is hard work. But If you are truly committed to anything, you trust the process and get after it.

ThoughtsDerek Sammak
Hospital

Dark halls cloaked in smells.
Plastic, fake, far from home.
Fluorescent faces pacing walls with crinkled wallpaper.
Metal fingers clasping patients waiting for nothing.
Legs are here but want to be outside.
Sneakers squeak and get trapped in spaces closed by corners.
Faces with life that don’t belong here, want to be somewhere else.
Shiny veneer tiles with spatters of dull green and pink multiply.
Cardboard soup and Bingo mustard.
Ashy skin and aged hair.
Yellow eyes with hope and pain.
Cheap patterned curtains and weathered compact discs.
A peaceful body lays on its side, forgotten but warm.
Shower rings like speckled eggs of rust and stuff.
Ink and signatures, checking in and checking out.
Cigarettes.

Object WritingDerek Sammak
Light

Peering in. Peeking.
Kissing my skin and face all day.
Specks of dust float.
Dancing across the beige kitchen counter.
Catching purple and green.
Tiny slivers. Full spectrum.
Bubbles blooming from brisk Pennsylvania water.
Hidden in the woods.
Somewhere but everywhere.
I’ve heard of your speed.
In a book, or on the internet but I’ve never seen you move.
I just know you are there.
Blue pulsating orbs pull the corners of my eye.
Make me look up at you.
Delicate eyelash filters break you up and morph your shape.
Brisk air runs through my lips.
I’m running.
Passes through my teeth, hits my throat and fills my body.
Light shoots like a rocket from the tops of golden green giants and heats the side of my air filled cheek.
A cold pocket of skin being warmed from the outside in.
Cold air, warm light.
Warm. Delicate. Eternal. Love.

Object WritingDerek Sammak
Moon

Rough shingles stick to socks.
Sitting on a forty-five degree angle.
The yellow light from my bedroom backlights as I look up at the silver glow in the sky.
A sharp familiar chirp from nowhere lines the streets.
Fills them with a peaceful sound.
Feeling on the edge.
Literally and figuratively.
Only one story off the ground, but feel my body is somewhere different.
A bit closer to the heavens.
Weightless and ungrounded.
Ready to go anywhere.
Mist against the chalky gutters looks slippery.
Feet are dirty but strong.
Rooted on the roof.
If only I could sleep out here.
Set up a blanket and drift off outside.
But still close to home.
Anchored to reality but ready to embrace the night and it’s infinite darkness.
The moon tempts me with it’s mysterious presence.
The only thing that keeps the rest of the sky from not being completely overwhelming and vast.
The distinct edge of the window sill scrapes and digs into the low of my back.
Nagging and reminding me of the world I must go back to.
Crawl back in; hunched, slow, and small.
Fingers drop slowly and firmly into the carpet.

Child

Tussled hair.
Perfect skin like shiny leaves.
Walking awkwardly through chilled autumn dusk.
Picking crawly bugs from the surface of rocks and rugged pavement
Digging in the cracks of sidewalks
Fingernails long and healthy, filled with cool dirt and earth
Simple feeling overtop the yellow glow, that peers behind the tall and confident pines.
Baby bird hums a familiar song that lets you know it’s almost dinner time.
Blood is warm and cools the skin with a gentle mist, trickling down the furry brow.
Wagon wheels squeak up the street.
Metal, rubber, and gravel echo through the wooden chambers called homes.
Soft yellow glow dances off the street from the streetlight totem poles that line and guard the families living together.
Dust from leaves pepper the sky.

Object WritingDerek Sammak
Pancakes

Oopy. Gloopy. Droopy.
Simple starch.
Complex flavor.
Perfect circle.
So many ways to prepare you but the outcome is always the same.
A little sliver of heaven in the morning.
Heat up the griddle.
Hear the butter sizzle.
Run my fingers across your soft, porous skin.
Warm. Tacky. Fluffy.
Stack you on top of your family.
Sweet caramel ruminates the kitchen.
Too many senses to know what to do with.
I take a bite; soft, chewy, delicate and sweet.
Melts like butter.
Chocolate chips are almost too much to handle.
So good.
You are my friend.
Don’t go to fast though.
Syrupy pool to dip you in.
Most and dewy.
Feels like a carefree time.
A simple pleasure that can only bring you joy.
Delicate dough on the countertop.
Sticky sponge wipes you away.
Got my fix.
Now all that’s left is specks of powder and cringy batter.
Pan is charred and smells like metal.
Time to clean up your mess.


Object WritingDerek Sammak
Handle

Turn it. Slam it. Open it.
A gateway into another world.
Wherever you want to go, you’re only one tug away.
The intimacy of clasping together, even for a brief moment makes me feel warm inside.
A friend reaching out.
And meaning it.
I can’t smell you.
I can’t taste you.
But I feel you, I know you are there.
Something about you that is so close, but always just a bit out of reach.
Trying to get a handle.
Itching, longing for our hands to interlock and never let go.
Or even if for a moment, I’m fine with it either way.
Why can’t I see your insides?
I know what you do, but I don’t think I’ll ever know how you truly work.
Unless I smashed you into tiny pieces.
But even then, I would only have a clue.
That’s the thing about getting a handle.
It’s an illusion. A grey mist.
The soft outline of the room is all I have.
Silver. Gold. Mostly metal.
Mostly cold.
Sometimes warm, but only after you’ve been used by someone else.
Oh, handle. You get around.
Clinking and clacking.
Latching and releasing.
We share a lot.
Opening and closing are one in the same.
I think I found a friend in you.
Thank You for being there.
Even though sometimes you aren’t reliable.
You get stuck, but so do I.
Most of the time you work, and I know what to expect.

Derek Sammak
Thermostat

The needle drops, the needle falls.
I get out of bed to adjust the temperature.
Legs are like ice-pops.
I feel the hair standing up as I scurry across the cold wood floor.
There’s a metal needle on the side, it’s rusty.
I wiggle it to make sure it actually works.
Nothing to do at this hour but wait for the morning.
I know when I wake up the sun will rise and the thermostat will have to go down again anyway.
Feels like I’m trying to fight nature with a fickle tool.
There’s still nothing to do.
I’m up now but I have nothing planned.
Now I’m hungry.
Stomach growling, maybe I’ll see what’s in the fridge, or on YouTube.
Blaring blue lights zap me out of sleep for sure.
Red needle plays against the whites of my eyes.
Time is a little bit slower, I swear.
Heavy. Lead. Feet are actually still tired.
What am I doing here?
My mind starts buzzing, I’m warming up and forgetting why I even came down in the first place.
Not sure if the thermostat is starting to work, or if my body is warming up on it’s own.
There is always a fire burning inside that keeps me going.
A char.
A blackened char that smells pungent.
Perhaps things need to be burned in order to produce energy that can be utilized.
I’m too tired to care.
Going back to bed.

Object WritingDerek Sammak