At the colloquium in 2008 in Chicago, I showed a sketch of a Gloria to Kevin Allen one afternoon. It was incomplete, but I wanted to get some feedback from him.
"Well, it's basically done," he said. "Finish it before the comp reading on Saturday. What are you waiting for?"
Awhile later I was out in front of the chapel feverishly scribbling onto the score. Wilko Brouwers walked up to me, and after I told him what I was up to, and how I was behind schedule because of my obsessive self-doubting, he said, "You spend too much time behind bars."
That powerful phrase stuck with me, but I was still behind those bars until June of 2012, when a former boss of mine died suddenly. I told Kile Smith that I was thinking of writing a composition in my boss's memory.
"But I don't know what it is with me and composition. I can't just write things down that I hear in my head, and I don't wanna be a finger composer."
Kile seemed perplexed by that comment.
"Who says you can't be a finger composer?"
And then he stuck out one index finger, and then the other, like the way my uncle used to play chopsticks on our piano.
"I've been composing like this my whole life."
After this little pep talk, and another with a friend of mine about the importance of carving out the time to be creative, I've finally hit my stride and finished more than a dozen pieces in the past six months or so. It has been a true joy.
I've decided to self-publish, and a number of my works are already up at my new site. Not everything will be sacred, although right now that's all I've got up there. Add me to your bookmarks, etc, to stay up to date with new additions, and please check back frequently for technological improvements, which will be made as they become feasible.