Thursday, July 20, 2006


Bo Lozoff and I have been exchanging emails. Ends up he's a singer/songwriter like me, which Mr. Rogers surely know when he set me on my "deep and simple" quest. (I'm firmly of the belief -- and the evidence is overwhelming -- that he knew exactly what he was doing when he leaned in and whispered, "Spread the message, Benjamin.")

Bo just finished recording his third CD last week. So we've been talking about recording, and songwriting, and sharing music. I gave him "Heartland," and suggested he listen to "Cry," which is a song I credit Mr. Rogers (and The Nadas) with giving me the courage to write. Bo performed a song on camera for Chris and I, one called "The Best Things In Life Are Free" (which has obvious overlap with the tenants of a "deep and simple" life). In fact, I turned to Chris as we were packing up and said, "Sweet! Bo's gonna be on the soundtrack!" He reminds me (and many, to be sure) of Johnny Cash. His voice is deep and raspy. His songs are straight forward, deep and (surprise) simple.

He emailed that he found "Cry" very "beautiful and haunting," which is probably apt for most of my songs. Many of them are haunting, because they're (I'm?) haunted by distant, painful memories (as we all are). And while I think that my songs reflect that (including, to be sure, the song I played for Mr. and Mrs. Rogers, "Summer's Gone"), I think they are all lined with hope.

I wrote back and told him -- again -- just how profound an experience Chris and I had at The Human Kindness Foundation.

    I must tell you that, perhaps not surprisingly, Chris and my time with you at The Foundation was nothing short of life changing. Words (to your point) don't begin to express just how meaningful the intensity, and substance of your sharing meant to me. Likewise, "Deep & Simple" has become a constant companion, a guidebook, if you will, on this great quest of ours. Thank you.

His response was pretty cool.
    Regarding your very sweet e-mail, Benjamin, what we're all shooting for is for EVERY event and day to be life-changing, so I'm happy for us to be good "practice" for you and Chris. I can't tell you how much we thoroughly enjoyed our time with you and especially to see two adult brothers with so much love and... well, brotherhood! What a refreshing thing for this day and age. Thank you both for visiting. We certainly hope to see you again. And next time we have to do some music together!

Like I said before, I feel like Mr. Rogers knew what he was doing in sending a young MTV executive on a quest to discover deeper and simpler meaning, and share his discoveries with the world. The connections I'm making -- Chris, Amy, Bo, Jonathan -- reinforce to me just how connected we all are. Even when I'm crowding myself on the subway, or stuck there beneath the concrete for a few hours, I can't help but feel that connection with everyone around me. Nothing could be deeper, or simpler.

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