(Music) Nuts & (Lightning) Bolts

If lightning struck you twice — the good kind of lightning, that is — you would think of it as a happy fluke.

If that good lightning somehow struck you 3 times, you might wonder if it was more than a fluke.

But if that good lightning struck you 4 separate times, you might just suspect that you were getting strangely adept at being in the right place at the right time. And that the place in question is a place you would like to visit as often as possible, in hopes of further bolts from the sky.

Well, something like that happened to me. Here are my 4 lightning strikes.

A decade and a half ago, I hit it off with a friendly married couple while the 3 of us were waiting for a Jimmy Eat World concert to start in Denver.

Then 1 year after that, I hit it off with another friendly married couple while the 3 of us were waiting for a Mark Kozelek concert to start in St. Paul.

Then 10 years after that, I hit off with another friendly married couple after the 3 of us had just watched a Jeremy Enigk concert in Lancaster.

Then 4 years after that (last weekend), I hit it off with another friendly married couple while the 3 of us were waiting for a Pedro the Lion concert to start in Philadelphia.

So, 4 married couples. (9 music nuts, including me.) At 4 springtime concerts. In 3 time zones. In a span of 14 years.

Everyone’s good at something. And apparently I’m good at becoming buddies with the betrothed at concerts taking place between the months of March and June.

Josh and Laura from Kansas.

Philip and Christina from Missouri.

Christina and Mark from eastern Pennsylvania.

Kyle and Erica from central Pennsylvania.

In all 4 cases, what inspired our connection was the music we loved in common, combined with the intense feeling of excitement we had about hearing that music played on stage within an hour.

In all 4 cases, we dropped our guard as soon as we shared that first exchange of “What’s your favorite album?” and “When did you first discover their music?” and “I’ve been looking forward to this night for a year!!” These are the kinds of conversational volleys that unite strangers immediately, without the need for caveats or icebreakers or careful inquisitions.

And in all 4 cases, we all immediately became Facebook friends and proceeded to have varying degrees of virtual connectedness in the days (or decades) to come. And let me tell you, it’s astonishing to see the serendipity-inspired connections that can blossom across the miles from a stray pre-concert conversation. Might even bolster, or restore, a guy’s faith in humanity.

Here are the 2 most striking examples of this serendipity from my 4 lightning-strike moments.

The first example is a couple (I’ll keep it anonymous as to who’s who) whom I haven’t yet seen in person again since our concert convergence. And yet I consider them both friends whom I’ve had warm, sporadic virtual exchanges with about life and music. And on two separate occasions, they have even sent me and my family warm, generous care packages including a gift card (after one of our babies was born), a beloved children’s book and some beautiful hand-me-down clothes (when our children were a little older), and even a USB full of music they correctly thought I might appreciate.

How does that even happen? How do you meet someone, hit it off for a few hours, never see them in person again, but become friends who like and respect each other? Social media may be a dumpster fire on the whole, but it’s also kind of incredible at holding people together across different time zones.

The second example is a couple whom I’ve only seen in person one other time since our concert convergence. But that one time was a doozy. Sight (almost entirely) unseen, 4 years after we saw Jimmy Eat World in Denver, this couple offered a night of lodging to me and Dani and our beloved dog Taz while we, in our 2 heavily burdened cars and 1 U-Haul trailer, migrated from Colorado to Pennsylvania.

This couple saw that we were moving on Facebook and offered to let us stay, purely out of the goodness of their hearts. Despite the notable fact that they had only met me once, and had never met Dani. (Or Taz either for that matter, but it’s no surprise that these 2 ardent dog lovers welcomed our adorable Jack Russell terrier with open arms.)

So one night in September 2013, we saved $100 on lodging and, exponentially more priceless, made some epic memories deep in the Bible Belt. The convergence was everything we could have hoped for and considerably more. It cemented that the 4 of us would be bona fide buddies from 1,100 miles away, all of us now fully convinced that if we were neighbors we’d be double-dating cohorts — and playdate partners too, once they welcomed their baby boy 5 years later. We have much in common with them, including our love of dogs, our (or mostly my) upbringing, and our very belated and very euphoric entrance into the parenting realm. But mostly we all just dig each other’s vibes.

And all of this serendipity exists simply because I struck up a caffeinated conversation with 2 friendly fellow kids (at heart) while waiting in line for a Jimmy Eat World 10-year Clarity anniversary show at the historic Ogden in Denver.

On a bonkers side note, get this: Both of the couples I’ve described at length drove almost exactly 600 miles to see the two concerts in question. Their respective driving distance? 598 and 601. Or 3 miles apart. Wild.

But also, 600 miles! A 10-hour drive! I mean, I love Jimmy Eat World and I loved Mark Kozelek (past tense… it’s a long story), but these four really, really love them.

Clearly the 5 of us were meant to see those shows.

Clearly I was meant to stand in line next to them.

Clearly we were all meant to be struck by lightning.

Love Thyself (& Like Thyself)

Me: “Greyson, who do you love?”

Greyson: “I love Mama, I love Papa, I love Violet, I love Greyson!”

Me: “That’s great, buddy!”

Variations on this happy exchange have been commonplace in our home for years, ever since our 5-but-now-perilously-close-to-6-year-old first started uttering sentences. And our 3-year-old Violet now utters similar things, having learned well from her big brother the importance of spreading your love to every member of one’s family. Including that too-often-neglected member…


The first time Greyson expressed this sentiment, I must confess it caught me off-guard for a moment. He loves himself? Is that healthy?

Then 2 seconds later, or maybe even just 1, I rejected that knee-jerk response in its entirety. It was a residue of the ‘90s trend (in the ecosystem where I grew up) of seeing self-esteem and self-love as worrisome, “worldly” things. As signs of selfishness and vanity.

I remember hearing warnings about “the self-esteem movement” and how it would ruin children by essentially making them into little demigods who revere themselves at the expense of all else. There was a real fear that self-love was a kind of kryptonite for humanity. That God intended for us to think of ourselves as innately worthless, or at least as innately worthy of strong skepticism.

That philosophical topic, the innate goodness or non-goodness of humanity, is a topic for another day.

But the operative question here is: Why would we want our children to extend their love to all their friends and family, and even to humanity on the whole, but not to their own sweet little developing selves? Why would I ever resist having my child be a huge fan of himself? Isn’t that a big part of what makes a human being not only well-adjusted and happy, but also able to love others?

The answers to these questions seem clear to me now that I’m an adult. Yes, I want my children to love themselves, and like themselves.

Just like I want you to love yourself, and like yourself.

Just like I want me (and must convince myself in my darker moments) to love myself, and like myself.

In a way, I think this premise might be the linchpin of healthy parenting, and the linchpin of healthy adulting in general. Not to mention the eternal pursuit of mental health.

Ask yourself this, and don’t let your knee jerk in any direction but really ponder the question:

Are more problems and evils in the world caused by people who have a generous amount of self-love (and self-acceptance)?

Or are more problems and evils in the world caused by people who, deep down in the cauldron of their soul, harbor self-loathing and have an unhealthy relationship with themselves?

It’s a very tricky question because we (rightly) think of most of the bad actors on the world stage as being toxic narcissists, obsessed with their own vanity and thus drunk on the power they can wield over others. So it’s not an irrational premise to think that people who break all the rules of civilized society are the ones who think — or seem to think — a great deal of themselves. It’s easy to think of the Donald Trumps and the Vladimir Putins and the Harvey Weinsteins of the world as people who love themselves far, far too much.

But there needs to be a sharp distinction made between toxic vanity and healthy self-love. Toxic vanity is a deeply corrosive thing. But it’s often a result of self-loathing in a person for whom real love (and self-respect) were not properly modeled during adolescence. So what looks like self-love can be a warped permutation of self-hate. A person who isn’t at peace with themselves can end up turning their devastated sense of self-worth into a virulent vanity that poisons everyone around them.

Healthy self-love, on the other hand, is an entirely different thing. Valuing yourself, accepting yourself, and feeling comfortable in your own skin are traits that lead to good outcomes in people who are even halfway well-adjusted.

As the phrase goes, hurt people hurt people. And a similarly true adage might be…

Loved people love people.

This applies both to those who are well-loved by others (their parents, their spouse, their children, their friends) and also to those who receive plenty of self-love. The more love we receive, including from ourselves, the more inclined — and the more emotionally capable — we are to love others.

The Beatles once said: “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”

The flipside of that is true as well: The love you make is equal to the love you take.

Which is to say, our ability to love each other is quite often a function of the love we have received. And the person we often receive the least amount of love from is the one we see in the mirror, gazing back with scorn and skepticism.

So the more we can accept, embrace, and love ourselves, the more love we will have to freely distribute to everyone around us — thus making the world a better and brighter place.

So be lavish with your love in every direction. Just like Greyson and Violet, who have never been given any societal construct to counter their innate acceptance of themselves.

After all, every person deserves to be loved. Deeply and unconditionally.

Even that ruthlessly judgmental person you know. The one you see every day in the mirror. Tiredly frowning at his furrowed brow. Brow furrowed as he noticed his tired frown.

Because that guy? That girl? They deserve to be loved too.

Just as deeply. Just as unconditionally.

This is How We (Rock &) Roll

In the nearly 6 years since our first child was born, there have been not 5, not 4, not 3, but exactly 2 weekends that my wife Dani and I have gotten away from the kids for more than 1 day.

Two weekends. In 5 years and 9 months. That’s an average of 1 kid-free multi-day getaway every 34 ½ months. 1 every 1,035 days. Despite me being a wanderlust-addled former road-tripping vagabond wannabe beatnik. And despite us both being people who appreciate seeing the wide world.

I’m inclined to place all blame for this on the Covid era, that eminently blame-able epoch of epidemiology. And without question, Dani and I have vigilantly quarantined ourselves, carefully trying to protect our kids at any cost. (Including possibly, at times, our sanity.)

But really, our sleep-dependent babies were the adorable culprits long before coronavirus started sabotaging our travel plans. It’s tough to have a baby-free getaway when your baby won’t let you freely get away for more than a few hours. (Our answer to every Southwest Airlines commercial is YES PLEASE.)

Thankfully, babies get older, slightly more independent, and notably more inclined to stay at Grandma’s house. So both of the getaway weekends we finally scheduled — those glistening oases! those desperately needed release valves! — took place in the last 7 months, with the kids at 5 and 3 years old.

Both trips took us to the Boston area on a mild, sun-dappled, fall/spring weekend.

Both experiences involved downtown Airbnb spots. And top-shelf pizza joints. And first-time meet-ups with Massachusetts friends.

Both road trips were comprised of playlist-enhanced 7-hour drives through PA, NY, NJ, CT, and MA, the backdrop for long (and long-past-due) adult conversations, between a pandemic-weary man/dad and an equally pandemic-weary woman/mom, dialogues which were blissfully uninterrupted by rapid-fire toddler queries.

But most notably, both getaways featured the same radiant, reverberating, deeply rejuvenating (and somehow reassuring) singular human experience as their centerpiece. The same road-trip destination. Namely…

An eardrum-pummeling, head-banging, mind-blowing, heart-swelling, soul-restoring Caspian concert.

Here are the exact specs, for the sake of posterity… on the last day of September and the first day of October 2021, we watched Caspian headline back-to-back shows at the Sinclair in Cambridge. Then in April 2022, i.e. last weekend, we watched Caspian play an opening set at the Roadrunner in Boston (after watching Scotland-based Mogwai play at Paradise Rock Club the night before).

Both pilgrimages to the Boston area, and all 3 mecca-like nights of music, for us had a spiritual quality. In fact, Dani wrote on Instagram after the last concert: “Spirit restored.”

For us, this music is both transfixing and transformative.

Transcendent, even.

So what’s so great about this band, you might ask? Why have I never heard of them, you might query? Are they a C.S. Lewis tribute band, you might wonder? Great questions! Thanks for asking.

First, Caspian is my favorite band on this (or any other) planet.

Second, Caspian also happens to be Dani’s favorite band on this (or any other) planet.

The two of us have wildly different personalities, and fairly different musical tastes. She loves Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, and Fleetwood Mac, and her mid-‘90s musical obsession was Def Leppard. I love Sigur Rós, Jimmy Eat World, and Hammock, and my mid-‘90s musical obsession was Steven Curtis Chapman. Not too much commonality there, right?

But where we (magically! thankfully! and pretty understandably) overlap in our musical proclivities — that hallowed common ground of interest which is so satisfying to find in any marriage or friendship — is a 5-piece instrumental rock band from Beverly, Massachusetts. A band that plays cathartic, cinematic, masterfully layered rock music featuring 4 guitars and drums.

Both Dani and I, not as a mind-melded unit but separately as very distinct entities, are enamored beyond words with Caspian’s songs. Both of us see their 6 studio albums as the apex of compositional precision, melodic beauty, granite-hard rock intensity, and ocean-deep emotional resonance.

And both of us are not only willing but doggedly, stubbornly dead-set on driving to see them anytime they come within 8-10 hours of central Pennsylvania.

I discovered Caspian in 2009 when a guy I worked with, to whom I now basically owe my life (even though I’m only 60% sure that his name was Ryan), burned me a CD of their album The Four Trees. I introduced it to Dani when I met her a few months later; in fact, I slotted a Caspian song at track #1 on the first mix CD of dozens that I made for her, before I had even played her a Caspian song in person. That was how emblematic their music was of what I wanted to show her about myself in our very early days of dating.

As far as I was concerned, Caspian was my business card. My avatar. An emblem of my best self. The greatest jaw-dropping beauty I had yet found, back before true love and fatherhood dropped my jaw even further.

For her part, Dani liked the band and appreciated them quite a bit for years. But she didn’t fully tumble down the Caspian rabbit hole until the pandemic began in 2020. At that point, I can honestly say that I have never seen anyone become more single-minded about any earthly thing — with the exception of our 5-year-old son and his various single-minded obsessions — than Dani and Caspian.

It was a wonder to behold. Heck, I almost felt jealous.

And what’s wild to me, although not truly surprising, is that just 2 years later, Dani’s knowledge of Caspian has now fully eclipsed mine. Our love for the band is precisely equal (there being no need to rank such things anyway). But as for comprehensive knowledge of them? She knows them inside and out and is essentially a steel-trap archivist of Caspian facts and lore. She is more familiar with the timeline of their career than almost anyone but the band members themselves.

(Well, besides them and our friend Todd Harrington. Shout-out to you, Todd, if you happen to be reading this.)

Dani listens to Caspian during every single run and every single grueling workout she does, which adds up to roughly 75 minutes a day. Each of us at this point have listened to every single Caspian album at least 50 times, and maybe closer to 100 in some cases. We are among the truest, bluest fans there are.

With all of that as a backdrop, I want to explain exactly how we roll when we see Caspian play live (and beforehand). There is a certain methodology to it that might interest not just other Caspian fans, but everyone who has ever deeply admired a band.

Everyone who has ever been called, positively or pejoratively, a “groupie.”

Every die-hard fan who understands the fine art of musical admiration.

Everyone who… you know… gets it.

So this is how we roll, Caspian-show-wise.

First, we buy as much merch as we can, including CDs and vinyl. We purchase it directly from Bandcamp or from the band’s own site. (Although we use iTunes, we wouldn’t dream of buying a Caspian album from money-grubbing juggernauts like them or Spotify.)

We also both follow their feeds closely. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. We grab concert tickets as soon as they’re available — once we book my mom’s ultra-premium babysitting services, months in advance. Not just when they hit Philly, but also Boston. (We could have seen them in Brooklyn and saved 3 hours of driving, but who wants to find parking in NYC?) We even toyed briefly with the idea of hopping the border to see them headline this June in Toronto, which is roughly the same distance away as Boston. But we nixed that idea. For now, seeing Caspian play in another country remains on my bucket list.

Additionally, I comment on every Caspian tweet and Facebook post I can. Not just out of fawning love for the band, but as a pragmatic display of support. Algorithms are brutal these days, especially for hardscrabble working-class bands who don’t have money to throw at ice-cold billionaires like Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey so they’ll kindly deign to “promote” their posts. Bands need every bit of traffic and traction they can get from their fans. And it’s my pleasure to give them that traffic.

At all times, we keep our finger on the pulse and our ear to the ground.

Fast-forward to the day of the show, which finally arrives after what feels like a painstaking half-decade of waiting. We arrive at the venue as early as possible. This is not something to toy around with. Because if you don’t get in line before the doors open, you could very easily cede the best (non) seat in the (standing room only) house to someone else. The primo spot in question is the invaluable real estate right next to the stage.

For all 3 recent Caspian concerts, Dani and I managed to nab the stage-center-left spot, right below Phil and Cal and across from Jonny and Jani, with Justin on the skins in the back. We laid claim to that spot right after the doors opened each night, and through careful space-holding we retained it through multiple opening acts and multiple restroom visits.

As for said visits to the head, and I can’t stress this enough, always go one at a time. Then while your partner visits the restroom, your mission is to preserve your full 2-person space on the floor. To do this you have to make yourself a bit larger, with heightened awareness of possible interlopers and a wider, more menacing stance. Kind of like when you see a Grizzly bear in the wild… but without all the yelling. (In my personal experience, there’s usually no need to yell at anyone at a concert.)

Just remember: Preserve the real estate, no matter what.

Next, the opening act(s) do their thing. Always show them lots of love. Openers are in the precarious position of playing for a crowd that often consists mostly of people who have never heard of their music. Thus, their songs often get loudly talked over — or even heckled.

So when I’m a fan of the headliner, I consider it my duty to enthusiastically support their supporting acts. Even more so in the case of Caspian, who hand-selected the openers (Junior Beef and Circus Trees, both wonderful) for their fall tour dates. And it’s always satisfying to hear a local, lower-level band give admiring shout-outs to the mid-level headlining band they’re opening for. Because they often feel as grateful to that band as you, in your loyal fandom, have felt for years. And solidarity is a good feeling.

Then comes the moment of truth. Your favorite band takes the stage. Hopefully you’ve hit the restroom recently enough that you can stand for 90 minutes without interruption. And if you’re like me, you have your one and only beer of the night (because I’m frugal and never want to be drunk again for the rest of my life), but have just begun to drink it. That way, you can nurse it gently through the duration of the band’s set, which in Caspian’s case is a decidedly un-gentle one.

So beer-wise, that’s how I roll. By sipping. No need to pound anything, other than the air drums.

In addition to the huge benefit of proximity, the other reason I find it imperative to nab a spot right up front is that I can rest one hand on the stage so as to fortify my center of gravity for some seriously cranium-shaking headbanging. I’m 42, not quite as young as I used to be (although eternally 27 in my mind), and that helpful point of contact goes a long way to stabilize me.

It connects me in a tactile way to the floor, to the stage, and even to the band. It makes me feel solid and steady while my body hums, vibrates, reverberates, and syncs itself with Caspian’s ground-shaking, sky-scraping songs.

Through that subterranean physical connection, which defies reductive explanation, I throttle all of my self-consciousness. All of my latent Baptist-boy fear of dancing. All of my residual loathing of the body that I was raised to think contained primarily sin and carnal impulses.

Through that deep physical connection, I momentarily exorcise all the fatigue demons of this enduring pandemic. Of the eviscerating last presidential term (which still haunts my bones). Of the endless emotional exhaustion known as parenting.

Through that deep physical connection, I briefly transcend my mortal coil. My body and my soul align with a higher, holier realm.

Art, melody, ferocity, beauty.

The musical stratosphere.

Maybe even life itself.

*long exhale*

This is a lot to put into words. Especially since it’s not something that even lends itself to words. Music is a grid that goes well beyond language. As someone once said, “Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.” You can’t explain what happens when your body or your heart responds to a piece of music that you love.

But I suppose there’s no harm in trying. After all, I’m not a composer of melodies but a writer of words. So words are all I have.

*long inhale*

As euphoric as a Caspian concert is for me, the post-show experience might be even more meaningful to me on a fundamental human level.

After all 3 recent Caspian concerts — and also before and after the Mogwai concert I referenced earlier, which the Caspian guys attended as fans — I had the pleasure of talking to most of the guys: Phil, Jonny, Cal, and Justin. Everyone but Jani (who I envision being the most introverted of the group). And let me tell you: All of these guys are legit. The truest, bluest rock stars imaginable.

In the last half-century, rock & rollers have developed a pretty well-established reputation. The bigger they are, the more drunk on the excesses of fame (and drunk on, you know, alcohol) they often can be.

So it is a profoundly refreshing thing to meet a bunch of guys in a rock band and find out that all 5 of them, in addition to being deeply badass as rock craftsmen, are also deeply likable as humans. And down-to-earth. And good-humored. And hard-working. And grateful for every one of their fans.

It would be one thing if Caspian were simply the purveyors of my favorite music on earth. The modern equivalent of rock legends like Led Zeppelin or The Who, with backstage (and hotel room) horror stories you try not to think about too much because you don’t want it to spoil the perfection of their music.

But Caspian is a deeply principled band of brothers. They are human beings I respect. They are people I want my son and daughter to emulate. Both in terms of their tenacity in pursuing their dream to the ends of the earth, and their warmth in not letting that dream impede any of their basic humanity.

I could get more specific about what I love about each of the guys, to the extent that I’ve gotten to know them a little bit. But I’ll let those conversations remain personal. (Until I write their unauthorized biography, that is.)

For now, I’ll just say to my Caspian guys, if any of them are still reading this epic missive…

“Go… all… the way.”

For our part, Dani and I will go with you all the way, as will a dozen other Caspian admirers we know personally (and tens of thousands more worldwide).

We’ll be the ones down in front, stage left, eyes glistening in the glow of the house lights.

Hearts aflame in the incendiary heat of your jams.

Minds blown by the complexity of your compositions.

Bodies pulverized by Phil’s, Cal’s, and Jonny’s electrifying guitar prowess.

Eardrums shredded by Justin’s eviscerating drum carnage.

Bones rattled by Jani’s endlessly sick bass line.

And we have but one humble request.

Rock on, fellas.

(Forever, if at all possible.)

They’re Poets (Because They Don’t Know It)

The way my 5-year-old and my 3-year-old manifest creativity, and the way I do at 42, is vastly different. And that difference speaks volumes about the limitations of adulthood, and the innate wonder (and wonderfulness) of childhood.

Here is what Greyson and Violet’s creativity looks like. Either separately or together, they spontaneously generate what could be described as song-poem-stories. These are rapidly flowing, sing-song-y streams of consciousness (branching into smaller tributaries of consciousness) that tell miniature stories. Often fascinating, always goofy, sometimes incomprehensible, and never even remotely dull.

The raw material that makes up these stories is a combination of the stuff that is in our house, the stuff that we watch on TV with the kids, and the stuff that interests them in general — such as animals, vehicles, nature, Christmas carols, and Hersheypark. Sometimes the miniature stories are relatively linear and make sense to my Euclidean mind. And sometimes they defy logic, narrative coherence, explanation, and/or gravity (as when the characters in the story suddenly float up into the sky for no reason).

My favorite part about these song-poem-stories is that Greyson and Violet verbally conjure them with breakneck velocity. Never pausing. Never second-guessing. Never self-judging. They simply utter the colorful, silly, wondrous mess of details that are in their sweet little minds, in whatever order they happen to come out of their sweet little mouths, and then they move on to the next story.

They are unaware of either the artistic brilliance or the narrative flaws of their story creations. So in a sense, there are no flaws. These song-poem-stories attain a kind of innocent perfection because they are birthed from minds untethered from the chains of self-consciousness. And untethered from any sense of wanting or needing to create something for public consumption.

Their creativity is instinctive. Pure impulse, pure pleasure. They are creating for the sake of creating.

Then there’s 42-year-old me. My own creativity is decidedly more… tethered. I second-guess, I judge myself, and my streams of consciousness are anything but rapidly flowing. I wake up early and need a half-cup of coffee to even begin conjuring up some words. Even then, I get distracted from the act of creation by last night’s Colbert monologue or NBA box scores.

Once I start, I painstakingly craft each sentence within an inch of its life, looking in every case for that elusive perfect word choice, like Indiana Jones arduously searching for the holy grail in the Canyon of the Crescent Moon. (I think I might be mashing 2 of those movies together. My apologies to George Lucas.)

During my lower moments, like last winter or the previous summer, I can’t seem to access my creativity at all. In a typical year, I’m only creative for 5-7 months. So I try to capitalize on my periods of mental awakeness by writing as much as I can. But because I craft everything so methodically, my creative output is limited to maybe 25 annual blog posts. 30 in a good year, 20 in a sluggish one.

Greyson and Violet, on the other hand? I can’t begin to keep track of their creative output. Because they aren’t hyper-aware of their own creativity and don’t harshly judge one ounce of it, they generate words and conjure mental images at a truly prolific clip. They’re like a band that pops off a great album every year (the Beatles in the late ‘60s, maybe?), while I’m like the band that releases only 2 albums per decade because I’m crafting every note of every measure as if the future of humanity is hanging in the balance.

I hope our kids start writing down their wildly imagined song/poem/stories sometime soon so that we’re able to document their artistic body of work more easily. We try to encourage Greyson to do that, but so far he’s more of an impromptu guy.

He and Violet are like improvisational spoken-word poets. A new generation of free-flowing beatniks. Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg would be proud. But even those guys wrote their prose and poetry (I assume) with public consumption in mind.

Greyson and Violet simply do it because they’re pure artists. Just as all children are, before they become hyper-aware.

I envy and deeply admire that trait. And I’m grateful to have a front-row seat.