HIS SPIRIT LIVES ON! ... BONER, THE PIANO DOG ... November 27, 1994 ... February 20, 2010
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July 31, 2013
Yesterday, we drove to the local park as i wanted to create some quite music with the sunset. My niece had other ideas and called friends while driving on the way and the time turned into a chaotic, fun, chatty neighborhood friend gathering. For a few minutes after everyone left and before I got thrown out by park guards... I relaxed with some music all by myself. Today, I took the truck into the repair shop and ended up leaving it there. It needs a new radiator, tires, a tune up etc. Every time this happens it feel like I am going into the hospital for another operation. My friend Sid hooked up with me for lunch. Mo spent most of the day playing with family and friends. He is totally exhausted and came in after dark with blood all over his body. The other night he accidentally chomped just one time on a baby rabbit running across the road. It put the taste in his mouth. He is a hound dog, a hunter by nature. Tonight he officially lost his virginity and wanted to show off by rolling in his prize. It is what it is. I've said this before and must say it again because I am so constantly impressed. My niece Heather, totally exhausted, running like a maniac all day (I mean it seems almost ridiculous) and Jim her husband just as tired and having gone through his daily work grind... they both ended the night outside until after dark working around the house and playing ball with their kids... and having fun doing it. Spending family time is a release for them. They don't do it because they must or have to, they do it because they want to, because it is fun.
July 30, 2013
It is not easy to become more and more transparent in public about my feelings. They are created out of choice and responsibility in order to "grow up." When I returned to the West Virginia area over a year ago I knew my past years of staying with strangers and friends... I remember saying to myself, "thats it, I'm done." I still continue doing it ( a lot less) as I find my way into something different. Every time I do stay with someone... it is exhausting. Finding places to stay is exhausting. Dealing with people is exhausting. When I am working with the Traveling Piano... that is never exhausting. It is exhilarating all the time, every time. But... what goes into getting to the actual point of "working" with the Traveling Piano is... exhausting. In staying where I have been (just Mo and myself) I rationalized the thought of needing time and privacy to get physically in shape to continue. That has not happened. I am now more out of shape than ever. So I ask myself... am I exhausted from journey "burnout" or from being out of shape... probably both. Maybe my age is in the mix. My funds... God i don't even want to start talking about that. Trying to decide on choices drains my energy most. Then there is a responsibility that has developed as a result of this journey in knowing that I have affected people's lives deeply. I am told all the time by different people in many ways. People look forward to connecting with me, use me as an inspiration, some have even created a dependency related to me and the journey.
It feels so good to have a sense of worth in this world and the assurance, validation that happens along with that. The passion that created this journey seems to have become somewhat cluttered with "upkeep" concerns. Keeping in balance who I am, what I am doing, accountability, etc... is important because I care. There are people who have taken up doing what I do. Even women now with piano's, dogs, trucks, on the road traveling... and they get national attention because they work for that. I must remember that I am not doing anything for national attention or to gain a large audience following even though large numbers can be a lot of fun. I go for one-on-one relationships first and foremost and am not out to perform, entertain, create a spectacle for myself, make money, become a celebrity, etc... I just have to tell myself I have no control over the confusion created from other people who have taken up doing what I do in other forms for different reasons. Also, I started communication this year with an artist that is so good I feel a little intimidated when it comes to relating with him. Constantly I remind myself that I could be the best in the world at anything I want to be. He is so good because he puts all of his heart and soul into his work, it is full time. My heart and soul has always been about having as many different experiences as possible. I have spread myself out with many different interests to do many different things as well as possible throughout life. But then again is not about doing them well as much as it is to have fun doing whatever I am doing.
July 29, 2013
My friend Pat who owns the place where I am staying, her daughter and friend of mine Cindy's son Tyler about to turn twenty one wants to use the place where I've been staying with a bunch of friends. I'm outta here. The truck needs serious work and the guy to work on it is in Philadelphia. It is also an excuse to see my niece and her family, it is also practice in leaving, staying somewhere new... this morning I was afraid to get out of bed. I drove in a daze the whole way. I put "no toll roads" into my GPS directions because I didn't want to get ripped off with Pennsylvania Turnpike tolls... after an hour of riding through small neighborhood streets I said to myself to screw it and hoped onto the turnpike. Well, we are here, its dark and I'm glad I have my dog with me and with friends.
July 28, 2013
Today was spent trying to feel my way forward in life, ha... sounds stupid. Seems I need to have all material things in order everything in its place before I leave to do anything. Pack away, set out to pack, make sure I'm prepared, have everything I need, leave behind unnecessary items, have everything nice so when I return it is to a clean, comfort environment verses chaos and with stuff to do before I can settle in and relax... we are heading to the Philadelphia area of Pennsylvania tomorrow.
July 27, 2013
I continually discover more information about this vortex I have been immersed in here in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia. My being here has not been wonderful. It has not been awful. It has been both. I've mentioned how this vortex has affected my life several times. Having figured out on my own that the American Indians discovered this place with its supposed healing mineral waters and with George Washington having been here for healing issues nursed by his doctor who owned land nearby, I just learned that the Indians discovered rock crystal quartz in the mountains everywhere in this area and with the water... this became sacred ground so much so that they never fought any battles here. Ha, maybe a good fight would release some of the tension in this friggin' vortex! Anyway, it rained today. My friend, photographer Daniel Plumer sent me a black and white photo he took of Mo and I when we were creating music in the Arizona dessert a year or two ago. It is so awesome. It has inspired me to move froward with my thoughts about a book of Traveling Piano photographs.
July 26, 2013
I'm thinking... you may or may not know that I get a lot of validation concerning my worth as a person. This is because I desire it greatly. I must get it for myself which can be a pain in the ass at times. It is work for me. I work through the ways I have learned to care, share and partake in the world. Someday, maybe I'll find myself filled up with enough validation that I it will be a none issue for my life. I picked up Mo this morning from his sleep over at my friends house. The rhythm of how we live life had never been so disrupted. I could tell... well, now still... he feels confused. I tossed and turned all night. I was feeling what it felt like to be without Piano Dog Boner when he passed. I wasn't missing either dog I was feeling loss which is a stronger feeling. These are feelings I need to be able to feel and continue on with because... before Boner passed I had made a conscious decision that I was going to continue living without him. With Mo really, I have the opposite feeling and don't want to make that decision yet, not that I need to worry about that for a long while yet... but I do. Again, this is an area of my life I must start working on now. It starts with being honest with myself that I am attached to him in some ways that may be too much.
Having had very little sleep I just could not do anything all day but try to stay awake. Before dark I forced myself to the park to practice and create some music. Before leaving I thought why am I doing this, I don't need to do it, no one cares... all the while feeling how important my "doing what I do" is... so I said, "I'll do it for god" ...for whatever thats worth. lol Well, it started with people I had met earlier in the week. There was a little guy named Jake who had been on the piano. His mom told me that Jake sleeps every night with the cassette tape I gave him. He keeps it with him all the time. His mom gave him a cassette recorder to listen to it and thats all he does. His favorite thing in the world is the piano man on the truck with the dog. I still have some cassette tapes that I used to sell as a performer. I give them to people telling them it is a pre-framed picture for their wall. Stick tape on the back and just paste it to the wall! Hahaha... I was in the park until dark and met a family that prayed over me in gratitude... three other people I had met in different places, one was five years ago found me and told me how significant I am. People were telling me how I have affected their lives in positive ways. I was in a small parking spot area back in the park trees. There was a period where I just created music looking out into nature while listening to locusts and crickets. My music was in perfect harmony and flow with everything that I was physically experiencing.
July 25, 2013
Berkeley Springs, West Virginia
It was a delicious day! Temperature in the low 80's, dry air, full sun, somewhat of a breeze... such a relief from the past few months! I woke via alarm clock to drive into Berkeley Springs, West Virginia because my friend Ranaga was passing though with his daughter CiCi. I met Ranaga immediately after Piano Dog Boner passed and I stayed with him in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Ranaga had the worlds largest wind-chimes, two stories high hanging from a tree across the road from his house when I first met him. He and his daughter were heading east to meet up with relatives to spread around the ashes of several family members including his mother who was a holocaust survivor from World War Two. Ranaga and I also ran into each other in Tucson, Arizona about a year and a half ago. Interesting, eh? After they left, I began to have fun with people and also had some very intimate conversations. It is just the way I am, I tend to probe people because I am interested and those who are trusting open up with me deeply about their lives and then we both get to bond on how we cope in the same understanding and positive ways.
As the day moved on I had to tear myself away from downtown and get into the woods for a bit to practice. Ha, even in the woods it was not meant to be. I drove to the end of a road where my friends Joanne and Paul live. Out of the woods came their neighbors (with dog) from a hike. More good times were had. Mo had two dogs to play with. He is staying with Joanne and Paul for the night. It is the first time since Mo came into my life that we are not together which will be four years in October. The sleep over is all about practice. I want to go to New York City for a week and have a good time seeing shows, music, theatre, hanging out, etc... I cannot afford to pay for Traveling Piano parking there and having Mo with me limits my options greatly. I wish I had lots of friends in NYC but that is not the case and also I don't have it in me to search out new friends to help. It has been many, many years since I hung out in New York without a dog and before I die I want some New York City! As i sit writing this blog I'm not so much missing Mo as reliving the feelings I had after Piano Dog Boner passed. So its more feelings of loss and being alone. I'll pick him up in the morning. While driving today I thought how it really doesn't matter where I hang out sharing the Traveling Piano as long as I hangout doing it somewhere.
July 24, 2013
It was a perfect day and I was not going to miss it. At the park Mo wanted "in" on the water. He usually needs a stick for incentive to jump in. Today he went in deep enough to reach his belly and then just worked up enough nerve to take a dive. It was great! Then he swam around in circles just because thats what he wanted to do. After that I threw a stick out into the water for him to fetch. One time I faked it and he was out looking... I felt bad so threw it, but that was too late, he came back in. Then I told him the stick was out there but it was too far for him to see. I continued to urge him pointing in the direction and after about five minutes he caught the sent, jumped in and swam right to it. Mo's nose is amazing! A couple from New York City found us. We had such a good time. I left them on the Traveling Piano by themselves and from a distance could hear them laughing with music, getting up from the seat to switch sides in taking turns at each end... and then I created music while they fished. A guy named Thaddeus came down from the mountain. He had been hiking in his bare feet! He is the fourth son each of a different local preacher man to have found the Traveling Piano in this spot. Lastly, a fun family came driving up the hill yelling, "Piano Man!" Some from the group had been with the Traveling Piano some time ago. It was three sisters with a few kids, mom and a dog. One of the sisters, it was her birthday and she was very shy, did not want to come out of the van but found the courage to break through for a Traveling Piano experience and quick rendition of Happy Birthday.
July 22, 2013
I have a problem concerning Traveling Piano dog Mo. Except for three different times for a half day each... since he came into my life over three and a half years ago... we have been together 24/7. I am going to need to leave him with friends for a week soon and began to practice that process today. I left him for a couple hours with my friends while I went to Winchester Virginia to do some errands. It was very uncomfortable. Like when Piano Dog Boner passed, with every move I made there was a reflex in consideration of where he is, what he is doing or going to do, and he was not there. Then I had separation anxiety. Mo had two people and another dog with him but he also had some anxiety. I'm going to practice an overnight next time. I went to purchase an apple pie. It costs $3 more than the store down the road. Why, I asked. The lady said, "the other store advertises "homebaked" which means the pies are frozen and baked on the premises. Ours are "homemade" which means everything from start to finish is made and baked on our premises here." Who knew???!!! All my life, when I have eaten a peach where fruit gets wasted sticking to the pit I have thought, "damm I got a bad peach, its not ripe." Today I learned different. There are different types of peaches... cling, semi-cling (a ripe clinger) and free stone ...along with different varieties. The fruit will always cling to the pit with certain varieties and with other varieties it will fall away naturally from the pit. (as in free stone) Who knew???!!!
July 22, 2013
It rained all day and I did nothing worth reporting on and did not want to think about thinking.
July 21, 2013
After I had began to create my own music for the first time in my life some years back... one day the sheet music I had used for twenty years before... ninety five percent of it blew out of the back of the truck while driving as I forgot to put it all back into a binder. I thought to myself, "Bye,bye... fly away forever, don't need it, I'm not playing any of that crap ever again." Ha, I was wrong. After several years I began to miss one of my favorite pieces and lost the memory of. It is called the Harlem Strut written by stride piano man James P. Johnson. Sparing you most of the details, I looked high and low for that music. It is a special one of a kind piano transcription. Piano players and sheet music collectors around the world sent me copies but they were all the wrong transcriptions. I racked my brain trying to remember where I obtained the original. I searched through the New York City Library, made a special trip to the James P. Johnson memorial library in Newark, New Jersey. Online I searched for years. So now to the present. As I was going through the very last of my possessions last month, I found an old music cassette tape that had a recording of the Harlem Strut on it. A famous French pianist by the name of Claude Bolling recorded it. This specific recording is what inspired me to first learn the piece for performance and has the unique distinction of being the only musical recording ever to drive me crazy with delight every time I have ever heard it. A few days later I found the first page! Is that crazy or what??? Only the first page, can we talk torture? But... the first page was imprinted with "Transcribed by Claude Bolling." That put me into another concentrated internet search. Surely, it could be found somewhere. Then I found the sheet music book it was published in but the book is out of print, no copies for sale, no file sharing websites having it, no pictures of it, and no performers of this transcription other than Claude Bolling. I contacted a friend in Paris to go check some music shops there for me because I now realized I must have purchased the book when I was in Paris back when. No luck. Then I thought... the guy is in his eighties but he must have a website because he is world renowned pianist! Why did I not think of going to the source from the beginning? I think it had to do with self confidence. He would never talk to me. What did I have to lose? I sent off an email asking for help. Two days later, the sheet music came through via email with best wishes for my journey. Absolutely amazing!
After getting up today I could see that it really wanted to rain outside but it was not happening. Finally around 4pm rain showers broke through and then I just knew the skies would clear. When they did, I drove to the park specifically... to practice the Harlem Strut. I parked in a spot where no one was around and played real soft so the sound would not carry. I mean, I'm practicing, its the same thing over and over. I don't want people to hear that. It sounds crazy to say I am practicing the piano after not doing so for many years. I was very excited about it and had what might have been the most enjoyable time practicing ever. But then after about a half hour the batteries that supply sound for the piano in the truck died. I thought, "Beethoven created music and performed while deaf, I can certainly continue to keep practicing even though I cannot hear the sound!" That is what I was doing when a very interested family pulled up in a vehicle and wanted to interact. I started the car motor to try and get some juice for my piano speaker to recharge everything with power and it worked. We had a great time. It was without question another meant to be family connection for whatever reason. It happens often. Mo and I with the Traveling Piano, we were there just for the one family today.
July 20, 2013
Well, My host for the night disappeared. He said it was a go twice.... but never got in touch with me to gave his address. I called and left a message, we emailed. Then when I got back from playing today I found out his phone went dead and he tried to call but no answer. Hate when this happens because it took me allot to get it together to go. To be totally honest, I was super hesitant. Concerning relating to people, I am very thankful I have found a way through the Traveling Piano because every other way is very, very difficult for me. I took the Traveling Piano to the street in Berkeley Springs today. Even there with people it was difficult to interact. Trying to keep up with people, to focus only on who I was relating with felt like I was like blowing off everyone else who wanted to interact. I used to be able to multi task better and give lots of people attention, juggle my attention while talking and moving people onto the truck, taking pictures, dealing with people and Mo together, etc... Now it seems I can only deal with one person at a time and that takes all my focus to do that so basically everyone else around gets ignored. Ugh... thats not good. I did enjoy the opportunity to interact. I met some interesting people. Some of them I have met before, a couple heroin addicts who you would never believe in a million years had a problem. God help them, they said they had four days clean. Do you know that saying, "you can't judge a book by its cover?" This was for sure today. I met people from Israel, a couple from Italy, ran into the town mayor... bottom line, I am grateful. The moon was amazing. I could not get a good quality picture of it.
July 19, 2013
I'm supposed to step out tomorrow and visit, stay with a new friend for two nights which is something I have not done in a long time. I've been staying with people I know and also by myself. It is friggin' scary. Whats up with that? After all this time I still go through the jitters. Part of me wants to, another part needs to, another part does not want to... there comes a point where I must move on or just quit which I'm fairly certain is not an option... July 4th I lasted one night at my nieces house, ha what a joke. So now I'm going for two nights. I don't expect anyone to understand whats going on and don't have the umph to explain it. I guess if your interested enough you'll have to read the blog everyday for at least the last two years to get the jist of this journey. :)
July 18, 2013
A couple years ago I gave a lot of my belongings to a guy name Reese and his family. I had not heard from them after that. Have you ever moved a lot and there are always a few items that seem to stick out and follow along with you no matter what and where you go with no specific reason for it? Well, now with everything settled and gone, there were two items just driving me crazy. A brand new never used expensive good boot and a blue snorkel fin. I have all the rest of the snorkel equipment stored for my friend Cindy. Those fins are expensive! And I could use a good pair of boots. I kept these two items for years (like an idiot) trying to make myself believe I would find their mates. Well, a week ago I just happen to be in Reese's neighborhood so I stopped to see if he was still living there because as a very last resort I thought he might have the other boot and fin in a random box. There was no one home so I went to the neighbor to see if he still lived there. Turns out the neighbor is a family I have run into several times now. Once at the lake where I play and then in a very unusual situation at a fireworks display and now again. So last night I get this email...
ME AN JENNIFER IS TRYING TO GET AHOLD OF U TO SEE IF U CAN COME TO OUR SONS BIRTHDAY PARTY TOMORROW I NO ITS A SHORT NOTICE ...WE R THE ONES U SEEN AT THE LAKE AND AGAIN DURING FIREWORKS AT THE PARK AND THEN U WAS AT OUR HOUSE LOOKING FOR REESE U NEEDED UR BOOT AND SNORKEL FROM HIM LOL ..IF U CAN MAKE IT IT WILL BE AT 5;00 PM JULY 18 TH ACROSS FROM REESE HOUSE.hOPE TO SEE YOU THERE WE WILL BE HAVING CAKE ICE CREAM HOT DOGS..JAMES WOULD LOVE TO HEAR YOU PLAY YOUR PIANO ON HIS BIRTHDAY ...thanks a lot James
This email was so funny to me. So of course I went today and we had a great time. It was about 100% humidity and well as 100 degree temperature with no breeze but that was not going to stop a party! They are a multi-racial family, the first I've ever experienced in this area of West Virginia. I was totally relaxed with everyone. Reese was also there with his son. No boot or fin. :( I autographed the fin for James and gave it to him. He might frame it, hahaha. I began to improvise and the kids disappeared I thought they would be bored. All of a sudden they were circling the truck just running in circles to the music until it stopped. Can we talk fun? Is there anything better than a seven year old who will not stop asking all night... "Please play some more piano music for me?" We had a group improve three times. Four piano players, eight hands creating music at the same time. There was no way it was banging on the piano as they were all listening and naturally focused with what they were doing and what was going on. Gratitude...
July 17, 2013
Its only possible for me to go out after the sun starts going down or maybe I just don't want to. The heat and humidity is too much to expend energy into. Last night I was sitting on a river embankment creating music in the dark while looking at the moon above reflecting over water. There was a black silhouette of trees at the waters edge and behind them the deepest blue sky that would pop like fireworks with sharply lined billowing pinkish white clouds... strong heat lightening was striking everywhere far away. Lightening bugs drifted up and down in the darkness all around me. Is that an amazing environment to create improvisational music in or what?
Today I did not wake until the afternoon and then literally sat in a chair diddling on facebook with people while not being able to do anything. I mean I just could not get off the chair or be productive with tasks that needed to get done at all. Finally after 7pm I said to myself, "At least you can go for a walk." That was the answer... just put one foot in front of the other and begin doing. In three hours time I accomplished as much as if I had got up at seven in the morning and worked straight through until ten at night. It was still light out so I drove to the park. With my backpack filled with water, insect repellant, camera, Mo, leash etc... as soon as I began to walk, a car drove by and the people in it waved at me. I waved back while telling myself to keep going. Then a little farther I turned around to check on the truck one last time before it disappeared from view and saw people milling around it. I thought, "shit" go back and do your thing because they are interested. I thought they were from the car that had just passed, but as I got closer there was no car in the area. There were three woman and I asked where they came from. They said they has just walked up the hill. One of them was a musician. They were from three different states staying at the park having a childhood reunion. So it began. They were very interested in listening to me create music not out of curiosity but solely for enjoyment, not to judge or anything like that. As I was playing I could hear the car from before circling around behind me and then it stopped.
The night was very special. The air, sounds of nature, the sky and light, the people... I consciously had to allow everyone to be with me in the silence of the music that was coming through me. My tendency is to create a distraction for myself in thinking about them being there, why, what they are experiencing, etc... Two local guys were in the car. We had never met but they have seen me around. Everyone had their own turn creating music some for the first time. It was so beautiful, so awesome... six people, strangers to each other, a dog totally together in harmony loving the world together as one. The woman who was a musician was intense with her musicality. She asked me to improvise along with her. Of course there is not much more I can be afraid of doing... but I was able to trust everyone as they had trusted me and already went through the experience I was just about to partake in. Believe it or not there has only been a few times in my life when I have created music with another musician. When I can do it... the experience is a total union of spirit.
After everyone left I took Mo for the walk we had started earlier while thinking about how amazing it is to know 100%... that I am doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing. Again somewhat like last night... this time we walked up a paved road with moonlight filtering through the tall dark trees, lightening bugs everywhere, the sound of a whippoorwill calling from deep in the forrest... I wish the feeling of being totally present in the world, in peace and harmony and of course with the blissful joy I experienced tonight... I wish this for everyone.
July 16, 2013
Here's what you may find an interesting tidbit. Its been 31 years today... since I had any libation (drink) or recreational drug. I'm not proud of that nor do I condone such behavior for others! Ha, its just that I wanted to live in the main stream of life and I knew I could not have both. Please don't kudo me about it because... just because. I'm simply sharing the fact as another piece of who I am and I feel really good about the results... today. It is a big day for emphasis on gratitude. I think my ability to have done this is from "grace." That is my favorite word. Then comes the "willpower" to practice the ability to "trust" and use the tools needed to live the life I have been living on life's terms through and with people who are "like." ...never negating how different people live in different ways as in the saying... "Live and Let Live." Bottom line, through grace I've been seeking spiritual muscle strength everyday... day to day as best I can. This journey I have been on... 100% of it is the result!
July 15, 2013
The heat and humidity has kept us in all day. My activity online with facebook over the last week has been interesting to say the least. I've been opening myself more and more to people, having conversations in real time, speaking my mind in public like never before. The problem is that it has been taking me away from my Traveling Piano work! So anyway, I practice constantly with moving on. There is very little food here where I am because I want to be prepared to leave on a moments notice but also need to eat. The closest place to get food is a half hour away unless I eat junk and I'd rather stay away from fast food. Finally, I drove to Winchester Virginia looking for a place to get something to eat with everything closing as it was 10pm. On top of that I was in a food dilemma as what to eat and where top get it. I got caught up in decisions and choices... not good. My mind turned to anger and frustration and I thought, "why be angry, there is no reason." I saw a small Italian restaurant on the side of the road. A guy was standing at the front door ready to leave so I knew they were probably already closed but I drove up to him anyway just to check. He said yes they were in fact closed and asked what I wanted. I said I just wanted to get something to eat. He called over another guy who was also leaving and handed me a full thick, still hot sausage, pepperoni, cheese pizza and said, "here... enjoy... no charge." In the same moment from the highway I heard someone yell from a car "Yo, daaaaaaaany!" It felt like a divine message that I'm not alone, I'm being taken care, I'm loved, do the right things and the right things will continue to happen. So, I was just validated, someone gave for the sake of giving, and I'm feeling good full of good pizza. Some might say, yea it was probably going to get thrown away, (not) or the last customer blew him off and it was extra, you probably took it away from an employee, the guy was making a business move in hoping you would come back as a result. Well, with all of that, I don't know any of the facts... you gotta problem with that? Ha, anyway... to experience someone giving to me for simply the sake of giving, Nice!
July 14, 2013
Today I felt a responsibility to create some music and share the Traveling Piano. Of course it all turned into fun. Downtown in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia I parked on the street. I guy I know named Jeremy with his girlfriend Shannon and her son Jake appeared as did several other people. It was humid today! Before dark I stopped at a school field to let Mo run some and had more significant encounters. It is difficult for me to shake off my website post from yesterday with a new day. To talk and have discussion about a very controversial issue is most unsettling. I did it because I knew in my heart it was the right thing to do. For what in the grand scheme of life, I have no idea but the bottom line is I know I did it for myself. As I look back on the day, the people I met reminded me that people are good. It is as simple as that. Thank god for that.
The idea of agreeing to disagree has never been part of my family makeup. Thoughts, opinions and feelings were under sole ownership of whomever was in charge. Total fear of annihilation or alienation was breed into idea of challenging siblings or peers with or about anything. Ways of coping with difference did not exist. Love did exist. That is why I am alive. Through a lifetime I have acquired some skills to accept people I want to destroy or am afraid will destroy me. The skills to embrace or allow fear are my life's greatest gifts. These gifts, my life skills need constant attention.
July 13, 2013
When Trayvon Martin a young boy in Florida was murdered over a year ago the Traveling Piano was in Tucson, Arizona. When I saw how the tragedy was being handled by police, that they let the man who murdered him go immediately after it happened... like nothing had happened... their disrespect for human life and irresponsibility basically under no scrutiny, that really pushed many buttons for me emotionally. The incident in my heart hit so many levels and perspectives it was as huge as any hurricane, flood, tornado, mass murder or anything else in the past that has motivated the Traveling Piano to create a presence for the sake of love and respect. As it turned out I did not go to Florida probably because it was not meant to be. Again, after the "no consequence" verdict being supported today, and with the police department having slithered away with nothing but the loss of a job... in place of a Traveling Piano visit I feel a responsibility to expose who I am as a human being as much as possible. It does not come easy. So in place of the Traveling Piano, my thoughts for better or worse... If anyone thinks authorities follow all the rules of law when they think they can get away with not doing so...they are living in lala land. Most people could care less about laws when it comes to themselves or their agendas if they think they can get away with not caring or being responsible. The police were out to avoid hassle and did not care enough... for either parties involved because they lacked respect for both parties. (as well as the community they served) The "moment" was all about themselves. They were not thinking of ramifications. The murderer Zimmerman did not have a consequence for not standing down when the police told him to. The public had to take control of consequence. If I was stopped by the police and told to get out of my car and throw down my hands on the roof of my vehicle and did not... I would be brutally thrown to the ground, handcuffed and immediately arrested. Did anything happen to Zimmerman or the police for their poor conduct? Anything that happened did so only because of public outcry. Thank God for decency and public outcry. This post is in memoriam of Trayvon Martin, a sign of respect. Today, I am willing to give up everything for the sake of transparency. I believe in spirit, or as many people say in God's eyes... everything and everyone in life is transparent.
July 12, 2013
As far as the number of people who stay connected with me, how many people visit this site, care about me, Mo... the Traveling Piano, how famous, known or not I may be... my reach, etc... In reality as well as in cyberspace, "quality" trumps "how many" for me and always has. My interest in life is first and foremost about intimacy in relationship. Intimacy = Private does not compute. That is why my life is not private or out to impress with commercial agenda. I am very conscious of and consider strongly what I am public with... about, why and how. It is very difficult with large social platforms to stay respectful... which is my intent. What comes out of my brain follows my heart. What comes through my heart is spirit. Sometimes my brain misses the mark. I do the best I can. Acceptance of that fact from other people is where true friendship comes from. As far as pain... I believe life works best in the sharing of it. This has been my personal experience. I would have been dead many years ago if I had not found people to share my pain with and who share theirs with mine. (whether I want it or not) Finding the appropriate people to share my life with has been a trail and error process. I am a man who has chosen to embrace as many life experiences as possible... intimately with the bad and ugly as well as the good and beautiful. I work to focus on the good. To live my life hiding my head in the sand about the bad... sometimes that serves a useful purpose other times not. It is important to me that Danny Kean does not falsely create an illusion of being always happy go lucky. He is not. The Traveling Piano is... but my personal life well, the Traveling Piano is not totally who I am. You would not know me intimately if I did not express all of the truth about myself for better or worse. My desire is to "show" myself fully to the world, that is my creativity, that is my art. I am the one who gets to choose, learn from, grow, digress as a result of that choice... for me. Thank God for that and I take full response-ability. This is my interest.
July 11, 2013
Who people are, what they are about, the type of person they are... views, thoughts, outlooks, beliefs, associations, everything... changes over a life time, even day to day! The only thing you can be sure of about any person is that they are a human being made from love and most likely doing the best they can in order to survive and enjoy life. The internet is now full of documented and search engine... human made soundbites that can only suggest or call attention to indirectly, hint at... or mention without discussing at length who any person is. Most of it is out of context. Secondhand information from a source you do not know personally... that is not dependable. What a person says 20 years ago or yesterday may be totally irrelevant now. The internet is not a source of information as to who a person is. The only thing that can give you an idea is your personal relationship with them.
July 10, 2013
I spent today sleeping, writing yesterdays blog, processing pictures and going through "birthday attention withdrawal." It poured rain for the first part of the day. Later, even though the humidity felt unbearable I needed to do something so we went for a walk in the forrest. Mo is so funny. We will come across a young doe less than fifty feet away... both Mo and the doe will stop, stare at each other for a good thirty seconds and then the deer will turn and run. Mo will start to run after it as I say, "don't even think about it." He'll run a little and then stop to think about not thinking about it. He's such a good dog. While heading back we came across a family with a young yorkshire terrier. Mo and he played. As it was getting dark I drove to the lake for some music and invited the family. It did not feel like they were going to arrive. As we were leaving they were walking up the road to see us so I turned the truck around, went back to the lake and we spent a good fifteen minutes together.
July 9, 2013
Originally I was going to keep things simple and just feel happy all day for my birthday. And then... ha, I grabbed onto an impulse to "give" to the world for my birthday with the slideshow I made. Thats started the "getting." Around 12:15am my friend Cindy called to wish me a Happy Birthday. After that a woman named Janice in the area contacted me on Facebook inviting me for a pancake breakfast with a birthday candle. We are sharing the same birthday together. Then a flood of Birthday Wishes began to fill my timeline and via links, private messages, etc... I knew it was going to be a good day! I did not want to go to sleep, I did not want to miss a moment. Around four in the morning I conked out. When I got up it was raining hard. I just knew it would stop. Janice from Facebook and I made plans to meet in the local park near the shelter area where I could drive the truck under should it continue to rain. She was bringing here ninety year old dad. I had briefly met them at a gas station a half year ago while leaving town to go create a Traveling Piano presence on the east coast after hurricane Sandy.
I did not realize until today that I know her son James and grandson, Rocco.They were on the Traveling Piano in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia a few months ago and we have corresponded since. James dates Amanda who coincidentally works for my friend Dawn. Amanda and I have had our own conversations with my originally not knowing they are connected. Amanda also comes from my neck of the woods outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Louis Pasola, the ninety year old guy lived and worked in famous Big Bands out of Philadelphia as a trumpet player back in the forties so I knew he would like some music I could play for him. Everyone came to celebrate including another son of James named Liam. I had posted a general invite for anyone local on facebook. My friends Joanne and Paul showed up with their dog, Molly. As I pulled into where I was going to park guess what I saw? Ha, it was a birthday present from Nature! Back on June 9th (one month to the day) there was a huge chicken mushroom I saw in the park and I wanted it really bad. Even though it was raining, I went back the next day to get it. Someone had beat me to the spot and it was gone. Chicken mushrooms usually grow at the bottom of tree trunks. Right in front of me today... a huge chicken mushroom growing unusually on the ground in plain sight around no trees. That was almost unreal and what a treat! Then everyone showed up.
Paul by the way also coincidentally grew up in my neck of the woods of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Janice gave me a birthday present of handmade soap that she sells. I happened to have found a Raggin' Piano Boogie poster last week, my last one and I gave that to her for a present. I had old cassette tapes for everyone else. Now I tell people they are plastic pre-framed pictures to hang on the wall. Just stick some tape on the back and slap it on the wall! We also had Philadelphia tastycakes with candles in them. The humidity was about 800% but we dealt with it. I created my own music, and played some Ragtime and Boogie Woogie. Everyone got on the truck including Molly. There are many pictures. After everyone left Mo and I headed for a different area of the park to discharge some of the joy through music by myself. A mom and three kids found us. A fisherman on the other side of the lake sat doing his thing while I created music until dark. Once I got back to where I am staying... online there were links, public and private messages, comments, likes, connections from Nigeria, Pakistan, Turkey, Israel, New Zealand, China, the list goes on and on with countries from around the world. All day long friends were sending kind words of love and wishes for a Happy Birthday while telling how the Traveling Piano has personally affected their lives as well as the lives of others. People I have not heard from in twenty years, old friends, new friends, ongoing friends sent words of significance. Sometimes I forget all this, the important part of my life. I forget that I have already lived beyond my most wildest of truly prioritized dreams... that of including all kinds of people into my life and being included in the lives of people everywhere in the world. Today, there was no forgetting. Late at night before bed my friend Barbara phoned to wish me a Happy Birthday and to say good night. We made plans to meet in Winchester, Virginia on Thursday to see the Navy Jazz band in a free concert at Shenandoah University.
I found (lol) a picture from my first birthday and now I am having my 59th. The picture shows my true desired spirit for life. Through my friends... it is alive as can be today. Before leaving Joanne and Paul, I asked in passing if they would ever be interested in watching Mo for a few days. I have asked several people and they all said no. New York City has been calling to me for several years now. I really miss it and want to binge on live shows as it feels like once I leave the country... (if I leave the country) I may not be back forever or at least years, or just super preoccupied with life in other ways. The truck is too expensive to park in a garage. Finding someone to stay with has been impossible because of street parking issues, cat ownership, friends I do not connect with anymore, building pet restrictions etc... Paul said they could watch Mo. Well, this is a huge piece of the solution. And then as soon as I walked into where I am staying a phone call from my god daughter came through to wish me a happy birthday. This was a super rare phone call something like the third in the last two years. She lives in an apartment in Brooklyn, New York just outside of the city with her husband to be, and a cat. She said it would be great if I was able to visit and stay with them. Considering that Mo would not be with me (because of complications) there would be no Travel Piano-ing so... I'll leave the truck somewhere and take a train into the city. That way there will be no temptations, I'll be forced to totally leave the Traveling Piano and everything about it for a full break to have a full, fun time in New York City without distraction. Wow, how life has worked through today! Starting out, I had to stop along the road to take a picture of the wildflowers. They are everywhere, small and mixed in together so it is difficult to get the focus I wanted. Wild daisies, corn flowers, day lilies, deep blue asters of a type and many more... everywhere! The chicken mushroom... some parts were meaty like chicken other parts soft like a cooked mushroom fried with onions, rice and string beans... garlic salt, pepper and butter and then there were sweet peaches in the fridge that were as juicy and ripe as can be.
July 8, 2013
Need... good slideshow software that is easy to use and quick. After spending six hours trying to create a slideshow of beautiful transitions and effects with pictures of the full moon... I gave up. Even the simple format slideshow I made it is not smooth. The photos being night shots and not great quality to begin with... well, its done! I created a Birthday Present! Tomorrow is my birthday. It is for all my friends. As you may or may not know I am a moon child to the fullest. This is a musical piano improvisation along with favorite Traveling Piano full moon photos taken throughout America. I hope you can take the time to enjoy it with me... for you with love.
July 7, 2013
Ha, about a week ago my friend Jeff taped me doing my dream piece of music by a river in Maryland. I had a dream while sleeping the first week I ever played the piano on the back of a pickup truck (back in 1987) ...that I was streaking (clothed) diagonally across the Superbowl Football Field for fun entertainment playing this particular piano piece. The present journey I have been on (which began 20 years later) began partly with the purpose of bringing this dream into reality. No kidding... the dream is still real and two times I have come almost within reach of manifesting it. Hey, if you can help make it happen in some way... that would be very helpful! The quality is allot better if you click the HD option. This is also what I performed looping over and over in the parade I was in the other day.
July 6, 2013
My head is in the clouds today. As it was getting dark I had to get outside to create some music. We drove to the park, a guy showed up for a short while and enjoyed the music. He didn't get on the truck. I threw some sticks for Mo down the hill to chase. I took down four pictures I have been enjoying over the last year and wrapped them up. It hurts, is sad, feels like relief knowing I will be moving on. Notice I didn't say soon or when... ha, I know better. Everything is happening in the right time frame I know this for sure. Thank God for that.
July 5, 2013
All day I did nothing but process some pictures, hang out online collecting Twitter followers, watching Chinese language videos, spent some time with friends and slept. That felt good to keep it easy. Surprisingly I don't feel wrung out from yesterday although falling asleep all afternoon was totally unusual. Two thoughts passed my mind. One that feeling alone has absolutely nothing to do with other people. Having been around so many loving life long family and friends yesterday and all by myself for most of today and then still, just with friends a little bit... I am aware of the feeling of loneliness lurking. I am positive that is all about projections and expectations of what life is supposed to be about concerning the topic. I have known people who are constantly with and around people they love and enjoy and still they feel totally lonely. The other thought... if there is such a thing as "heaven" after a person dies, the only way to it, is through the experience of it here on earth first.
July 4, 2013
The two weeks I spent preparing for today paid off! Every word I typed so far... the middle letters were backwards I need to fix each word as I type. (dyslexia) That tells me I'm very tired and don't feel it because I'm so excited from today. Anyway, I performed for the Oreland, Pennsylvania 4th of July parade today for the seventeenth time. I missed one year, the year Boner died. It is the only performance venue I have done since the journey began in 2006. Last night I slept on a couch down in the cellar of my nieces house with a roaring dehumidifier. It was the coolest spot in the house and the driest. The humidity these days has been outrageous. Actually, to my surprise I had two (my typing and spelling is driving me crazy) ...bouts of deep sleep. I think the constant dehumidifier motor under my ear plugs helped me sleep and the air was somewhat dry so I was comfortable. Once I was almost asleep I started to feel the long days drive and forced myself to get up for a throat lozenge and a tab of Airborne which is a vitamin supplement that really works well for me. I think I would have felt sick and unrested today if I had not done that.
I drove off with a gallon of frozen water with electrolytes and herbal energy tea. Before the parade I soaked my entire shirt in water to help keep me cool. I wore straps on my sunglasses so I didn't need to think about constantly fixing them from slipping down my nose while performing. I wore a bandana under a lightweight hat so I did not have to constantly clean sweat from my eyes. At the start of the parade I used earplugs because the sound is so loud now with my age or whatever. They lasted about twenty seconds. There was no way I could perform unless I could hear all of myself as alive as can be. I made it the whole way through, my fingers where in shape, I felt blessed and grateful. The success came from many small ways that I was able to take care of myself beforehand. The fact that I was with so many good friends and family also added to my being able to enjoy and share energy.
A nephew, my niece and their families were along for the ride. A friend Bea and her daughter Michelle were there. Bea was at my first performance ever in 1987. My friend Dave and his Juggling partner, the Daisy Jug Band, peers who have been doing the same parades as I have since1987 were there. Of course all the Oreland Lion's club guys who create the parade and have brought us back every year... still going. It is really quite amazing to me growing old with these people. Of course if I saw them every day I probably would not notice so much but here I am with people in my life in different ways for different reasons and I get to grow old with them and see them change physically... in spirit they are all completely consistent and we share our lives together for short periods of time through an entire lifetime. This aspect of getting older is fascinating and our history together is meaningful for me.
As unbelievable as it is I left the parade and drove back to West Virginia. One night out was enough! God, what am I going to do, how am I going to move on permanently again. I sort of can't realize that I drove five hours leaving West Virginia yesterday afternoon, did a parade today in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and drove five hours back to West Virginia. Ha, and here I am writing this blog and posting all these pictures! It just goes to show I am capable of allot more than I realize. Before I left I stopped at one of the neighborhood house picnics to fill up with spare ribs, hamburger, hotdogs, salad, and dessert for later. (take out :)The entire way back I zigzagged west and south missing major storm cells. I'd be driving into a storm head on while counting the miles until the next turn hoping I would turn away from it. The entire drive back there was heavy rain either almost immediately in front of me or right along side me. For the last two hours I was in and out of soaking wet roads but not one drop of rain happened on us. Mo, what a fantastic, wonderful, good dog. He amazes me just as much as everyone else with his hanging out on the piano while we were moving in the parade. I can leave him and go away to do business and he will stay on top of the piano waiting for me to return even with all the people and food around. How patient he is, how he loves people and his job of just "being." He was treated with hotdog and rib bones tonight.
July 3, 2013
Bucks County, Pennsylvania
We departed to drive northeasterly to Pennsylvania to stay overnight with family as I have a parade to be in tomorrow. The entire way we dodged rain storms. The piano and equipment tarp has lost its waterproof quality. A few days ago a rain storm blew off my windshield wiper and it needed a new mechanism. Where I would find a replacement I thought, god only knows. I stopped at the auto place on the way out of town and was told all new wiper blades come with the mechanism now included so they can charge ten bucks instead of three and they had a size that fit my truck! Miracle!!! When I arrived in Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania everyone was really happy to see us I felt a little bit like a celebrity in the neighborhood. Feeling really guilty that I did not play music with them, I will be back in a few weeks and make up for lost time. I was treated to a great dinner with strawberry short cake for dessert and it was really nice to hang with all the kids!
July 2, 2013
Berkeley Springs, West Virginia
Today I am not feeling fear like yesterday. It will be time to get moving soon and... Oh God, I'm going to have to start asking people if they would like to invite us to stay with them again. Ha, see how I worded that? Fact is, I have had to ask 98% of the time through all these years. That was ok but I burnt out completely last year after having stayed with over one hundred twenty five people who were originally strangers. Since the start it was fun, now I consider it part of my work, the staying with people. And, it feels more humbling to have to do it now. What happened? Thank God for everyone who has had us in their homes through the years. There would not have been a journey without that. I have made really treasured friends forever from it. With that said, with the ever changing times... finding willing people seems more difficult. Maybe thats an illusion I am creating. Humbling continues to come to mind. It is not a mindset that will work. Fun must be the mindset. If I can think humility, that will help. Ha, with being humble on one hand can be like chancing humiliation and uncomfortability... neediness. On the other hand humility can be all about appreciation for the journey and the ability to put myself out there. This journey is not something I have to do. It is a choice. I found a passion that works for me. For how much longer... uhh, God knows. Bottom line, staying with strangers has been part of what I do. I have always enjoyed the idea of strangers becoming less afraid of each other. It takes effort to not care what other people think, or how they interpret what I do, what my needs are.
July 1, 2013
I'm really afraid. I'm afraid of leaving where I am, staying in someone's home. I'm afraid of the truck or piano breaking down, that I won't have the energy to do a parade later this week, that its going to rain on me, that I will forget the music I need to perform, that everyone will think disgustingly of me because I am overweight, the money being spent, that someone will dislike my dog, that I am stuck with my life and afraid that I don't have the ability to move forward, that I will not have fun, that people will misinterpret my actions and intentions... ha, I could keep going but I'll stop there. I'm afraid because I care and want to be responsible and... that is not true. It is so wrong to take two wonderful aspects of me, that of being caring and being responsible and apply fear to them. Talk about being irresponsible! The fact is that I am afraid and have always been, will probably always be, and that is that. I've been afraid my whole life. The only time I am not afraid is when I am totally immersed in the present moment doing whatever it is I am doing totally. I'll be turning fifty nine years old on July 9th. Nothing has changed concerning fear since I first identified with it as a child. It has not got worse, it has not got better. Sometimes I want to say that it is getting worse because of getting older. What a crock of shit that is. But... something very interesting happen from this journey concerning fear. First, I got honest with the fact that it has never really stopped me. Oh, it has slowed me down to almost a complete halt but... I'm still going, right? I learned that fear is simply the state of being in the present moment... the place, a state on the mind where all miracles happen. To really experience life to the fullest I must throw myself into it, embrace, have faith and know... from all of my past life experiences there is nothing to be afraid of in life, nothing. And then there is just plain laziness, wanting someone else to "do" for me, lack of desire which I am unable to be honest about... I'll save comment on those thoughts for another time. I was given a special treat today. While driving along the road I saw my all time favorite wildflower. (do not even know the name of it) I stopped, got out of the truck to take a picture. A butterfly landed on the flower. The light for the photo was great because it had just started to rain and with a lucky camera capture...