Frank in 2013 – a year in review
written by his wife on December 12th, 2013
A bio wouldn’t really help you get to know Frank but maybe a glimpse into his life in 2013 will help. He’d tell you that it has been the best year of his life but it has also been his worst.
As seems to be the artist’s way, that outward persona doesn’t tell the whole story. Frank lives with a lot of inner turmoil. He lives with an ever-present angst. He’s filled with the fear of not accomplishing enough – today, tomorrow and in life. He has small flashes of ego (probably inherited from his grandmother) but mostly he feels a lot of worthlessness, struggling with self-doubt. He’s impatient, loathes wasted time, can’t stand waiting – for anything. He’s the type that never rests although this year exhaustion set in and changed his usual self.
Out of the corner of my eye, I see him right now. He’s actually much more energetic than yesterday but his brain is tormented by figuring out how to order an out of place dishcloth. We’ve always joked about his ‘OCD acting up’. But I read an article a few days ago about Justin Timberlake, David Beckham and others and how they struggle with it. We probably shouldn’t have joked after all.
For someone who hates wasting time, he’ll stop dead in the kitchen to line up the tomatoes on the counter. But he balances that by not wasting time on other things like figuring out what music to listen to. He continuously listens to his entire iTunes library in alphabetical order by song title. Yes, you heard me, alphabetical order by song title (he doesn’t trust iTunes’ random mode). And since he has eclectic tastes in music that makes for some ‘interesting’ mood changes and song pairings.
The cherry on top was that this past March he began recording his first band album, I Can See You. It’s a very personal album (that’s a whole other story) and yes, it’s filled with the angst, the dread of waiting and the fear of not accomplishing anything with one’s life. But creating it was uplifting for him. He found a kindred spirit in producer, Jean Martin (hopefully minus the OCD… Jean?). Both are deeply committed to creating the best sound and Frank was able to trust in him, which considering the ‘OCD’, is a big deal. His previous albums were all solo piano so his excitement grew as he began the collaboration with the other talented musicians – Felicity, Christine, Joe, Justin, Thom and Michael.
BRINGING TEARS TO HIS EYES
I think because his previous albums were solo, he never wanted to listen to them (i.e, listen to himself). But I’ve seen him this year… playing, I Can See You, just for the pleasure of it. I’ve actually seen him almost with tears in his eyes as he takes it all in.
2013, THE DARKER SIDE
Unfortunately, 2013 wasn’t all about creating music for Frank. It’s been a battle of will to gather the strength to move forward and to not fear what lies ahead. First though, you’d have to look back a bit to understand the present…
Thanks, thanks and thanks again to a family friend, we discovered the SCD diet. It calls for going cold turkey and eliminating all foods from your life except meat, eggs, most vegetables, fruit, honey, nuts, some legumes and a little bit of cheese and homemade yogurt. It suggests doing this for at least 2-3 years. That’s no grains, sugar, dairy, chocolate, etc. for 2-3 years and then some.
It still wasn’t without its challenges though. The new diet was expensive, for a university student, and time consuming. Since he didn’t eat grains anymore we’d bake bread from nut flour. The other music students lovingly called him ‘nut boy’ as he ate a lot of nut flour to fill the body of a 20-yr old, 6’2″ guy.
Then, we got married and had planned a 3-week driving trip around the Maritimes. So, we packed a cooler full of food to take with us. We bought fruits and vegetables on the road and for dinners he ate a lot of plain steaks. You could say we sacrificed but I say I got the love of my life back.
But then it seemed that things started bothering him again. So, we got all strict with the nut bread and everything else. That worked, for a while. Then the weirdest thing happened. Over the years he’s told me that even when he feels good his stomach always has some level of discomfort but he’s learned to live with that familiar feeling. But now, he couldn’t feel his stomach anymore because it felt so good… but his head hurt like crazy…
His neck pain eventually got better but his headache was ever present. But, that wasn’t all. We had tried to make excuses and ignore it but Frank was really tired again, absolutely exhausted. Even though his food was settling well he started to look gaunt and just didn’t have the energy for all the stuff he was driven to do – working on I Can See You, teaching a studio of music students, being President of our local arts org, VP at the Ontario Registered Music Teachers’ Association to name a few things he was up to. True, most of us wouldn’t have the energy for all that but Frank had always had it.
I don’t know how Frank processed this information. What MS would mean for a concert pianist; never mind any human being; never mind yourself. We’ve never had a firm diagnosis. Basically time will only tell. But, since I also don’t like the concept of waiting, I did some reading. The more enlightened in the medical field see that there is a connection between Crohn’s and MS and therefore between MS and food.
And, he didn’t look good just hours into it. Actually, he didn’t even look good in the Rogers TV promo that was shot a few days before. But, for some reason this 24hr concept drives him, so even while battling fatigue and a constant headache, he made it. Even I made it, which was an achievement in itself. All 24hrs are up on YouTube if you want proof that he did it or to see how tired he was. And, I’ll show you pictures some time of the SCD/Paleo/MS Diet spread I made for him that day.
We made it. That’s what 2013 was all about.
2014, INTO THE FUTURE
That was a little longer than a bio but what’s a bio if you don’t understand the whole story? Well there’s always more to the story, like what a wonderful husband he is, etc., etc. But, I’ll leave that kind of thing for song.
So, Frank will enter 2014 with angst and fears and self-doubt and probably a headache and fatigue but also with his laugh and the experiences he’s had in 2013 that have made him an even better person. I think 2014 will be about the release of I Can See You, great health and so many more good things. As a bonus, we’ll all get to see how one person’s life experiences add up into art for all of us to share.