For the most part, my life is pretty simple. I live in an old neighborhood in a college town beside the Rocky Mountains. I enjoy walking through old streets beneath old trees. I love being in the mountains, hiking, backpacking, and cross country skiing. Outdoors is my major source of sanity; catching good movies runs a close second. Then there's making music, which seems to live in harmony (most of the time) with everything else. In light of everything, I have grown to feel that creativity, like the warmth of the Sun, does not belong to anyone. The best that you can do is to try and create a warm place where you are and hope that creativity comes to pay you a visit. These tunes that creativity has brought my way seem to have acquired first names and last names (titles and subtitles). I don't know why, though it does seem perfectly human. Bright Wish (In Light of Everything) This song arrived at the same time that some friends of mine brought a new life into the world. Their son's name, Gilbert Aubrey, is of English origin and means 'Bright Wish' (Gilbert) 'Elf Ruler' (Aubrey). I have a feeling that Gil brought this tune along with him and dropped it off at my door. What better way to begin a life, much less live one, than to have bright wishes for the people around you, for your home place, and for yourself? Thanks for the bright wish, Gil. Speaking Without Words (Child's Play) While many things can be expressed with words, other things just don't lend themselves to verbal communication. One day while I was with a group of first grade children, I improvised something on the piano that was quiet and introspective and asked them to tell me what the music said to them. A little girl raised her hand and said, with the wisdom of an elder, 'It really DOES matter... how we feel.' Need I say more? Harpo's Tune (Real Men Really Cry) The Marx Brothers' movies have been favorites of mine from the start, and Harpo has always been my favorite of the brothers. In one instant I am laughing wholeheartedly with him, and in the next there are tears in my eyes... all without a single word. If you think there's anything missing in this song, perhaps it's the sound of Harpo's bicycle horn on the last beat. Just use your imagination. Saturday Matinee (Where I Grew Up) This is a tune that I wrote when I was 16. Last summer, my mother sent me the old score that had been sitting in the piano bench in the house where I grew up. She said, 'Do something with this, I always liked this piece.' So I did. In the midst of all this, I happened to see the movie Cinema Paradiso, which was further inspiration. It helped me to recall all the Saturday afternoons that my friends and I spent at the old Vogue Theatre (there's a supermarket there now) watching movies for thirty-five cents a trip. This tune's for my mom, who has always encouraged and affirmed my music. Met Before (I Dreamt Music) This song is inspired by the music of two of my favorite film score composers, Mark Isham and Vangelis. Some writers of music say they never listen to other people's music. It seems to me that they are missing a lot., kind of like a gifted gardener who refuses to look at anyone else's flowers but his/her own. There are lots of beautiful gardens out there. Thanks to Mark Isham and Vangelis for the seeds. Remembering You (Walking in the Rain that Heals) I have no conscious memories of my father, as he died when I was very young, yet I have felt his presence in many moments of my life. This song is for the place in all of us that misses someone; for the ones that we miss; and for the place inside where we go walking in the rain that heals. Dreamt I Was a Kid Again (Just Imagine) I have this dream where I'm seven years old. In this dream I'm lying in bed, having just awakened from a dream. That dream is the life that I've lived up until now (what a dream). I lie in bed wondering if it's going to be like this every time I fall asleep. At that moment my brother runs into my room, throws my baseball glove on top of me and informs me that the game's gonna start in the backyard in fifteen minutes, with or without me. It's the first day of summer vacation and I'm free! It was like Scout said in To Kill a Mockingbird, 'The days seemed so much longer then.' Sometimes I wonder if I'm still really seven and this has all just been another one of those dreams... dreamt I was an adult again... oh, well. I hope my brother wakes me in time for the game! Thanks for all the great ball games, Dirk! Before You Were Born (Our Lives) I used to hear my grandma talk about the times when she was a child or when my dad was little. She referred to those times as, '...Well, that was before you were born.' Her words would ring with an ancient magic, as though everything before the date of my birth was in black and white or in the faded colors of old photographs. Listening to her was like looking through old glass windows that bend and blur things in the distance. It was marvelous. 'Things were MUCH simpler then,' she would start. 'Do you know what a nickel would buy? A penny, even?' And it would go on from there, 'Before you were born, street lights didn't come on by themselves at dusk, the lamp lighter had to come around and light each one separately!' 'Oh, come on, Grandma,' we'd giggle in disbelief, 'You mean some guy would have to light each one? You gotta be kidding!' 'Before you were born, my grandparents, that would be your great-great grandparents, would speak in German over the dinner table at night and I could understand every word and answer them back.' And my grandma would repeat an old German phrase, and I would mouth it with her, having half - learned it from hearing the story so many times. Sometimes in the quiet of the night, I can hear the Sun softly reflecting off the Moon, warmly whispering to the Earth, 'Let me tell you what this place was like before you were born.' Dance for Eight Fingers & Two Thumbs (EarthDance) Some of the people on this planet have been really in touch with the Earth. They have danced with it and upon it more gracefully than others. The Native Americans are such people; I know little of their ways, but feel very connected with what I do know. I love to be in the wilderness. I love to walk and run and sit still there. I love to sit alone in silence in those places where the Earth's true nature expresses itself. When I am silent and still in those places, the Earth speaks. The Great Spirit speaks. My own heart listens and learns and feels great joy, and the dance that my life is becomes more aligned and more alive. The race that I was born into has not danced so gracefully. While I don't mean to imply that we are all bad, we have not been still, nor have we listened, or learned truly gracious living. Perhaps it is time. When I play and listen, I do a dance for eight fingers and two thumbs. But when I play without listening, I do a dance for all thumbs. I am thankful to the graceful people (the humane beings) and to the Earth for the teachings and inspiration in dancing this dance of joy. The Light Inside (Where Love Grows) Sometimes, when I walk through the neighborhood at night, the lights that stream from houses, through the windows and off porches into the dark streets, reflect the love and warmth of the beings that dwell inside. It reminds me of the light in people's eyes. My friend Mary, who co-wrote this piece, says that love does not tend to grow in sterile (laboratory) environments. Love thrives in compost heaps. It lives in the fertile earth. It is about mudpies and blood. It is about how we live, and how we care, which is to say it is about being 'perfectly, imperfectly human' in light of everything. Getting There is the Fun (Perfectly Human) This song was the most difficult on the album to finish. It has tried to teach me about process, about enjoying every moment of the trip, that at every moment while we're getting there, WE ARE (getting) THERE. When I first thought about the title 'Perfectly Human,' it seemed more like a contradiction in terms than anything else. The acts of violence we have committed against our Earth, let alone one another, make 'perfectly human' sound like a bad joke. I would then see some act of love or compassion and I would wonder if there WAS something perfect about being human. It was about then that this little myth came to mind and to heart as well (thank you, Joseph Campbell, for the inspiration): Mother Earth and Father Sky had kids (perfectly human kids). In their infancy, in times similar to B.C., Mother Earth nurtured and cared for them. They survived their terrible twos (Dark Ages) and fortuitous fours (Renaissance). During that time, Father Sky sent them teachers of many colors, each speaking the truth in his/her own way. The kids had a perfectly human childhood, with awkward times (they'd fight with the kids down the street, who had heard the truth in different ways), and wonderful times (they'd make up with them again). Mother Earth and Father Sky did the best they could, and hung in there, as parents do. Years went by and the kids reached adolescence, a time of great challenge for any perfectly human being. A time when they rebelled against their parents, experimented with powerful things, acted irresponsibly (trashed the house, wrecked the car, and tied up the dog. You know, the usual things). Their parents wondered if the adolenscents were going to survive their adolescence. They wondered if they (the parents) were going to survive their kids' adolescence. It began to look hopeless. It began to look bleak... but at some point, little by little, things began to change. The adolescents began to grow up. They began to see. I think it was Mark Twain who said, 'I can't believe how much smarter my parents got from the time I was eighteen until the time I turned twenty-two.' I wish I could tell you how the myth ends... but stick around.. 'cause getting there IS the fun!