Words & Music

"Art is not what you see, but what you make others see." Edgar Degas

Friday, December 8, 2017


I've been thinking a lot about babies lately. Next month a dear friend is going to become a mommy and last month my baby, who hasn't been a baby for long years, packed up his boyhood room and moved out into the wider world. Baby New Year is right around the corner, and the birth of baby Jesus is about to be celebrated again in many parts of the world. Same as it always was, and different every time.

It is staggering to think of how helpless we are when we come into this world, relying completely on the love and support of others to survive. As we grow up and become stronger and more independent we convince ourselves that we're not as helpless as babies but it's not always true.

The bond of intimacy between parent and child is surpassed only by those between lovers or the closest of friends. Becoming a parent is one of the most challenging and joyful experiences life has to offer.

I wouldn't go back to my childhood, or my son's, even if I could (as sweet as they both were), because of all the hard-earned knowledge I'd have to re-learn, but I feel the tug of vicarious pleasure when I see a dad pushing a stroller or a mom tying her toddler's shoe. In a complicated, stressful world like ours it is easy to forget everything we learned as children. The innocence, the purity, and the unspoiled wonder of a baby's heart are constant reminders of life's most important lessons. 

In 1968, Brazilian artist Caetano Veloso wrote a song called "Baby" and recorded it with Gal Costa. Three years later, Os Mutantes recorded this version of it in English. It's not about the whole baby thing but it's called "Baby" and is worth a listen.

You know, you must take a look at the new land
The swimming pool and 

The teeth of your friend
The dirt in my hand
You know, you must take a look at me

Baby, baby, I know that's the way
Baby, baby, I know that's the way

You know, you must try the new ice cream flavor
Do me a favor, 

Look at me closer
Join us and go far
And hear the new sound of my Bossa Nova

Baby, baby, it's been a long time
Baby, baby, it's been a long time

You know, it's time now to learn Portuguese
It's time now to learn what I know
And what I don't know
And what I don't know
And what I don't know

I know, with me everything is fine
It's time now to make up your mind
We live in the biggest city of South America
Of South America, of South America
Look here, read what I wrote on my shirt

Baby, baby, I love you
Baby, baby, I love you
Baby, baby, I love you
Baby, baby, I love you
Baby, baby, I love you
You do

Tuesday, December 5, 2017
Saturday, November 25, 2017

Happy 4th Blogday


Four years ago today I posted the first of 
482 entries on this blog. Most have been about music, fiction, or painting - both original work and explorations of the work of other artists. At some point in the next week or two this blog will have its 100,000th page view. I'm grateful for every pair of eyes that has taken a few minutes to read or look, and every pair of ears that has listened to the music posted here.


A lot has happened in my life and in the life of my country over the last four years and I've used this platform to try to make sense of those changes in thoughtful and creative ways. And sometimes in angry or humorous ways. Love and art are two of the most potent weapons we have to defeat the demons of this confounding life and they are most effective when shared. The next year will bring new joys and wonders as well as new tragedies and pain. Come back once in a while and see if we can make sense of them together.