Posted in composition, COVID-19, creativity, Fathers, holidays, writing

Shuttered Spaces

Painting by Philip Froman

The painting above has no title. My father completed this when he was in his eighties, after taking up a brush for the first time in his seventies. He was a genial man, my father, with torrents of unrealized dreams dammed up inside him. If you look closely, and listen, you can almost hear those dreams crash against the cliffs. Although I should have, I never thought to catalog his work. What I do know is that two of his paintings stood out among the dozens he produced: the one above, and an idyllic lake scene, a complete antithesis to it. Both represent the man he was.

***

For months I’ve found myself in an odd place—trying to sustain the appearance of writing, while not having any interest in writing. Other than the words on this blog, and the occasional letters to family and friends, I’ve produced nothing.

I can’t blame the virus, as tempting as it is. The ideas, and desire to shape them, started drying up long before COVID-19. It just took months of solitude to accept, and make peace with it.

***

Recently, a composer friend, who never heard any of my music, suggested I should start composing again—tentatively, gently, as though he understood he was directing me to a room I’d shuttered and forgotten. I stopped composing after graduate school, for many of the same reasons I don’t write now.

It was an unlikely suggestion, from an unlikely source.

But sometimes, the unlikeliest suggestions, from the unlikeliest sources, resonate in the deepest recesses, in the most organic ways.

Once, I followed a similar unlikely suggestion, from an unlikely source, because it felt right, and it led to love.

This feels the same.

***

I have no idea what will spring from my shuttered space. But, if the only music that comes from it is as indicative of who I am, as my father’s paintings were of who he was, then I’ll be happy.

***

I imagine this blog will undergo some changes before 2021. Information about books will remain, as will all the old posts. But, the focus will shift, as I reintroduce myself to my roots, and, to you.

***

In the meanwhile, I wish you safety, good health, abundant strength, joy, and love in the coming holiday season…

…and, of course, the New Year. I’ll see you then.

©2020 All Rights Reserved

Posted in COVID-19, poetry

Why…

The seats were metal then, cold even in summer. We didn’t need a push—we swung, pumped our legs until the sun seemed close enough to singe, until our lungs swelled fat with breath.

The ground beneath us could have killed, but didn’t—we pumped and swung until it disappeared, until the iron chains we clung to wore patterns in our palms.

Circles, lines, and flecks of rust. No adults in sight, it was the two of us, dodging cars in search of freedom, flight.

Those times are fragrant now, evoked by bugs unlike the ants at our feet, rising by the thousands. Ours was a hard world, buildings and noise, concrete and iron…

And honeysuckle, always honeysuckle, every spring.

This was us, petal and pistil, silk and sweet. This was us, between sharp edges and life.

And I do not wonder why I love you, thinking back—the daring in your spirit, the grooved and open heart of your smile.

Your willingness to face threats and fly into the sun.

I do not wonder why.

©2020 All Rights Reserved