My girlfriend (and future wife) and I ran away from home as teenagers in 1969. At the time, I was playing piano in a Los Angeles soul group and then took up the clarinet in a marching band. Eventually, I had to choose between playing music or getting a job (and staying married). Fifty years of marriage later, I have no regrets!
I eventually discovered a passion for writing books and magazine articles – basically humor with a motivational message. It was my way of trying to make a difference in the world. But I never lost the desire to play music.
Daisaku Ikeda, the president of the SGI, a worldwide lay Buddhist organization, has said, “The emotion generated by a work of art, be it poetry, painting, or music, may be that tangible, unquestionable feeling of a broadening of the self. It is a feeling of fullness, borne from a mysterious rhythm, a kind of flight toward the infinite, lived as a sharing, an exchange, whose source is our interior world.”
In my early sixties, I developed some arthritis in my hands which made it too painful to play the piano or clarinet. My younger daughter suggested I explore the harmonica. So, I obsessively began a series of online courses taught by an expert in Hawaii. I was fortunate to discover the Thursday night music jam at Pegasus Coffee House (now at Cups). Everyone was very warm and supportive of me as a beginner. Six years later, I now find myself singing and playing the harp in the Good Karma Blues. Our next performance is Sunday, June 23, at noon at the Bainbridge Pride Festival at Waterfront Park.
I believe the spiritual health of a community, state or nation is reflected in their music and art which transcend ethnic or national barriers. And that our beautiful island, with the help of Currents Online, has the opportunity to unlock a wellspring of hope through artistic expression — a cultural movement that will inspire each islander and visitor to dig deep to find their own unique contribution, either as a creator or appreciator, toward healing our often-fractious society.
As for me…to borrow from Jim Croce, “I’ll have to say I love you in a song.”