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May, 2014:

The Long Goodbye

When one is getting ready to move away from the place where one has lived for over twenty years, there are usually some goodbyes that need to be said. Today’s was one of the harder ones of this particular cycle for me.

I first met songwriter and songwriting teacher Jai Josefs back around December 2002, right after I released my first album. At the time, I was just starting to learn about the wide world of songwriting *and* performing, and beginning to wonder what I’d stepped into. I got a critique of one of the songs on that first album, and while I don’t remember which song it was or what was said, let’s just say that it wasn’t a glowingly positive review. In spite of (or perhaps because of) that, I heard that Jai ran a regular songwriting group here in the Bay Area, which I promptly signed up for.

Eleven-plus years later, I attended my last Songshop today. In that time, I’ve really matured as a songwriter. I’ve learned the craft of songwriting, learned what makes contemporary songs successful in the marketplace, and learned how to craft my songs so that others can resonate with them without losing my “voice” in the process. I’ve met and worked with quite a few other songwriters who’ve been in that group, many of whom I’m still in touch with. And I’ve released four more albums, each of them notably better than the one before and all of them light years beyond that first effort of mine. I’ve still got plenty of room to grow…but I’ve come a long way, in large part due to my participation in this group.

And now it’s time to move on. The current cycle of classes ended today, and I won’t be here by the end of the next cycle. And while I’ll still be in touch with some of these people, and while I’ll still be able to work with Jai (and possibly attend future classes) via Skype…it’s still the end of an era for me, and one of the harder goodbyes of this current crop.

But that’s what I signed up for when I told myself I wanted to follow this dream, this purpose. And part of the lesson of this cycle is learning how to both stand more on my own feet and to network more intelligently with more people, as I move into the next stage of my life.

Jai, thanks for everything. It’s been a long road the past eleven plus years, and I’m a much different person today than I was when I first bounded into your group way back when. I think the changes have been all to the good, and you and the people in that group have played a part in that, over the years.

Goodbye and hello again, as always.