The Wind and the Wolf

Keiko Matsui has been one of my favorite artists for more than two decades now, and tonight, for the second time in as many decades, I get to see her perform live at The Kessler in Dallas.

I first heard her music when, in the early 1990s, I visited my sister, Cyndie, in California. Living in Tulsa, I hadn’t had much exposure to “smooth jazz.” But on that trip, smooth jazz became, for me, the musical representation of the California I’d missed since moving to Oklahoma right after high school.

Since then, Keiko Matsui’s music has touched my life many times. The first, and most profound time was during an uncertain and painful time in my life–the year preceding my divorce from my children’s father, David. I don’t like to talk about my divorces, because frankly, I’m ashamed to be divorced twice. But, like it or not, they are a part of who I am, of who I’ve become.

For a couple of years before our divorce, I struggled with perhaps the most difficult decision of my life–to break apart our family. I felt selfish for wanting to leave a marriage I could no longer make work, as well as scared about taking care of myself for the first time in my life, in addition to caring for my children.

The mere thought of telling David I wanted to separate was like jumping off a cliff–a point of no return.

One day, I was driving through Yosemite and Keiko Matsui’s “The Wind and the Wolf” began to play.

I still remember feeling the power of the song, the realization that I was strong enough to do whatever I needed to do.

That night, I had a dream. I dreamed I jumped off a cliff, grew wings and flew.

The year following my divorce, I was hired by a company based in San Diego. The position “required” me to be in training in San Diego for three months. As you might imagine, I was thrilled to return to California, even if it was only for three months.

While in San Diego, I attended my first Keiko Matsui concert at a winery in Temecula. I still remember how happy I was to be sitting in the California sunshine, enjoying wine and listening to my favorite artist.

It’s no wonder then, when finished writing The Red Kimono, I decided to use one of Ms. Matsui’s songs in my book trailer. I requested permission to use “Deep Blue” and was thrilled to receive an email that said “yes.” I believe its haunting piano melody–its soft beginning and crescendo toward the end–is the perfect soundtrack for my book.

  • Who is your favorite artist?

  • Is there an artist whose music has inspired you or been there during profound moments of your life?

  • A soundtrack for your book?

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