a cute little dog nose touches the back of my hand. never the other way around, unless it's very gentle and loving. "touch." bop. then a quick look to the other hand. sure enough, a treat is there. i move my hand somewhere else. "touch." bop. look. "catch." snap. my hand holds "funny monkey," our current favorite stuffed toy. "touch." again with the nose bop, this time on funny monkey's belly. "where's funny monkey? get funny." trot trot trot. then loud laughter escalating into wild jungle sounds. funny monkey has been caught and tickled and squeezed and is now screaming as betty runs her back to me. touch. i am touched by a piece written by lucy holstedt, for which i arranged a guitar part. betty the six month old dog decides it would be cool to get in on the collaboration and brings funny monkey to lucy's feet under the piano. let's put funny monkey away for now, pal. what's the difference between improv and composition? there's no punch line. just wondering. what's the difference between a puppy who wants to be recognized and musicians at work? not much, sometimes. "touch." someone gets a kick out of me and puts both hands on one of my arms leaning into me, having a good laugh. i notice it whenever it happens again because i like that. bop. look to the other hand. positive reinforcement. persistent optimism. benevolent leadership. artful respect. good morning mary sunshine. how did you wake so soon? da da da da da da da da and shined away the moon. happy conversations that happen in one second our time, one hour someone else's time. too bad. so good. "touch." bop. look. "look." two little squinty eyes like little opie looking up in the sunlight wondering what will happen next. how could it be anything but good? touch. nice and gentle. teach. benevolent. positive. reinforcement. when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. is the teacher ready? what would you like to learn? betty come. go get it. should this be a diminshed 7th chord or a dominant 7 flat nine? oh my god, what's the difference, can't we just go swimming? nice and gentle. positive. run like a pretty wind. zoom zoom zoom. massage therapy, pretty guitar music, very sore knee, touch. music on a vibrational level. music so deep that it is completely simple and basic and makes me dream about the essence of touch. touch. out the door. oh, my aching knee. run like the wind, betty-i'll catch up. it's a happy latin groove on a major chord and it's touching and promising and fun. when the teacher is ready, she will write more. sleep sleep sleep.

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