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Born Free, Ever Free

My birthday offering to you

Dear Friends,

It’s that day of the year again when social media alerts you on my birthday. For those who have paid attention over the years, it is my tradition to surprise you on this day with a belief that counters common birthday culture.

This is my first time celebrating a birthday in confinement, but do not think I have been deprived of my freedom. We are born to be free, and in truth always remain free, even when circumstances make us feel constrained. Our freedom is an unalterable attribute of the gift called life. I received that gift, as you all did, by way of a mother. It is really she that I should celebrate on my birthday. I was meant to see her while the bluebonnets were in bloom, but no plane would take me there.

She would have liked to hear me play her favorite tune: Méditation from Thaïs, by Jules Massenet. It's not my choice of music (too sweetly sentimental), but this was what my mom would have liked, so it's for her. With the raw sound of my Texas fiddle as recorded by my smartphone, and in spite of a few beats impatiently cropped, I have done my best for her, down by the riverside far away. The illustrious contemporary French violinist, Renaud Capuçon, recorded the same piece during this period of confinement….but from the comfort of his home. He and I must not be compared in artistry, yet I suppose my mother will still prefer me.

She would have also very much liked for me to become a writer but was too worried about me making a living to encourage that. So I did, at the time, what the responsible boy was supposed to do. I went to work.

But now all business has come to a crashing halt (at least mine has). There is no more money coming in, but the words are pouring out. Yes mom, I have finished off four books during this confinement so far, and more are on the way. I wish you could read them.

For my birthday, I want you all to know, it’s my turn to give. What I offer you is none other than the unadulterated substance of my life. You have only to bear witness. It is a strange birthday wish, to ask that you simply read and know that I exist. So here you are:

Thank you all for your presence in my life, and enjoy this first day of May!


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