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The Artist’s Way

Me & HoOnce in a lifetime, if we’re lucky, we meet a soul who opens the door to another dimension; another way of looking at our existence, another way of seeing ourselves in the universe as an element of humanity and spirituality, and we gain a new outlook on life. I was that lucky.

I met Ho Blair in Provincetown in the summer of 1997, as my life was at a turning point- a jumping off place- from a career in finance to which I had fled from music and poverty, back to my true North of music. I felt alone, afraid and unsure of myself. I had a young family, dependent, mostly on me, to provide for them in all the ways we want to provide for our families. I was being pulled by the Muse and I felt like I had to choose between it and my family. Ho assured me that we are put on this earth to be happy, joyous and free. Of course I thought this must be wrong, since I could not reconcile my heart with my head, and Ho said, “You should read ‘The Artist’s Way.'” This began a 20-year journey back to myself which Ho would guide as one of my dearest confidantes and friends.

My initial fears dissipated rapidly in 1997-1998 as the universe turned to meet me in my true self, giving me everything I needed and more than I expected- just as Ho had promised- once I committed to live authentically and in truth to my inner self. I was blessed with a part in a music business where we invented the $.99 download and then sold the company in a way that brought good money to us. I  found a music publisher that put my songs on television, and I became a central part of music’s move from analog to digital that resulted in other music companies like Tunecore, Audiam and Songlily, as well as affiliations with publishers, record labels and research bodies like MIT’s Communications Futures Program. My search for authenticity brought me “home” to Malibu, to a place I had literally dreamed of as a child, and Ho encouraged me each step of the way. If this sounds like hyperbole, I can tell you that just last fall I returned to the Artist’s Way to guide me through a recommitment to solo writing and a new van Gogh Brothers project. Still fresh, still real, and still relevant. Thank you, Ho.

So you can imagine my reaction when Ho called a few weeks ago to tell me he just found out that he had only a few weeks to live.  I did the only thing I could think of doing, which was to travel to Arizona to be with him and his partner, to express my love and gratitude, my joy and sadness, and to witness his continued dignity and grace even in the face of his own mortality. And of course he wanted to know what I was thinking as I face another turning point, and he said, “Who are you going to call now? There better not be anyone else!” And of course there is not, because we only meet someone like Ho once in a lifetime, if we’re lucky.

Yesterday, even sooner than I expected, we lost dear Ho. I feel like life should stop, but the big, wide beautiful life that I now have continues to unfold in wonderful ways, and I’m being carried along in it. My return to solo writing yielded a new song that the van Gogh Brothers and I recorded last week, and are finishing next week, with another in the wings. We are preparing for shows in Greater Boston and Worcester in April that we are all excited about. I am wondrous and fortunate, and I wish only that everyone gets the chance to experience such a soul as I have in my dear friend, Ho. For those of you who know me, you know a piece of him, too.

Life is a blink of an eye. Carpe diem.

JC