The musicians who play in the NYC subway system can make you smile even at rush hour. Thousands of musicians audition for the privilege of playing underground in the tunnels and hubs of the transit system. Yesterday, an all woman band of South American singers and string players drew a crowd at Times Square, a salsa ensemble had people dancing beneath Grand Central. These people are good. They lift your spirits; make you feel that the world is a magical place. At Penn Station a guy who sang like Al Green was serenading a little girl. He wove a line about her into his song.
Every day I’m back and forth. Train platforms, crowds, tickets, and tunnels. From Long Island to my Upper East Side neighborhood and back. The Long Island Railroad train is a mythical creature in my personal mythology. It gauges my state of mind, my tolerance and acceptance. It’s got me thinking about the drama of being young. The anxiety of youth is overwhelming. In middle-age it becomes tolerable. Although, the discomfort of being a human being is always there, grinding away, causing compassion to grow.
After unpacking boxes and waiting for workmen to show up, I return to my mother’s house, free the cats from their basement lair, and work on my new book. I put aside the nearly one hundred pages I had been working on. That idea never took emotionally, for me, though it kept me working, which helped to maintain my practice. But when the new idea struck, I knew I could invest myself in it. It felt good to write, immediately, though its subject is very dark.
I’m pretty sure I’m done with performing now. When Anton called and asked me to do the GP shows in Detroit and New York, I said yes because I love and respect Anton. I’ve always had a strong desire to please him, and I did my best to get up to speed. But the past is the past, and it’s impossible to live in it, also uncomfortable. I loved the rehearsals, hearing the other musicians play and being a part of their comradery, but the challenge of performing was one I could not meet at my own standards. I tried, but my heart wasn’t in those songs. I felt almost mummified on stage, unable to reach myself. You can’t go back. I’m on a new road.
The artwork is done for the cover of “The Original 1982″ (see “news” page). I love it. It feels exactly right to me. I hope people will relate to the cover and want to read the book. I have no idea of its appeal beyond my own odd sensibilities. I tried to allow my editor and agent to help guide me with the decision, and they did provide guidance, but in the end I was jumping up and down for what I wanted, the stubborn way I do, because I knew. Hopefully, I am right.