I seem to be finally passing out of stage 1 of the 49 stages of grief, and am getting back to putting dinner on the table in a timely fashion. A couple weeks ago, while I was still zoned out in stage 1, rather than fix dinner I spent a few hours going through the voice memos on my phone. I use voice memos to record music and lyrical ideas, and there was quite a backlog from years past.
Most of the material was forget-able and delete-able, but there were a few good ideas, and an especially fetching one from 2013. I began transcribing that idea, when I noticed the date on it – my dad’s birthday. On his birthday in 2013, he was in upstate New York at a facility that was supposed to be great for Alzheimer’s care (it wasn’t). I was home in Berkeley caring for my wife and child who were going through the stomach flu, and trying to pack up our house for a pending move that coming weekend. My piano was in my studio where much of our belongings, and things like the washer and dryer, had been moved for storage. I guess I must have gone back there with a box of stuff to store, and sat down for a moment to play something in honor of my dad. I recorded it on my phone, but then forgot about it.
But the curious thing, is this is yet another piece for right hand piano, like the one I wrote just after my dad died. I don’t usually write for one hand – I’m a two-fisted guy. Perhaps I couldn’t find a place to put down the box of stuff, so wrote this while holding the box? Or maybe my dad was, in some ways, my right hand man, and this is the universe trying to get me to realize the metaphor?
Well, it’s mildly cosmic. The music is not a typical happy birthday kind of piece, but he was going through a tough time in New York, and I was stretched thin, so it expresses that day in 2013. And I like it now.