Thursday, July 22, 2010

To Georgia, with Love

Here I am in Atlanta, Georgia. Day 4 1/2.

Monday I went to Eddie's Attic and I got to see the Indigo Girls play 2 sets on the patio. There was no better way to begin my time in Georgia. Many people associate this state with peaches. I associate it with Savannah. Love. Decatur. Eddie's Attic. And the Indigo Girls. There's something about their music that takes me back to the first time I fell in love, the whirlwind of it, and the complexity of it. And I feel as though a number of their songs belong on the soundtrack of my life. To hear them play Ghost, Romeo & Juliet, Kid Fears, Three County Highway, Shame on You all in one night--it was like taking a trip down memory lane and I genuinely loved every minute of it. Listening to them sparked a new and pretty meaty thought. I turned to my friend Christina and said, "I love how they love. I honestly believe that it's only through loving as intensely as they do that they are capable of writing and expressing music as good and as intense." She nodded and smiled. She understood. It doesn't take a singer-songwriter to get this--it just takes an individual with the capacity to feel love and feel hurt and not run from these feelings.

Suddenly I was realizing something about myself while recognizing this in them. For years, I've had friends and family tell me I let myself get too consumed with love. I believe it's a protective reaction when they see me light up about someone. Because when someone can become so lit up about someone else, they can also become that broken-hearted if things don't go well. And I get this. Lordy, do I get this. But without becoming so lit up about the possibility of love, without letting my heart get so wrapped up in loving another person, there would be no songs. There would be no Dirty Blonde. There would be no Karma. There would be no Damn Angels. There would be no Swan Song. There would be no Doot Do Song. There would be no Try. There would be no Lullabye. Essentially there would be no songs, because LOVE is my inspiration for music. It's what compels the melodies to surprise me in the shower, it's what compels the lyrics to stir while I'm in my car driving. Sure, I could write about other things like politics, or goats, or coffee. But I write about love because that's what I do best. And I'm hopeful that I will know and experience love again. That I will be lit up again. And maybe, just maybe it will work itself out so that my family and friends can rejoice and not worry too much about me. I finally feel enough love within my life to not lose myself over the loss of one love. Because I have learned that loss can lead to gain if you play your cards right.

So thank you, Georgia. You continue to faithfully support and nurture the love I have within me.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

In My Element

Kate gave me a book to read yesterday, and after blogging, I sat down to read it. And there I was, in awe again, feeling like the Universe was speaking directly to me.

The book she handed me is called, "The Element" by Ken Robinson. And as it says on the cover, the book is about "how finding your passion changes everything." Well, of course it does. This seems like such an obvious truth. But it's not so easy for us human beings to put this truth into practice. We let a lot get in the way. The book explores this and puts the necessity of finding our passions on the table.

I find myself smiling at the coincidence that I'm reading it now, given what it's about, and knowing that just recently I began to truly understand the importance of finding and living out my passion. Only recently have I allowed myself to embrace this understanding fully and put it into fuller motion. Kinda coincidental that this book landed in my hands 3 days into a journey that is focused on helping my passion blossom.

I don't mean to say that I haven't worked hard at embracing a passion before now or that I just started my journey three days ago. This would be grossly incorrect. I have worked very hard, since I was a teenager really, at pursuing my dreams. When I sit back and consider all that I've done, I can honestly say I have realized the need to follow my passions for a very long time. Until the diagnosis of my kidney disease, I was actively supporting my passion for theater. Working at Great Lakes Theater Festival, directing a grassroots oral-history theater project and ultimately serving as the Artistic Director for that project on a State-Wide level--these things were EXTREMELY challenging, but I loved doing what I felt passionate about and felt blessed for the opportunities to do so. It kinda baffles me that all that came to an abrupt halt when I was told by a doctor that I need to have a stable, 9-5 job, with good health insurance. Really? Is this what healthy people do? Give up their passions, so they can have good health insurance? Oh, America. Thank god I didn't give up on my passion. I just kinda reshaped it. Theater was set aside, but a passion for music was planted. In the last six months, the time and effort I have put into music has begun to bloom in some truly beautiful ways.

Ken Robinson says "the Element is the place where the things we love to do and the things we are good at come together."

I believe I am in my Element. I do say, it feels very, very good.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

My 1st NYC performance

On Monday night, I experienced my first NYC performance.

Here's how it went.

I waited patiently for Alec's bus to arrive from Philly, and in the fantastic chaos of NYC, he arrived just after my friend Kate went to go find him. (Which is kinda funny, cause she's never met him. She was just going out to find a guy with a guitar walking on Rivington.) So there I was holding a baby, feeding a toddler, and there was Alec at the door. A bit sweaty after sprinting with a guitar so that we could make it to open-mic up sign ups. It's been almost two years since I have seen Alec. This reunion was bliss. He is a music soul-mate. And we musicians need music soul mates to survive.

I handed off Josie to Kate, said goodbye to them and Orion, and headed out to Caffe Vivaldi. We ordered a car to get us there in time. We needed to get there at 6:00 for sign-up. At 5:58, I asked the driver if he could get us there by 6. Yes, a mid-western girl with no real understanding of NYC traffic. But The fates were on my side, cause we got there and there were still some remaining slots at 6:03. I got slot 22, and Alec got slot 9. We politely bowed out of there, turned the corner, and felt as though we knew exactly where we were going. But we had ZERO idea where the Sidewalk Cafe was. Funny how confident you can feel, when you are high on life! We stepped inside a store, asked for directions, and headed in the completely wrong direction for 15 minutes.

Sweaty and buzzing with excitement and realizing we were lost, we decided to get a taxi. Which is quite a tricky thing to do in a NYC rush hour. But I worked my hips (actually just leaned on my guitar case) and Alec worked his red-head flare. And together, after ten minutes and a few different corners, we landed a cab. We got in and he drove us back past the 15 minutes of wrong direction we had just dragged ourselves through. But I didn't care. And I don't think Alec cared. I was ecstatic to be in NYC, with a dear friend, working on following my dreams.

We got to Sidewalk Cafe and headed into the back to find this amazing little space and stage. I felt the history come alive in my bones. This is where Beck and Regina Spektor launched themselves. I imagined Regina on the upright piano, young and fresh, and undiscovered. I was floored. Alec and I crashed ourselves into a table and ordered drinks. We had a half hour to catch our breath and take in the space before they started the lottery system.

Nearly 60 people showed up for the lottery. SIXTY! Sixty aspiring singer-songwriters, comics, rappers, beat-boxers, poets. I have not been in a room full of oozing creativity like that in years. Alive. That's the feeling. I felt so very, very ALIVE.

And then I drew my number. 55. Alec drew his number. 52. Ha! Which meant we would play around 1 a.m. So after finishing our drinks and an order of nachos, we headed back to Vivaldi and Katie met us there. We sat, and drank, and listened to some impressive, and some not so impressive people do their thing.

And then it was my turn. My chance. I chose Dirty Blonde and Damn Angels. In that order. I admit, I was super nervous. But I felt the magic of music unfold and I introduced myself and shared that this was my first NYC open mic. The crowd responded with warmth. I played Dirty Blonde. And it was silent. And I knew, that I was in the exact space I was meant to be. I felt things connecting in ways that I have imagined, but maybe didn't believe possible for the past few years.

Something dawned on me in this moment.

I realized that regardless of what comes out of this trip, I am learning that I have something truly unique to bring to a room, and it's my purpose, my responsibility to share this with as many people as I can. I'm realizing that when I do share, whether it's in the Beachland Tavern with friends and family, or in a historic NYC music venue with strangers, people stop and listen. It's kinda scary. But it's also beautiful. Very beautiful. I hope this doesn't come across as egotistical. It's just that it's been years of feeling out of sorts, yearning for something more, not believing in myself. And holding back. In so many ways. But I felt so very different. I felt like I was where I meant to be, musically and spiritually. And that feeling stayed with me all the way through til 1 a.m. when I played at Sidewalk. I sang again. Again, there was silence.

Silence has never stirred such emotion within me. I know I am meant to do this. I trust that I am meant to be on this journey.

(I just have to figure out the logistics of how to do it more.)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

My First CD Compilation!

Two weeks ago, I received the following email:

Hello there!

In conjunction with the Cleveland Scene, LimeWire Store is putting together a sampler of Cleveland-area artists to be available as a free download on our site. Jeff Niesel, Music Editor at Cleveland Scene, has chosen a list of up and coming Cleveland artists, and Maura Rogers made the list!

The FREE sampler will be titled EAR TO THE GROUND: CLEVELAND, and will be release exclusively at LimeWire Store on July 9th. Each month we spotlight a new city, and in celebration of Betty White [!] and her new TV Land sitcom, Hot in Cleveland, Cleveland is our July installment. To get a better sense of what this all means, check out ETTG: NEW ORLEANS here.

The details:

This FREE sampler will be promoted on the LimeWire Store homepage, our LimeWire Music Blog and sent out in our newsletter in mid-July (225K+ people). A banner ad will be placed on the Cleveland Scene’s website, as well as a print ad in an edition around the release date of the sampler. TV Land will also be supporting the sampler by linking to it from their website.

The LimeWire impressions alone will likely reach tens of thousands a day, so the exposure is pretty amazing. Past ETTG cities have been NYC, Seattle, Chicago, San Francisco, Beijing, Boston, Philadelphia, Brooklyn, Berlin, LA, Athens, Detroit, Nashville, Portland, OR, Tokyo, New Orleans, Memphis and Las Vegas.

(some other technical details)

Please let me know as soon as possible if you are interested. I would need all materials (track, metadata, signed contract) no later than Thursday, July 1st. This is the drop-deadline.

EAR TO THE GROUND: CLEVELAND will go live on Friday, July 9th! Please let me know if you have further questions.

Many thanks!


AND NOW, as Limewire promised,

*****drumroll please*****

I present the official link for EAR TO THE GROUND: CLEVELAND

Friday, July 9, 2010

Yesterday (w/photos)

I saw my doctor yesterday and he is running a load of tests on me. Which meant I had to have a load of blood drawn.

The Phlebotomist came in and was a little tough around the edges.

"Which arm, honey?" she asked.

"You pick. Everyone has trouble finding my veins." I often prefer they stick me in the hand, because they never miss in the hand. And they often miss in the arm.

She picked the left arm.

I asked, "can you please you a butterfly?"

She said (imagine a slight Southern drawl),"anything you need, Ms. Rogers. If you want a butterfly, honey. I'll give you a butterfly."

How cute was she? Once rough around the edges, I now felt like she might bake me up a pie.

"I prefer butterflies only because they tell me I'm supposed to preserve my veins in case I need dialysis."

"Dialysis? Oh girl, those needles are the size of this!" She holds up a vial for the blood. A thick, long tube. Barf! "Girl, why would a cute girl like you need dialysis?"

I said, "long story. But my goal is to avoid dialysis altogether and just go straight to transplant."

She smoothly slid the needle in and I hardly noticed.

"You are good," I said.

And she said, "I'm not in the vein yet."

"Oh." And ouch. She poked and prodded.

"Are you in yet?" I squeeked.

"Not yet," she whispered.

(In light of pain, my slightly perverted self found humor in how this exchange could be had in a very different setting.)

"There, I'm in. It's flowing girl. Just relax."

She was cute. And I kinda wanted to hug her.

"Can I take a picture of this? I'm trying to document this part of my life."

"You want to take a picture of your blood? Sure, you go right ahead. Get your name and date on the tubes! You should write a book, honey!"

I agreed.

"I just might do that."

Thursday, July 8, 2010


Yesterday started with a dream involving a very vivid, colorful bird. A rainbow bird, if you will. But it wasn't a Toucan Sam. It was much smaller, like a sparrow or a hummingbird. I was standing on a rooftop of a building in NYC, accompanied by my house mates, and suddenly this brightly colored, little bird appears and flies itself all around me. I felt like in was flying in infinity-shaped eights around me. There was no doubt in my mind the creature wanted to be near me. And lo and behold, wasn't there was a little bird cage on top of this roof. And the bird directed itself there, as though it was claiming me as its mother and claiming its new home. I turned to one of my housemates and asked, "is it okay if I bring it home." She replied, "I don't think it's a good idea because the cat will eat it." It made sense, but I was kinda crushed. I went to let the bird out and the colorful feathers began to fall off so rapidly that within moments, it was just a fury little gray bird. And then I woke up. Universe, what does this mean?

In the spirit of dreaming, yesterday continued to be full of it. I spent my morning calculating my miles and gas, and also calculating my fears. Remember, I'm working extremely hard to be aware of all negativity, and one thing I must do when fear invades, is talk to it and move it on out of my system. So fear and I talked. He's a little concerned about how I've been feeling physically the past two weeks. I comforted him by calling my doctor and have an appointment for today, just to do some routine tests and make sure I'm good to go for the next three weeks. Fear also was a little concerned about the 14 hour trip from NYC to Atlanta. So I spent a good amount of time (and still am doing so) researching a good spot along the way to stop next Saturday night. My goal is to arrive in Atlanta feeling fresh (rather than fatigued) next Sunday.

Back to dreaming. Upon exiting the gym yesterday, I got a phone call from Ken at the Beachland. His energy was positive and I immediately felt excited to be connecting with him. (He does the booking at the Beachland.) Here's the conversation (as exact as can be--the feeling of exploding excitement may have slurred the accuracy of how it went down.)

Ken: Hey, Maura. How are you?

Me: Hi! Ken! Great! How 'bout yourself?

Ken: I'm great. I was wondering if you would be interested in opening in the Ballroom for Marc Broussard on July 31st? They would like to have a local opener and we thought you would be a good fit.

Me: July 31st? (Zero to Sixty in Excitement! I couldn't initially remember if I was going to be in town. And I was also trying to figure out who Marc Broussard was, cause the name sounded familiar, but no face or music was coming to mind.) Umm, sure. Yes. I mean, I think I'll be back in town by then. Yes.

Ken: Great. I just think it would be an awesome follow-up show for you after your amazing CD release show.

Me: (gushing, but trying to sound cool and collected) Yeah! That sounds great! (just give me pompoms and a floor for kart-wheels, please.)

Ken: You have a band right?

Me: (screeching brakes) A band? Umm. No. I don't have a band. It's just me and my guitar.

Ken: Oh, really? Why did I think you had a band? I will talk with his rep tomorrow and make sure that's cool. It should be cool. I'll call you back tomorrow to let you know.

Me: (in my head I was like, "Oh, I'll find a band if I need a band." But what I actually said) Okay, cool. Talk to you tomorrow.

I immediately closed my phone and jumped on the internet to find a cute bearded boy with an amazing soulful voice who duets with LeAnn Rimes and Sara Baraeilles.

Marc Broussard. I bow to the Beachland for this offer.

In regards to dreaming, I'll just say that I have dreamed of playing the Ballroom. And it's been a dream I've had for years. After seeing some amazing shows there, (like The Decemberists, Ingrid Michaelson, Land of Talk, The Ditty Bops) I've recognized the space as magical. I just didn't think my shot to play there would be anytime soon.

Dreams, I like when they start coming true!

Last night, the dreams-come-true continued as I found myself having dinner in the home of two of the most amazing women I have come across in my life. No exaggeration. I don't know if I have the words to describe these women, probably because I'm still in awe of having been in their home and in their company. The amazing part of this evening is that they had me over to specifically address my heath issues and come up with alternatives to slow down, if not reverse, the progression of my kidney failure. The love and support I felt for three hours was so intense I actually cried upon falling asleep. I cried because I realized how blessed I am that my journey, with both music and my health, has connected me with such amazing people. Without my disease, I would not be doing this music, and without this music, I would not be meeting such amazing individuals.

Walking into their home and seeing my CD in their CD player, and having one of them joke about how her listening got "f****** interrupted on track 2," made me realize something. People are listening to my music. Like not just coming to my show and buying a CD to support me, but actually listening to me. This is ridiculously touching to me. More importantly, this is a dream come true.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Gas & Mileage & Faith

Cleveland to New York City: 463. 48 $42.11

New York City to Atlanta: 880.99 $81.29

Atlanta to Nashville: 249.28 $20.73

Nashville to Atlanta: 249.28 $20.73

Atlanta to Cleveland: 698.98 $59.79

Total Miles (estimate): 2542.01

Total Gas (estimate): $224.65 (without tolls)

Faith (estimate): Unmeasurable

"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase."
-Martin Luther King Jr.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


So I have freedom. I have fresh perspective. Some might call me "sick," but I sure as hell am not going to live like I'm "sick." I've got things to do!

I'm going to hit the road.

This Sunday I'm taking my freedom, my fresh perspective, my kidney, and my guitar and all of us are cruising out of Cleveland with one goal in mind: To share my music with as many people as I possibly can.

It's kind of a last minute trip, meaning I have no official planned gigs. But I'm definitely taking the time to plan out things I want to do and things I want to see. In regards to music, I'm going to do what I've done for the past five years of being in Cleveland. I'm going to make the most of the open mic scene in New York City, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Nashville. And it works out that three of these cities hold the best open mics in the country.

1. Eddie's Attic, Decatur (been there, loved it, heading back.)

2. Sidewalk Cafe, New York City (notorious "cut-throat" open mic in the East Village.)

3. Bluebird Cafe, Nashville (not as "cut-throat," but it's taken seriously.)

In addition to these three, I will be hitting others. But my goal is to challenge myself by hitting places where those I have admired growing up have played. Having hit the open mic scene in Cleveland for so many years, I look forward to hearing new music from undiscovered folks in other cities. The "undiscovered" are a passionate breed of people. There are definite, clear reasons why some remain undiscovered. Then there are those who catch your breath and make you wonder why trash wins over the radio when there's such hidden goodness that could be tapped into. I hope to experience the latter where I will inspire me no doubt!

The coolest part about this little adventure, to me, is that I'm doing it all alone. I have people to stay with, of course. But I'm driving, navigating, traveling all by my lonesome. It's the first time I've ever done anything this big by myself. I have traveled to NYC and Philly by myself, but they were, at most, week-long trips. I've never gone 3 weeks from home, by myself. Sad, at my age, but true. And I admit, it's kinda intimidating. But at the core of this trip is the desire to find strength and self-awareness, and what better way to do this than embarking on this journey alone. I am challenging myself to be open to the universe. I am eager to engage gas station clerks, diner waitresses, people with pets at rest stops, truckers at truck stops, JUST KIDDING. All in all, I just want to take the new perspective within myself and grow.

Grow. Grow. Grow.

Monday, July 5, 2010


After receiving the news of my GFR (and after my Nephrologist returned from vacation), we had a little powwow where he shared, "if your kidney continues to decline at the pace it has in the last 3 years, you will need a transplant within the next two years. It's important to prepare yourself for this, but not get all worked up about it." I asked him, "remember when you assured me that things would plateau for a while, after the sharp decline from 80% function to 42% function? Will I see that plateau anytime soon?" "I can assure you, I would never have assured you of such a thing," he replied. Ha! I love how people back peddle when being called out on something. I have endured this with so many people I love. I suppose it's a human thing to avoid responsibility. But my Nephrologist? I choked on my frustration and listened to him tell me when the "finding a match" process should begin. "Not until you reach 22." Oh these numbers! Seriously, putting a number on things like this makes me a little nutty. I could make a story problem for my students using my GFR. "Okay kids, if Ms. R has a GFR of 42 in 2006, a GFR of 34 in 2009, a GFR of 26 in 2010, what will her estimated GFR be in 2012 and when will she need a kidney transplant?" These numbers are really a hard thing to digest. Especially hard because it can make me lose sight of everything else in my life. My music, my dreams, my relationships, falling in love, traveling, starting a family. There's a whole lot that I have hopes to do and being caught in the reality of a number temporarily screws with my perspective.

So, with my passionate (and mighty) Irish heart, I decided to spend the last two weeks shaping my perspective. If there's anything that this has made me realize, it's that I only have an itty-bitty-teeny-weenie bit of control on things in this world. Yes, me, the Capricorn who once believed she could move mountains is giving up the need to control things. I once used to believe I could change things. In fact, I once used to believe I could change people. But after two broken hearts and the delivery of this kidney news, it seems that the healthiest thing for me to do is accept is that I really can only control/change myself, and even that has limitations! I have been handed a time frame of sorts, a detailed list of symptoms that will occur over a period of time, a to-do list that involves finding a kidney donor so that I can live. There's not much control I have over this decline. There's not much control I have over who will be the matching donor. There's not much control I have if my body rejects the transplant. There's not much control I have over having to spend the rest of my life taking anti-rejection medication. But I do have control over one thing.

I have control over the perspective I choose to take as I dive into this adventure. So, after hours of thinking and reflecting. After resurfacing the anger and frustration toward the medical community that failed me. After the break down I had in my bed, alone, realizing I don't have a partner to hold me through this. After the panic of being vulnerable and knowing I will need others. After the guilt of knowing I will need to ask someone I love (or don't even know) for an organ. After praying. Yes, praying (something this Catholic-raised-confused-agnostic hasn't done in a long time.) After hour-long conversations with friends and family, sharing tears and laughter and support and mocking chicken-soup-for-the-soul quotes. After all of this and more, I came to this conclusion: I could look at this illness as a curse. Or I could look at it as a daily reminder of how fragile we are and how fragile time is. I choose the latter perspective. in doing so, I realize I only have room for love in my heart. Move over anger, bitterness, fear, hesitation, grudges, hurt, and control. My heart really only has room for one thing. Love.

Disclaimer: I don't mean to imply that I'm going to walk around with flowers and blow kisses up the world's ass. I'm just going to do my best to keep perspective on what is healthiest for me, and when it comes down to it, it's love. Shake the shit off that I deal with every day, and keep my body free of toxins (especially since I already have a stock pile of waste that my kidney can't filter out.) Of course it's going to be a challenge, but I've always loved a good challenge.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Independence Day

What better day to start a blog than July 4th? Considering that the purpose of this blog is to celebrate the freedom that lies ahead of me, it seems only right that the blog be accompanied with some fancy fireworks. Grab a blanket, maybe grab a bottle of wine, find a cozy spot on the ground and join me in awe. It's time to celebrate freedom, both from the Brits back in 1776 and from a past that has kept me from living as fully as I should.

Almost four weeks ago I experienced a head-on collision of high and low in my life. On Monday, June 7th, I spent almost six hours at the Cleveland Clinic having my GFR calculated (it's a lovely test that involves being injected with a radioactive tracer, having blood drawn over and over, and filling up a jug of urine.) It's a long day and I was pretty nervous about what the results were going to be. GFR stands for glomerular filtration rate, which basically equates to how good the kidney is functioning. Kidney, singular in my case, cause I was born with only one. Lucky me. And I mean that sincerely. My sister was born without any kidneys and never had the chance I've been given at life. Indeed, I am lucky. But I wasn't feeling so lucky four weeks ago. I was aware that my kidney function had been on the decline, but I was unsure how bad the decline. So I went home and tried to focus on other things. Like my music.

I was preparing for the CD release of my first full length album, Get Up Girl, and that was far more exciting than peeing in a jug all day. My friend Mal came over and we worked on harmonies for a new song called "Wasted." Experiencing harmony with someone is truly one of the most magical moments in music and when it's good, it's sooooooooo good. I feel like I drift up in the clouds when the notes blend together. It's luscious. And we sat for three hours and made luscious sounds together. I felt music sweep in like Superman and save me from the anxiety stirring about my GFR.

Next day. Collision. I was at work and got a call from a nurse who wanted to set up an appointment with my Nephrologist. "By the way," she said, "he'll be out of town for the next two weeks." OUT OF TOWN? TWO WEEKS? I asked, "do you mean I have to wait two weeks to find out the results of my test." She said, "no, I can fill you in on the results today, but you will need to follow-up with him when you return." And just like that, she tossed over the numbers. "Your GFR is 26 and you are spilling blah blah blah amount of protein in your urine." Blah, blah, blah. She kept talking, but all I kept hearing was 26 repeat in my head. A year and 1/2 ago, it was 34. A year before that it was 42. Two years before that (before my pyleoplasty) it was 80. I was hoping for a plateau (because that's what the doctors had assured me would happen) but got another decline. I remember I was at work. In the supply closet. I stared in the mirror while she advised me about the importance of following up with my nephrologist. Of course. I said thank you and hung up. I walked out of the closet, back into the office and saw the faces of a a few of my co-workers. I knew they could see the news wasn't good. I just kept walking. I walked back into my classroom and joined one of my students in a game of Sorry. I think we played three times, and she won each game.

At the end of the day, I walked out of school and while I was heading to my car, my phone rang. It was not a number I recognized. Usually I don't answer if I don't know the number. But I did. And I'm glad I did. It turned out to be a music critic from Cleveland SCENE, who wanted to interview me and do a short feature in the paper about my show. My first music interview in five years of being a singer-songwriter. I went from feeling like I had been hit by a truck to feeling like I was dancing with Fred Astaire. "You've been under the radar for the past 5 years, why haven't I heard of you?" he asked. That was a very big question and I knew he didn't have time for all the details, so I just said, "I wasn't ready." I wish I could remember the exact exchanges within the conversation. But I was so floored with excitement that I just remember feeling like he was extremely kind and that he compared me to an early Cat Power. I hung up the phone and realized my life was in the midst of major change. For the first time in five years, I was really investing in my music and it dawned on me that the the more I put in, the more I would get. For the first time someone in the music business was taking my music seriously because I was taking my music seriously. Yes, it may just be Cleveland SCENE. But it's a start. And all big dreams start somewhere small.

So, in a matter of 24 hours, I realized that my kidney is failing and my music career is just getting started. I knew the Universe was giving me the freedom to do whatever I wanted with this cup of information. Is it half full, or half empty? I want it full. Not just half full. I want to approach the journey that lies ahead of me with a mindset to always see the good, regardless of how challenging it may be. And herein lies the sweetest of freedom.