fresh air

Yesterday was a great day in Minneapolis, clean and crisp, not windy, and I rode my bicycle for many miles. I also walked the Mississippi River Trail with Rob and my little dog Aidan. I also had time to read the Sunday New York Times which is my religion.

I also met a great brilliant friend for a drink and talked about the psychological discoveries I have been having in the aftermath of learning of my brother's terrible demise. Probably you'll hear more about this later.

The last awesome thing I did yesterday was I went to the album release show of a young female musician in Minneapolis. She's from Cincinnati and her Cincinnati parents were there. I spoke with them and they were very happy to hear that after eight albums I was (okay barely but whatever) surviving as a full time artist. The fun part of that conversation is that they thought I had made these eight albums and done all this touring as a girl their daughter's age and that I was now probably in my thirties...haha...I always love that...so when I told them that I was their age they were freaked out and that was fun too. Also, the dad bought me a free drink. And I got on the VIP guest list and didn't have to pay the $15 entrance fee. All good here since I had never heard her music before and was attending with my great brilliant friend who had just interviewed the young artist for MPR radio. So, maybe there will be a show or some shows or a series of touring dates with this younger artist and myself on the bill. This was brought up as a potential development in 2019. 

This blog post is all to say, my brother has died and I am feeling that his death is a signal to live my life to the fullest now. I owe it to him. He was the one who wanted to be Jack Kerouac. 

Also, my brother was my very first promoter. I don't remember my parents paying any attention to this, but when I was really little, three, four, and five, I learned to sing a bunch of radio songs by heart. At this time, my two parents, my big brother, and my little self, were living in a third floor walk up apartment in Chicago. My dad was never home, working constantly at the Stock Exchange as a broker. Our mother worked at the public library. If she only had to work for a few hours, she would either take us with her and we would read all the books and I would play with the collection of hand puppets, or if it was in the evening or a longer shift, she would leave us home alone. My brother being four years older than me would have been ages seven, eight, nine. Our mother always told us that the old lady who lived below us could be called upon in an emergency. I literally had never seen that woman, had no idea what she looked like even, and lived in dread of us ever having to call her, so I was always good. My brother was always good too.

We listened to the radio a lot when we were home alone. We didn't own a television set.

I learned all these cool songs.

My brother did not sing or participate in the making of music with me, but what he did do was actually the beginning of my singing career, I see now. He was my first encourager, my first promoter.

He would dial the kitchen telephone that had a very long curling cord, and he would get one of the very few people we knew, by dialing one of the few telephone numbers we knew, and he would tell the person on the other end of the line that I was going to sing for them. Then he would be smiling from ear to ear and he would hold the phone receiver out in front of me like a microphone and I would sing one of my favorites like Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Are Made For Walking". When I finished my performance he would get back on the phone with the person and talk about me like I was a true marvel. "Isn't that great? Isn't she good?" he'd say laughing with the person on the other end of the phone. These people, I never spoke to them, but it was either our Aunt Evelyn, or his best friend from down the alley, or one of our cousins who lived a few miles away. I didn't care who I was singing to. I loved it. I loved singing. And I loved my big brother. And he was the only person who took any notice of me that way.

So, today, every day, I will honor his talents that went ravaged by mental illness. He was supposed to be the great writer, the famous cool guy. He was supposed to be the special one. But now I am remembering more and more that he thought I was special too.

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