For Robin Williams, The Fisher King’s Fool

Over the past few days, I’ve been inundated by all of the posts about Robin Williams. For 48 hours, I think half the status updates in my Facebook feed read, “O Captain, my captain” or mentioned climbing on desks. For me, I needed a little more time to process my feelings. Robin Williams wasn’t just a great actor for me. He was a pivotal figure in my growing up.

When Dead Poet’s Society was released in 1989, I was about twelve years old. I don’t remember exactly when I saw it, but it was probably a few years later on VHS (or betamax). I remember watching it with my father, and both of us sharing a love for it. That movie was one of the first adult things we connected over. The relationship of the mentor to his students resonated with me in my relationship with my father, and the focus on poetry brought out my father’s love of poetry. We were sharing Robert Frost poems, and talking about the movie. I always had a good relationship with my father, but until that moment he was always a bit of an enigma to me. Continue reading

No, I am not talented

I am a musician. Pianist, singer, composer, conductor. Recently, I’ve added organ to that list, and I’ve been working on electric bass because…well, I get bored easily. I’ve gotten many compliments for my musical skills over the years, but the worst of these by far is “You’re so talented.” I shrivel up inside, feeling like a total fraud when those words crash into me. Let me make this perfectly clear. I am not talented. I am not gifted. I am not blessed. Continue reading