I went to my daughter’s old high school last night for a piano recital. Orange County School of the Arts. Actually, my in-laws donated their pristine Steinway to their piano conservatory and they had a special ceremony. Bree was in the piano conservatory so being back there was weird.

Bree — from 7th through 12th grades. Can’t tell you how many of those recitals I went to in those 6 glorious years. So being there last night was like I said, weird.

I cried a bit during the performances but nobody saw it. I was just sitting there thinking about how Bree’s about to graduate from college in five weeks. I thought about all those recitals and Edison and Elliot being there. Poof. Life has moved on.

Poof. Life has moved on.

I remembered when she played Prokofiev. I think I still have that video somewhere on YouTube and if I do I’m going to post it below.

That piece. My God.


Those long concerts. Two young boys. I think Bree was a sophomore in that video. So she was 15. Edison would have been 12. Elliot 9. We were strict; no electronics. How did we get those two boys to sit there and listen to Chopin and List and Rachmaninov for two hours over and over and again and again?

Anyway, I was teary last night. And it’s always hard to disguise crying in public. Even if you’re watching a movie and it’s dark. Once you need to wipe a tear away and your hand makes it’s move toward your face, it feels like everyone is going to see you then realize what’s happening.

I wonder why crying is a social taboo. Laughing isn’t but crying is.

A few weeks ago after a yoga class, a lady started crying. At the end of each class, everyone lies in savasana. And people can leave when they want, you have to leave quietly.

Well, I’m laying there because I always lay/meditate for at least 10 minutes after class. And about two minutes in, I heard this soft sobbing. You could tell she was trying to hold it in. But man, it was really deep. Something bad had happened. Anyone could tell she was grieving. It went on and on.

When I finally got up the lady was on her knees gathering herself. She was around 30 or 40. I had the feeling of wanting to go up to her and say, “Are you okay?” — but that would have been weird.

If she had been laughing, people would have been annoyed or thought she was a freak. But she was sobbing and you just felt sorry for her.

Anyway, before the piano recital, there was this special pre-event where they presented a plaque to Gina’s parents over champagne and two of the students played a special duet on the donated Steinway. You don’t hear many piano duets because few composers wrote duets.

I posted it in my Instagram story.

Memories are weird things. I’m there happy and sad, simultaneously, thinking of that other life when the kids were younger.

I remember C.S. Lewis talking about memories. How they are not things in the past. They, by definition, are in the present. So those days of piano recitals and younger children are not gone, they are still present, in my memories. I like like Lewis’s perspective, but I’m still sad the kids are older.

I’m listening to Lemonade by Beyoncé. I don’t know why she named the album Lemonade.

It always takes a while to get used to a new album. In the world of black music that I’ve started listening to in the past few years, I prefer Chance and Kayne. But still going to give this one a chance because I’ve only listened to it twice. There’s this song called All Night that I’m kind of liking.

I prefer male vocalists over female vocalists. Is that okay to say? Is it sexist?

What would it be like to be famous like Beyoncé? Ever wonder about stuff like that?

I wonder if these celebs are happier. I’ve thought about happiness a lot lately.

In a previous life, I worked closely with these Christian leaders named John and Eleanor Mumford. They had two sons. James and Marcus. Super cool family. Spent lots of time with them when we lived in London. Anyway, Marcus was a pre-teen when we lived there.

Right now he’s touring with U2 leading a band called Mumford and Sons.

Weird. He became a celeb. I wonder if Marcus is happy. I haven’t talked to him in years. But he strikes me as a generally happy kind of guy. He says f**k a lot now. But he can afford to. I often wonder what his parents, being leaders in the church, think of that.

I never know how transparent I should be. On one hand, I think people today are just way too fake, on the other, nobody wants to hear about all your problems.

People say they like Donald Trump because he speaks his mind. But he doesn’t. If he did he’d be swearing all the time in public. But he doesn’t do that because he’s political no matter how nonpolitical he tries to say he is.

Where’s the balance in being vulnerable?

John Mellancamp: I know there’s a balance, I see it when I swing past. 

When I freewrite from public places, like now, I type I look at all the people and then I wonder about them. Their joys and their problems. You could never tell by expressions what’s really going on.

I’ve been sitting here for around 30 minutes. Swear this lady has read every word of the paper. I just keep watching her. She doesn’t get distracted for even a second. It’s like she’s starved. She’s devouring the whole Los Angeles Times before my eyes.

I think electronics might be making people stupider. Especially kids and teens. Adults too but especially kids and teens.

Back to music. I still can’t believe that Michael Jackson and Witney Houston and Prince and David Bowie and George Michaels and Robin Williams are dead. I only put Robin Williams in there because I can’t stand to think of doing without another role as those he played in Good Will Hunting and Dead Poets Society and Patch Adams.

He seemed to have a certain depth to his acting when he played in serious roles.

But they are not gone. The movies are still here. So are all those songs. And all those memories.


A note on “Freewriting.”

Every Friday, I set my timer on my iPhone for 15 or 20 minutes. Then I start writing. I don’t stop. I write whatever pops into my mind. Some people call it stream of consciousness. After 15 minutes, I go back and quickly correct all the blatant typos and make a few edits. Then I publish it on Paulosophia.

I started freewriting in the early 1990’s because I had read this short article called “Freewriting.” I was a horrible writer back then, with the most severe writers’ block. The article said you have to write WITHOUT STOPPING. For a fixed period of time. Even if you have to write the same word over and over again. Over time, you get better, and more confident.

Writing becomes as easy as talking.

I can’t count how many freewriting exercises I’ve done over the years. Thousands for sure. I still do them almost daily.

If you haven’t, you should try it!