Project Update and an Awful Song

Today I am starting a new project.  I am recording some solo piano pieces.  My goal is to have a few different options for those who want to listen.  I am starting off with some sacred works, then have the plans for some pop and jazz arrangements, followed by some original works (maybe).  I am excited about these projects.  I think I enjoy being proactive.  Also in the works are some group classes for adults – drum circles, arranging at the piano, accompanying, and pure recreational music.  If you are in the Treasure Valley, Idaho area and interested in booking me, send me a message!  If you’re not in the Idaho area and still want to book me, contact me anyway!

Now, here is a cover of an 80s song for no real reason.

Peace and Love,

The Mad Pianist

The Journey of Life

pathwayI often mistakenly view life as a simple linear progression.  I have a choice of merely two things and thus, I must choose either A or B.  This is where Robert Frost comes to mind and his famous, “Two roads diverged in a yellow road,” line.  Sometimes the choice is just not that simple.  Sometimes there are multiple options….multiple things that are and good and I simply have to choose one of the “good” options.

Life is a complicated mess of “stuff.”  Perhaps it is better thought of as a freeway system with multiple twists, turns, exits, interchanges, and tolls all along the way.  Sometimes by making one choice, I pathway3am really making the choice to turn and travel in a completely different direction.  I am now traveling east instead of north.  This is how I feel my life is lived and how I suspect many of yours, as well.  To illustrate this point, let me share a real-world example.  When I lived in Oklahoma, I got lost a lot…and I mean A LOT!  My dad got me a GPS but not until after I had lived there quite a while.  After I had been living there a few months, I had to travel to a town that was past Oklahoma City (I was living in Norman at the time).  I had not spent any real time looking at a map but just thought that I could figure it out along the way -that’s what all those signs are there for, right?  Well, I was supposed to take an exit just outside of the city and that would put me on a different interstate.  I needed to be on this particular interstate to get to where I was going.  Well, I did not know that because I had not spent my time studying the  maps.  I ended up where I did not need to be and had to stop and ask for directions.  In short, it took me much longer to reach my destination than it should have because of the twists and turns that were required for my journey.  I find myself quite frustrated with the detours my life takes and often berate myself because this journey to get where I want to be is taking so much longer than I ever anticipated.  I know where I want the end point to be but it is in the getting there that I often forget the journey is an experience to treasure.  A leader from my church has been quoted as saying (more than once) that we should be finding joy in the journey.  I like things to be simple but that is just not life.  The twists, turns, and exits of life are supposed to teach me something.  I must keep reminding myself and you must do the same.

In one of my first posts on this site, I made reference to a Theodore Roethke poem, “In a Dark Time.”  This is one of my favorite poems and lines from it are often swirling in my mind.  Tonight this is the line that is on constant repeat, “A man goes far to find out what he is.”  That is the essence of life, yes?  We are all on our personal freeways simply trying to reach our destination.  Along our way, during our journeys, we are simply trying to find out what we are and who we can truly become.

I will attempt to embrace all the turns, direction shifts, and plot changes my journey will take and not grumble too loudly.  I am indeed grateful for the journey and for all the fellow travelers I have the opportunity to meet along the way.

Peace and Love,

The Mad Pianist

Friends from the Past…

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” – Søren Kierkegaard

Today has been one for reflecting.  More specifically, I have been reflecting on the friends I had growing up.  I always felt like I never really belonged.  The fact is that I had a few friends that understood that fact and loved and accepted me anyway.

I was going through a box today so that I could feel productive on my non-work day.  Well, it was filled with momentos from my middle school and high school days.  It was kind of a surreal series of moments as I read notes that my friends had written me and looked at photos.  There are so many moments that happened that I had forgotten.  That is normal, I think.  People grow up and we take our unique experiences with us to make our now.  Eventually that “now” becomes the new past that we compartmentalize and use for the new now, aka – the future.


Toni and Andrea - middle school

Toni and Andrea – middle school

I read notes from my best friend during middle school where she was concerned about getting 50 cents to pay a fine so she could go on a school trip.  She also signed the letter “Rea” – I chuckled as I read her sign-off.  We remained friends throughout middle and high school.  We talked on and off throughout our college years but I rarely talk to her now.  We grew apart during high school.  The things that were important to me were not to her and vice-versa.  I became much more involved in my music and she in sports.  Looking back now, I see how natural and organic the evolution of that friendship.  People grow and develop and sometimes that takes them away from each other – even if they never thought that possible as kids.

Toni and Andrea- High School Graduation, 2001

Toni and Andrea- High School Graduation, 2001



Jeff and Toni - High School Graduation

Jeff and Toni – High School Graduation

I also read notes from a couple friends that I had during high school.  I really cannot say that I had very close friendships with anyone in high school.  I had a couple people that I trusted but I was more a loner than I even realized.  As a sophomore, I apparently was upset with my friend Jeff.  I read a  note from him today where he writes how he was not sure what he had done to make me hate him.  I have no recollection of that.  We apparently got over that bump and he became one of my closest friends during my last couple years of high school.  I read another note from him of pure encouragement.  I had a bad experience at a festival and was ready to give up on all things musical and he talked me back from that ledge.  For that alone, I will forever be grateful to him.  I have not talked to him much over the last five years.  Again, a natural evolution to a friendship.

So, while I try to keep living in my “now,” I can be exceptionally grateful for the past that I lived.  I had friends that dealt with my “madness” that has been with me for most of my life.  I look to my past and it begins to make sense – much more than it did when it was my “now.”  Life is not static.  It changes and evolves and that is normal and I embrace the change.  I am who I am partly because of the friends that I made and the support and encouragement they gave me then and continue to give me now – if only every five years or so!

“My past has not defined me, destroyed me, deterred me, or defeated me; it has only strengthened me.” – Steve Maraboli

Disneyland Group

High School Band Friends at Disneyland, 2001


Peace and Love,

The Mad Pianist