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Posts Tagged ‘music’

As my feet hit the pavement for the first time in so long, Selena Gomez sang in my ear…

When you’re ready come and get it
Na na na na
When you’re ready come and get it
Na na na na

The song is at the beginning of my playlist for my Boot Camp in part because it’s a great song to ease into activity.  The slow, steady beat keeps you from starting too fast, but the throbbing, eastern feel gives you a sense of anticipation of what is coming after your body warms up…

…but today, the song felt different to me.  You see, I normally don’t listen to music for the lyrics.  Unlike Jess, whose love of country music stems from the stories country singers tell in their songs, my pleasure from music comes from the weaving of beats, sounds, harmonies, points and counterpoints.  It can be years later that I realize I still don’t know the lyrics to a favorite song, in part because I don’t care about what the artist is saying…I care about what the artist is saying

…but today, the song felt different to me.  As Selena Gomez’s voice sang to me…

When you’re ready come and get it
Na na na na
When you’re ready come and get it
Na na na na

…it was almost as if the road was singing as well…

You ain’t gotta worry, it’s an open invitation
I’ll be sittin’ right here, real patient
All day, all night, I’ll be waitin’ standby…

…and here I was.  I have not run regularly in over a year.  My last marathon was NYCM ’13, but even before then my mileage had dropped precipitously.  Though I still considered (consider) myself a runner, my heart and mind were not cooperating.

…but the road knew…

This love ain’t finished yet
So baby whenever you’re ready
When you’re ready come and get it
Na na na na

As the road sang to me, I got more excited for the slow, 6-miler I had planned.

Some of you may know that way back in the Fall I began talking with a local advocacy group about running 100 miles for them as a way to possibly raise money and awareness of their wonderful work.  Massachusetts Advocates for Children (MAC) is an incredible organization that offers free legal advice to families in need and works tirelessly on capital hill to protect the most vulnerable of society.  By the end of the Fall, we had settled on a Father’s Day run – a crazy dad running not just for his children, but for all children in Massachusetts.  The run will take me from Amherst to Boston Commons (an 89 mile route).

Then we got hit with the worst winter Boston has ever (EVAH) seen.  Between work and the snow, I ran a total of 0 miles in preparation for my run in June…that’s right: 0.

As my thoughts wandered during my run today, I inevitably began thinking of this monstrous task ahead of me.  It is, to say the least overwhelming and scary.  The long distance and short training time is not something I would ever prescribe or recommend for a client.  As I wrestled with my thoughts, Aloe Blacc began to sing to me…

Stand up now and face the sun
Won’t hide my tail or turn and run
It’s time to do what must be done
Be a king when kingdom comesWell you can tell everybody
Yeah you can tell everybody
Go ahead and tell everybody
I’m the man, I’m the man, I’m the man

…that was quickly followed up by Angélique Kidjo’s rendition of Voodoo Child…

Well I stand up next to a mountain
Chop it down with the edge of my hand
Well I stand up next to a mountain
Chop it down with the edge of my hand
Pick up the pieces and make an island
Might even raise a little sand

…and I knew, barring injury, I was going to do this 100 miles run.

Kidjo continued to sing…

‘Cause I’m a voodoo child
Lord knows I’m a voodoo child

I didn’t mean to take up all your sweet time
Make it back to you one of these days
I didn’t mean to take up all your sweet time
Make it back to you one of these days  

…and I was brought back full circle.

Throughout my run, feeling the flow with each beat, I dance and sang and laughed with the music – I can only imagine what it looked like to other runners and pedestrians.

It was a celebration of sorts.

Toward the end of my run (my planned 6 had turned into 10 for no reason other than I was having fun), I passed a Church.  People flooded out of Easter services, all dressed in their Sunday best.  It hit me – I was dressed in my Sunday best and attending a Church I had not been to in a long, long time.

Now, despite being baptized presbyterian, I am not a religious man by any stretch, but how appropriate would it be were I to resurrect my passion for running on a day many believe to be a day of renewed life?

I went to Church today…and it was good.

Happy Easter and Good Pesach everyone.  I hope your Sunday morning was as glorious as mine.

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It had been a long couple of weeks.  Between the transition from the school year to summer, a long road trip and making sure I was prepared for my clients, I really hadn’t taken the time to workout.  I finally carved out an hour to go down to the basement for some high intensity Spartacus intervals.  On so many levels I needed it.

On my way upstairs to change into a pair of gym shorts and a T-shirt, Katie called to me from the living room.

“Daddy?”

“Yes?”

“Can you show me how to play some chords on my guitar?”

She had received the guitar as a present many years ago, but had never really picked it up.  Over the last year she has been playing a lot of piano on her own (she’s almost as good, if not better than I am now), but I think the performer in her would love to be able to stand on stage with a guitar in her hands.

My workout was calling to me.  All I wanted to do was go downstairs and sweat for 60 minutes.  I took another step up.

“Please?”

How could I say no.  Katie is 13….13 going on 26.  Having spent time with my father-in-law this past weekend, I am all too aware that our babies grow quickly, time compresses, and change happens in the blink of an eye.

I sighed.  I can’t honestly tell you whether I sighed because I wasn’t going to get a much needed workout in or because I had a realization that time is flying by.  Perhaps it was a combination of the two.  Regardless, I came back down the stairs and sat down with Katie.

The next hour was a mix of teaching her some basic chords (A, Am, G, D, C, F, E) followed by a jam session where she sang a bunch of songs I don’t know, while I played the ax.  It helped that all the songs had pretty easy chord progressions.  It didn’t take long to get in sync, not just rhythmically, but expressively as well.

Ultimately, connecting with my kid was a heck of a lot more satisfying that any 60 minute workout could have been…I just hope nobody saw me jamming on her pink guitar.

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Dear Katy,

Can I call you Katy? Seems kinda strange to call you Ms. Perry, especially since I’m old enough to be your dad…well, your uncle anyway.

Anyway, Katy, I took my older daughter Katie to see your movie Part Of Me yesterday. To be honest, despite secretly enjoying your music (please don’t tell anybody), I wasn’t particularly excited about seeing your movie. I mean, come on, a 42-year-old man seeing Part Of Me? Felt a little creepy to me, except for the fact that I was accompanying my daughter.

All that being said, I was pleasantly surprised – by the movie, by you, by the people you choose to surround yourself with – and thoroughly enjoyed myself. The honesty with which you expose yourself is both inspiring and heart breaking.

After the movie, as Katie and I walked across the Boston Commons, I asked her how she enjoyed it and what she thought of it. She was somewhat lost in thought, but managed to get an “I liked it” out. I couldn’t help but think I was getting a preview of my soon to be teenager – a topic for another day I suppose.

Over the last year or so I’ve caught Katie writing lyrics. Very often, when she would see that I had seen, she would crumple up the paper she was writing on. Recently she has begun fiddling on the piano with some of these lyrics in front of her.

Katie (not Katy) at the piano

She is still extremely private about what she is writing and stops as soon as she even senses me near the room.

I asked her if now that we had seen your movie, would she be pulling out her guitar that she rarely played and learn how to play a few chords. She said, “I’m really not any good at the guitar.” To which I responded that one only gets good at something by practicing and hard work. I brought her back to your movie, pointing out that your “instant” success was a bit of an illusion and that you had to work very hard for a long time for it, but also that a huge part of your success was your faith and belief in yourself and your music.

I don’t know what your ultimate message was with Part Of Me or even if you had one, but to me one of those messages was about following your dream with the understanding that hard work was necessary to ultimately reach one’s goal.

So that is what I tried to convey to Katie – if music was something she really wanted to do, and if writing songs was something she really enjoyed, then she needed to do it. I told her that without a doubt, she would write a bunch of stinkers, but that process would make her better and eventually lead to some real quality music.

I don’t know how much of that sunk in, but I am hoping that she will follow your example and chase whatever dreams she may have; if not in music then in whatever realm her dreams may lay.

So why am I mad at you? Why am I do angry with you?

When I was a boy, I wanted to grow up to be a singer. I “knew” I was destined to be on stage, singing my songs to thousands of people who were singing along with me. In my head I would make up songs and sing my heart out. I learned to play the flute (my pop said our apartment was too small for my first choices – trumpet or drums), then the piano and eventually began to teach myself the guitar.

And then I began to sing.

I knew I was on my way…until someone told me I sounded terrible and could not sing.

I. Was. Crushed.

And I stopped singing. I threw away the lyrics and let the music fade away from memory.

***

As a young man I decided I wanted to be a television star – not prime time mind you, I’m talking Soap Operas. Goofy, I know. If I couldn’t sing, I was sure I could still act – performing is performing, and I loved (love?) it. At the end of my time in college, I felt like I was just getting over my anxiety about “sounding terrible” and I was determined to go to New York.

Once again, the dream was in my head…

…and once again I let someone else tell me it was a bad idea.

And I didn’t go.

***

As an adult I went through a few different kinds of jobs – I managed paralegals, I taught high school, I did event planning for a premier New York City firm. All of them provided a certain amount of satisfaction, but I still wanted something different. Believing I could not sing or act, I eventually found a new love – fitness (part of the reason you find me here on Run Luau Run). I decided that maybe finally, I had found something that I could excel at, even possibly become a star of sorts (granted at a much smaller scale). I started to study to become a trainer, to help other help themselves. I really was gonna chase the dream this time.

Yet again, I let someone convince that this was not a good idea and I let it go.

***

Why am I mad at you? Because you and your movie and your music were not there when I was a boy, a young man and a late 30-something.

But I am glad I found you now as a dad because you have re-affirmed something in me.

I may be that plastic bag floating in the wind; I may be that paper thin house of cards; I may be buried six-feet underground; this firework may now simply only have the potential to be a sidewalk sparkler…that may be me; I know I am living a life of what if’s, of if only’s, of chances not taken, but I will be damned if I let my Katie do the same.

You reminded me yesterday to encourage my girl to take risks, not fear failure and chase her dreams now and not let anyone else dictate what it is that she wants to do, wants to be. I hope a part of Katy finds its way into a part of Katie.

Thank you for your music (it’s great to listen to while marathon training by the way), thank you for your movie, thank you for you…I’m still mad at you though!

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