45 years ago on this day I was born…very premature, not ready for this world or any other. I often feel as bewildered and lost now as I must have then. Except experience has beaten most of the screams out of me. I can still laugh sometimes, though. Humor truly is a pulse.
At a certain age (generally after 40), birthdays aren’t really a cause for celebration but rather an embarrassment, a day when regrets and loneliness stare a man straight in the face. I have led a stupid life; I have too often been at the mercy of both my own fears and what seems to be a cosmic conspiracy to create elaborate, often cruelly ironic practical jokes at my expense. I can’t say that I’ve deserved any better. If I were religious, I’d catalogue my sins and call them that. Since I’m not, I find other words. And sounds.
Music has always been a solace and maybe the purest thing in my life. But when I think about the motivations and stories behind these songs that I have created, I realize they are all tainted in one way or another—so many speak to loves lost or loves unrequited, frustration, solitude, although all also suggest an enduring strength and joy. Some are a sweet and gentle breath of life and others a shout. Maybe I’ve reached the point where I hide in them. Whatever else they are or I am, if nothing else it’s all human—occasionally transcendent, occasionally not, but trying.
Below is a short version of “the birthday song” that I recorded for a special someone a few years ago.