Music = Life


Baby I was Born This Way


Music sings to me.

It always has and it always will.

As a fetus, my parents must have sung to me.

From toddler-times to twenty-year-old times, I have loved piano.

Although utterly cliché, twelve years of piano lessons truly teaches you about life.


Out of the Dust, by Karen Hesse

Billie Jo, the young pianist, writes a poetic diary.

She just wants to survive the Dust Bowl in the dusty panhandle of Oklahoma.

Growing Pains


Billie Jo’s mother taught her how the trade.

Out of the Dust documents Billie Jo’s feelings toward the piano.

Love. Passion. Tranquility.

But it was not always that easy.

 As a young pianist, I often found myself frustrated.

The chords didn’t mesh. Wrong notes emerged.

The right and left hands were reluctant to simultaneously play.

But through the work and the hurt, there was always the opportunity to create something beautiful.



Why play?

To create a sound?

To please an audience?


To get away.

The raging dust, the growling stomach, the dry tongue.

Bille Jo  needed an escape.

Life was hard in those days.

(PBS created an amazing documentary about the reality of the Dust Bowl)

We shake out our napkins,

spread them on our laps,

and flip over our glasses and plates,

exposing neat circles,

round comments

on what life would be without dust.”



Music binds; it bonds; it brings together; it celebrates.

A few years ago, I received the privilege of accompanying my brother on the piano.

*Big sister moment*

My little brother is a whiz kid. He is also a musical genius. No big deal.

For example, he also read Out of the Dust and wrote a poem in similar form:


Books are amazing.

Books are enchanting.

They’re wonderful places to go and explore.

They take you through history, the future, worlds unexplored, to places brand new, and curious worlds.

They make you people who are wonderful or mean.

They make you a knight on a horse, a girl in despair, a person in trouble or a nice old people.

Best of all, they end.

Books end happy with love, or sad in despair.

Books are amazing.

Books are enchanting.

Although we don’t share the same IQ (unfortunately), we do share a hint of the same musical talent.

A few years ago, my friends ate prom dinner at my house.

Dakota and I had prepared a piano duet and I proudly entertained my guests alongside him.

I couldn’t have been prouder.

Billie Jo was also proud of her Ma’s playing.

I remember being dazzled by her

whenever she played the piano.”



The final stage never ends.

There is always maturing, growing, and developing to be done.

Music hurts.

Music feels good.

Music is an oasis.

Above all, music brings people together.

Billie Jo shows readers in Out of the Dust
that music can equally provide all four facets.

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