Before I ever became a professional writer, I was a musician:  playing in bands, singing, performing, especially writing songs.  It was a dominant creative force in my life for years; but I realized, at a certain point, that the rock and roll lifestyle wasn’t for me.  I was far more suited to sitting in a room, dreaming stories and playing with my imaginary friends. 

Music has remained an intimate part of my life—I continue to write songs and play both guitar and piano—and the musician’s mindset, I think, impacts everything else I do:  the way I think, the way I create, the way I craft my stories.  It once came to me that everything I do creatively, I do as a musician.

One of the most wonderful projects I’ve ever been involved in was a 1997 CD I recorded—aided by my old friend Tricia Alexander and an amazing group of Chicago musicians—called How Many Lifetimes?  Performing often manifested incredible stress in my life, but being in a recording studio, building a song layer by layer, remains as pure and exhilarating a creative act as I’ve ever known.  How Many Lifetimes? is a piece of work I’m incredibly proud of, which is why I’ve decided to share it with you here.  You can hear the entire album on YouTube (the first three tracks are below)—and HML? is also available on Apple Music, Spotify, and other streaming platforms. 

And, with a little luck and grace, I’ll be able to go back into the studio soon to record the dozens of other songs I’ve amassed.  I think the next one will be a double album—and I can’t wait.