What inspires a writer, an artist, a musician? Well, there are many sources of course and as a songwriter myself, it has been mostly people, places and experiences; in other words: life. My eighth album is entitled Inspirations and was released in June 2019. It includes 14 songs composed and arranged over a period of two and a half years and turned out to be a labor of love. I transposed seven of the songs and published a songbook by the same title.
Six months after releasing the CD and songbook the project has taken on a very special meaning. Midsummer, shortly after the project release, I faced a very scary situation for a pianist. A neuropathy in my right hand and fingers got so bad that by August I was unable to play more than a few minutes without pain and dysfunction. That led to many consultations with orthopedic doctors and neurosurgeons in both Arizona and Ohio, several MRIs, epidural injections, acupuncture; you name it, I tried it.
Surgery became my only hopeful solution. Cervical fusion was performed in October in Ohio and six weeks afterward I was back at the piano again. Although not 100% recovered, I was again able to play. In the category of “you don’t appreciate it till you lose it” this one was really an eye opener. I am so very happy that we live in a modern medicine world. I am even more appreciative than ever for being able to play my grand piano again. I wish all of you, musicians and otherwise, a healthy and happy 2020.
Author note: Freshwater has been a SaddleBrooke resident since 2001. He and his wife Debbie split time between Arizona and Ohio where they enjoy children and grandchildren. Mark fully retired from his insurance career in 2015 and since 2012 has produced over 120 original piano songs and arrangements on eight albums.