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While I Cry

The other day, I had a conversation with my daughter who, with social isolation, has had a few angsty moments. This particular day was about questions of identity -- who am I? When everything has been stripped away, what is left? I told her to consider our dog, Lily -- she eats and drinks, poops and plays, digs and barks and sleeps and loves. Not much more to it that that. The idea of what is the core essence of a person isn't really that different. We are, essentially, all pretty basic beings. We need oxygen to breath and food and water to live, we need shelter and we need to procreate to continue the species. The big existential question of identity is only big because we make it that way. At core, I told my daughter, there are only five or six things I know to universally and consistently be true about myself, things which have held true over a lifetime even though they have taken various forms along the way. And I've had a lot longer to think about it than she has, so she is doing just fine.

For me, one of those basic core elements I identify is creativity. If it doesn't come out in one way, it comes out in another, but it always finds an avenue for expression in my life. Before I wrote novels, I spent a period of several years making and performing music. I quit for a variety of reasons, one of which was the emergence of novel writing in my life. One of the first novels I wrote, Honey on My Lips, is about a musician whose husband is killed in a drunk driving incident. In the novel, she is moving on and letting go, then she ends up doing a charity gig for a sick child, and realizes that is the first time she has performed since her husband's death. It awakens something in her -- being back on stage -- and she doesn't know what to do about it. She is deciding who she really is, and what her future will become.

Before she could tell me what direction she needed to take, I needed to know who she was, and who she'd been. One evening, I took my guitar to the beach, sat at a picnic table in the dark, and wrote Dania's heart out in a song. Her guy was dead, but so alive in her mind that the memories were like living with a ghost. Since that was all she had left of him, she didn't want to let those memories go and they were keeping her from moving on -- but that was okay, because since he'd died, she'd essentially been a ghost, too.

Last summer, I recorded the song. Last night I found the track, and turned it into this video. Hope you enjoy.

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