“Simplicity” was the first original song I composed after a seven-day stint in the hospital following brain surgery on January 10th, 1996. That week represented longest I’d ever gone without playing since lessons began in 1986 when I was in 6th grade.
Mind you; my left hand had lost all fine motor coordination across the preceding six months since the onset of symptoms. The biggest question I had upon returning home and sitting down at our brown Baldwin spinet was, “did everything return to normal?”
Simplicity’s central motif had already been crafted in my head while bedridden, so I quickly riffed out the melody with my right hand.
The moment of truth was upon me.
With the tumor out of my brain, would my left hand work again?
I touched my fingers to the keys, and, for the first time in months, I was able to play a scale and arpeggiate.
But there was a regrettable catch.
The muscles had atrophied. Having gone so long without proper use, my hand’s dexterity, muscle memory, and neurologic connections had been catastrophically compromised.
Nonetheless, I wrote Simplicity as a triumphant bitch slap to cancer.
Whatever would become of my left hand, it didn’t matter. Because I had the rest of my life (however long that was) to take back what cancer tried to wrest from me forcibly.
I eventually self-published two back-to-back albums of original piano music composed and inspired by my twenties. Simplicity was the first track of the first album and currently remains the most critical work I have ever — and will ever — compose.
Epilogue → It wound up taking me six years to rehabilitate to a point where it was “good enough.” I knew by then it would never return to what it once was. The damage was irreparable. But I didn’t let that stop me either. And the rest is history.
Listen to Simplicity on Soundcloud here: https://emz.ee/simplicity