Picasso Rode the Waves


Picasso road the waves. Today I toured the Picasso art museum in Barcelona and I got to see the works of Picasso, from his self portrait when he was 15, up to his mosaic pieces later in life.

I saw that he went through phases, and was perfectly ok with that. His most popular paintings and the style he was eventually known by, wasn’t even birthed until later in his life.

There was a period of time where he only painted in blue. He was reading depressing books, and so he felt that blue was a color that was most melancholy and he painted everything in a blue palette.

There was a period of time, where he only copied another artist. He spent years copying someone else and every piece he painted was just a recreation.

He went through a phase where he only painted what he saw out of his balcony. He had a dove cote there, and he would just stare out his patio at the doves and paint…for years.

Picasso road the waves.

Often-times as an artist, I’m scared of waves. I have this impression, that my greatest art is within me, and that art is signature to me and it doesn’t change or fluctuate or ride waves. I believed that true art was this constant within, and you had to find it and not let anything else taint it.

While it may be true, that unadulterated art is art that doesn’t simply imitate, I realized that the human heart and soul goes through seasons…and that true art would mimic those seasons.

I need to ride the waves.

I need to stop worrying that I’m going to lose a season of my greatest art and keep trying to relive memories in order to create the art that I want. I simply need to enjoy the season I’m in and create music that tells my own story.


“We don’t mean to be rude, we’re just German”, she said, as she sipped coffee elegantly. She was Austrian, but used Germany and Austria interchangeably, allowing me to jump to a conclusion that was supposed to be “common knowledge” – Austrians and Germans are closely associated.

On my way there, I was initially worried. I had reached out through Air B&B and her responses had been short and devoid of any pleasantries. I would say something like “I’m excited to visit Vienna” and she would reply with “What time will you be here?”.

Despite that, I was eating a gourmet breakfast on a tray in her living room, sipping strong coffee and I had, only moments ago taken a shower where she had purchased masculine smelling shampoo and body wash just for me. She was treating me like her son, and I felt taken care of.

After I made the Austrian/German connection, I now had a brand new context with which to picture the people here. My grandpa is named Ivan, and my memories throughout the years have been of a stern, disciplined, quiet, but incredibly polite man. He was the kind of man who lived in the highest form of integrity with his neighbors. He would either drive the speed limit, or 5 MPH under, but never over. When he was at home, he would command that food be made, and his wife would jump to it. He was an engineer, and surrounded himself with the principles of logic, math and mechanics. This is my German grandpa, and once I could make the connection, my interactions changed dramatically.

“When I was a child”, she said, “I learned a lot about World War I, but I didn’t learn a thing about World War II”. Fascinated, I realized that the shame of it all had caused teachers in Austria to act like it never happened. I had just walked by famous locations; places where Hitler had spoke, coffee shops where Hitler had presided. Vienna was a huge history book, with page after page turning as I walked the streets. It was surreal to think that a madman managed to take control of this place, and I kept trying to understand how.

I approach a crosswalk in Vienna to find a crowd of people on my side of the street, and a crowd of people on the other. The strange part to me, was that there wasn’t a car to be seen in either direction, and yet these two crowds stood, transfixed on the glowing red pedestrian sign across from them, watching…waiting.

I began walking across the street without hesitation, and I watched the looks on everyone’s faces. They would furrow their brow at me briefly, and keep waiting for that glowing red pedestrian to give them permission.

In many instances, I was the only one who would cross the street.

Austrians – Systematic, efficient, rule abiding and pleasant. I began to realize, that with every great strength, it has the potential to be utterly abused.

Recently, Hungary closed it’s borders to the Syrian refugees. The poor refugees had no where to go, and Austria and Germany opened their borders to them. They were nearly overrun with hundreds of thousands of people, fleeing war. It was strange for me to realize, that 70 years ago, hundreds of thousands of people fled FROM Germany, and now Germany is one of the few places were people can flee TO. One more assurance that all terrible things are simply a crude distortion of something wonderful.

Heritage is more than a name, I believe. I think there is something running through the blood; through the DNA of different groups of people. This polite, principled group of people had to have been a similar group in 1939. I imagined their “do right by your neighbors” mentality and their structured existence back when the excitement of an industrial revolution had changed the lives of so many. And then I imagined a seismic shift in it all.

I haven’t read near enough history of Vienna to know for sure, but in my mind, a charismatic leader preyed on the fact that there were far more people abiding by the system, than there were those questioning it. There were too many people with dutiful faith in the order of hierarchy, than there were those who might defy it. Combine that with a systematic, engineering bent, and it truly was the perfect springboard for a near world takeover.

It was the most hospitable place I went to. Everyone was polite and seemed willing to help their fellow man. They worked hard and I never had the feeling that anyone was trying to sleight me. Standing at the stoplight, staring at the red pedestrian, I let myself wait. I stood in the crowd on one side of the street and felt the strange calm of letting that red and green glowing pedestrian decide my course, and for a second, it felt good. Life seemed simpler. The pedestrian blinked green and in an instant, I was back to plotting my course through Vienna and that brief moment of serenity was nothing more than a memory.


I was in Munich a few days ago. I arrived at noon, and I had 10 hours to kill before my bus arrived. I was exhausted because I had slept merely 3 hours the night before, and I was emotionally drained because I had just dropped my brother off at the airport and he had been my travel companion for 4 weeks. I looked at my bank account and found it to be in the negative. Shocked, I found out that I had rented a car the day before, and the rental car company had put out a mandatory deposit that was big enough to entirely drain my bank account, and it’d be at least a few days before I would be seeing that money again. Additionally, my phone was rapidly dying and, while the bus stop had various shops like a McDonalds and a coffee shop, I couldn’t seem to find a power outlet anywhere.

After walking the streets in Munich for an hour in search of a coffee shop to no avail, I finally came back to the bus station and began searching until, to my delight, I found a spare outlet in a lounge area of a small produce store. It was there that I met a German girl with brown eyes, dressed fashionably warm and strikingly beautiful. She had spotted the outlet, and I had managed to use an extension cord to split the power so that we could both use it. We were now power outlet comrades and so began a conversation of why we were there:

She was a college student in northern Germany, but her father had gotten a temporary job in Salzburg, Austria and so she was going to Salzburg to be with her family for the weekend. She talked with passion and excitement, her big brown eyes darting back and forth as she explained to me in broken English how she wants to be a travel agent and how she used to be a gymnast and how she wants to leave Germany some day.

Our conversation ended abruptly, when the store owner told us that it was against the rules for us to use a power outlet, despite the fact that the girl had bought food from his store. He rudely unplugged my extension cord and pushed a deepfreeze full of ice cream over the top of the outlet, and suddenly, my mind wasn’t thinking about Salzburg any more. I was back in Munich, where if power outlets weren’t obsolete, they were against the rules, and that fact alone seemed to summarize my experience there.

The German girl had to catch her bus and she was running late, but she lingered for a second when saying goodbye. “Maybe I’ll see you later?” she asked, and I could sense that she wanted a way to stay in contact, but I just nodded my head and smiled and said “yes, enjoy Austria”. I’m not sure why I did that. I was so exhausted and there was so much on my mind, that I imagine I was blind to such opportunities.

My phone was starting to blink, but my bus was finally arriving and it advertised WiFi and power outlets.

Finally, after 10 long hours, I was freezing cold, broke, tired and ready to leave Munich behind as a not-so-pleasant memory.

“We only take cash” the bus driver said in broken English.

I was in trouble and I knew it. I couldn’t even get 5 euro out of an ATM because my account was overdrawn and no one told me that this bus line happened to charge 4 euro for baggage fees and they would only take cash. They looked at me like this was normal and expected and I just stood there stunned telling him that I didn’t have any money and that I couldn’t get him any money. He paused as if he might let me on anyway, but then adamantly shook his head and said “you have to pay. Everyone has to pay”.

I was feeling as if Munich was like the creature in Star Wars that was in the sand that sucked everyone and everything down into it, and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t rid it’s clutches.

I began to reach for my bag from the bus compartment, when suddenly a stranger began yelling something in Croatian and I saw a tall man in his 40s with a 5 o’clock shadow and a really nice haircut give the bus driver money and tell me to put my bag back.

I don’t cry much, but looking at this guy paying for my bag made me start swallowing hard and when he looked at me, I could just barely muster a “thank you”. I walked with him around the bus as he mutters, “This is some of the worst bulls#!t I’ve ever seen. Everyone pays with a card these days, and what if someone isn’t carrying cash?”.

I walked into a warm bus, plugged my phone into the outlet and leaned my chair back. *Big sigh* I drifted off with thoughts of a beautiful German girl and I fell asleep before the bus even left Munich.

I woke up as the sun was rising over the picturesque mountains of Croatia, landing on the ocean with colors of pink and purple lines. I stepped out of the bus station to feel the 70 degree sun on my face and I was greeted by a friendly woman who took me to my own quiet apartment with my own shower and kitchen and a deck on the 3rd story with a beautiful view.

I’ve finally made it to Croatia, but it wouldn’t be half as amazing without Munich, but isn’t that how it always is? Contrast creates beauty. Desperation creates memories of a man with a 5 o’clock shadow and a beautiful German girl on her way to Austria.

Adventure is never found when things go right. Rise and fall, push and pull and the tide goes in and out. Out here, everything is multiplied. The falls are harder, but the rises are greater. Munich will always remind me of that.