These past several weeks have just blown by, and I’ve been keeping busy. Thanks to Brian, I’ve been beyond inspired, and together we have been writing music every single day. It’s very hard to write music without a piano, but since I don’t have a piano, I have to make the most of my voice. I’ve started singing, believe it or not, and I’m doing a lot of it. And I don’t mean croaking along to the music, either. I’m actually learning to sing.
Brian has one of the best voices I’ve ever heard, strong and grandiose like Freddy Mercury’s. But he’s very shy about his own talent, and won’t sing in public. He was even shy to sing in front of me, but he’s getting over his shyness now that we’ve been songwriting together. He’s beginning to learn the same cosmic lesson I’m learning: the music plays us, not vice versa.
It’s really quite amazing to me that I have this… this voice! I mean, I can hit these high notes now, that I never thought I would be able to hit. I’d always play notes like that on the piano, since I couldn’t make the sounds with my voice. I’m starting to think I was overplaying the piano to make up for the fact that I couldn’t sing. But that’s not going to be the case much longer. I’ve decided to do something called shedding, which I believe will change the kind of player and singer I am, forever.
Shedding. That’s what the old bluesmen would call it when they locked themselves in a dark shed, alone, and played for months without stopping… until one day they came out of there a completely different person, and a player to reckon with. Brian told me about this, and now I can’t stop thinking that this is what it’s going to take to get me to a higher level.
The only problem? I don’t have a piano! Yeah, yeah, that’s definitely a pretty big hold up, I know. But my piano was stolen from me several months ago, along with all my studio equipment and pretty much everything else I owned. I asked my mother for the piano I got for my tenth birthday, but she always comes up with some reason why I’m not mature enough to have it. Just like my collectors dolls, my Nancy Drews, my coin collection, my trophies, my sheet music, and pretty much everything else I ever cared about as a kid.
But Brian and I have an idea. There’s a rock band from Amsterdam coming to town. They’re called TAXE and Brian’s been hired to do their bookings. He’s going to get them great label showcase shows at the Viper Room, the Key Club, and opening for MetalSkool, and he’s moving all their gear into his big studio in the Valley. TAXE’s tall lanky blonde keyboardist, Ward, is a classically trained pianist, and he has some pretty decent chops! The guy also has a few beautiful keyboards that have been beat to all hell while touring Europe — and I’ll be able to play one of them every single day, as long as the Dutch Boys work with Brian.
Until they get to town I can continue practicing at Brian’s family’s house, or at a restaurant called Villa Sorento that’s a few blocks away. Brian’s parents are the most wonderful people, and his sister and her husband are soooo cool. They’re very suppotive of my music, even though they’ve never even heard what I’m capable of.
After the beatings I suffered last year, I haven’t been able to play the same as I used to. I used to rip across the keyboard like no one you’d ever seen, which is why so many people were upset that I didn’t become a concert pianist when I had the opportunity and ability. But I know my own heart, and it was telling me that I had something else I would be doing with my life. Of course it would be musical, but it was going to be my own music, not music that’s already been around for hundreds of years.
But I’m not going to be upset by the fact that I used to be a better player, because now I have a plan. As soon as I can borrow a keyboard, I’m going shedding. I’m just locking myself in and not coming out until I’ve been reborn into the musician I know I can become. I know I have it inside of me. I feel this burning well of passion that has gripped me since birth. I know that somewhere inside my brain is a switch, and once it’s flipped, I’ll never be the same.
I had this dream once, about unlocking the power of the human mind. In the dream, it was understood that we are built to contain light, but I was in darkness because I was not in control of my own mind. In the dream, I felt a lot of fear as I walked down this twisted path that snaked across an island. The island was my evolved self, and I was trying to get to the control room, which was the control room of my mind. I passed people who wore hats that spelled messages, and they told me that there would be no way off the island once I got to the control room. As I ran down the path, desperate to get to the control room before the time ran out, I saw a tall evil looking blue statue, and it scared me. It was very dense and full of pain. The statue made me afraid of what would happen to me once I got to the control room, and I woke up screaming, “blue is bad!” with sweat glistening on my brow.
In other words, I chickened out. I didn’t make it to the control room, because I was too scared of the pain I would have to go through. But now, all these years later, I’m not afraid. I’ve already been through so much pain, so much loss, so much heartbreak. I’ve already, by force, confronted my darkest fears. And now, I have to get there. To the control room. To the light.
I haven’t always been afraid, but I’ve been afraid enough. I’ve vanquished monsters in my dreams, but for every monster vanquished there was the dream of the monster at my heels, and I succumbed to him. I just stopped running and gave up… it was easier that way. But not anymore. Where is Christine the warrior? Where is Christine the powerful? I am summoning her. It’s time to flip the switch.
In the shed.
I’m putting all my faith in this exercise. I am believing with every fiber of my being that I can do this. That I’m not going to be afraid. That I’m not going to run away. I call to the powers of the Universe! Come to me. Fill me when I’m in that shed. Pour your light on me. Make me shine!
I believe in myself. I do. I believe in the human spirit.
And I’ve got to keep my focus. So far, I’ve been doing great, especially considering that I don’t even have a piano. Over the last two weeks I played a show up in Arrowhead, interviewed for a cover story in VIP Magazine, talked with the LA Times and Artist Interviews magazine, did a photoshoot over at Universal Studios, and watched my song “Superman” off the Pianist Envy record fly up some indie chart. This is the beginning. This is how it starts. This is the little introductory paragraph to the epic I dream about.
I sure am feeling inspired today. It might be because I’m going to be visiting one of my favorite people, Brian’s 90 year old grandma. She’s in an assisted living home, and I visit her every couple of weeks to play songs for her on the old piano in the dining hall. She’s deaf in one ear and almost totally blind, but she feels the music, and I can tell it’s part of her soul. All her old lady friends love it so much they give me chewing gum for tips, and beg me to play “just one more.”
Well, I’ve got to run. It’s time to see grandma!