The Year I Learned to Write

 What can you do today that you were not capable of a few years ago?


When I think back to where exactly I was 365 days ago, it never ceases to amaze me the jagged artwork that change has woven into the tapestry of my life.  Each seemingly unconnected event has worked to put me exactly where I am supposed to be.

Many philosophies support the idea of a preconceived plan for everyone. I am not sure about that yet, but sometimes it seems like things fall into place in ways that you would never believe. So here are some of the things that I can do today that I was not capable of a few years ago.

Change is Coming


How I often approach change. It can be scary!
How I often approach change. It can be scary! I need to perfect the art of laughing!

There is little in life as frustrating as change. It comes along in life whether we want it or not and forces us to do something other than what we have been doing, whether we are ready to stop doing it or not.

Most people if not all people have at least a passing disdain for change and I think there are good reasons for this, yet I think we also all are well aware that change provides positives we need. How to deal with this mystery of inevitable and painful movement from one phase of life to another? That is the inevitable question.

Nostalgic Music Month Success

Nostalgic Music Month a complete success

Nostalgic Music Month took place in October of 2017. Each day Mike Martin and I (Jon Hilton) chose nostalgic music and wrote about what they meant. Each attacked the subject differently and in the end, it was clear that music effects everyone in life. This is a reflection of that process.

What did I learn?  Music is a constant for people of many different backgrounds. I learned that creating something is important to the soul. We should all be looking for ways to create every day. I also learned that many memories of people and events can be brought back to mind by listening to a song. Even though those memories are gone, sometimes they seem real enough to reach out and touch. If only for a minute.

That’s Where I Come From

Today I am expressing my gratitude for Growing up in Greenville, Maine.  There have been few influences on my life greater than this.  The foundation of who I am today was built on the streets, in the school, in my home and with the people I shared the experience with.


Winter is a long season in Greenville, it makes you tough. and you really like spring! the Katahdin is a iconic boat that cruises Moosehead Lake, and of course an image of Mt. Kineo. All images of home.
Winter is a long season in Greenville, it makes you tough and you really like spring! the Katahdin is an iconic boat that cruises Moosehead Lake, and of course an image of Mt. Kineo. All images of my youth and this wonderful place.

Small Town To Say the Least, Greenville, Maine

Greenville was and is a very small town, but it was the only town I knew as home as a child. There are two sides of the coin when you

The Halloween Hook

Nostalgic Music Month Day 31

HALLOWEEN by Jon Hilton

There is something about the 31st of October that is embedded in my soul. It probably has to do with the nights spent in my youth participating in organized begging for candy and taking in pillowcases full of candy.  It is the whole fall season that brings on a feeling of melancholy and joy all at once. It is a time to remember the happy times of Halloweens past, the joy of youthful adventure and the thrill of being scared, if only just a little bit. So for today, I am going to focus on the joy of this day in music.

Music Makes It Better

My Top Ten Music Countdown
My Top Ten Music Countdown

Day 11 of my special gratitude project has me thinking of music.  Music plays such a big part in most peoples lives, it is no different to me.  The music sets the mood and can latch on to a memory and allow you to be transported to a particular place and time simply by hearing the notes.  I almost always put a song at the end of every post, not because they need it, but it makes it better to read if you listen to the song as you read.  Try it.

Jump on Thriller

Nostalgic Music Month Day 30

Micheal Jackson/The Jackson 5 by Jon Hilton

One of the lessons I have learned in life is that the people that you grew up with have some of the biggest impacts on your life experience. That can be said for the life and music of Micheal Jackson. We watched him grow up from his beginnings in the Jackson 5 to becoming an iconic megastar of the 1980’s.  His talent is undeniable and his songs have punctuated many lives. In fact, the release of the thriller video on December 2, 1983 was an event.  It happened and now generations are blessed with the Thriller Dance.  His music is full of memories and people from the past. Even if you didn’t really like his music you still know the songs. They are woven into the fabric of our society.

Wish You Were Here Can’t Be Wrong

Nostalgic Music Month Day 29

Pink Floyd by Jon Hilton

As I was developing as a human being, the music of Pink Floyd entered my life. I was first influenced by the album the Dark Side of the Moon and the music was thought-provoking and resonated with my experiences in life. There wasn’t a lot of media that addressed the feelings facing the teenage mind. This music provided an explanation for the way I felt back then. The Wall was an experience that provided a visceral punch in the senses. It was so far removed from anything I had ever seen, it provided a paradigm shift in my thinking.  I remember watching this movie in Brunswick, Maine and I remember the people I watched it with. D.H., E.C., and G.N.

Friendship Thing

grateful for friendship
I have known this guy for over forty years and he still makes me laugh by ignoring signs and being funny. (he is trespassing)

It should not be difficult to look at one’s friends and to feel an overwhelming gratitude.  For me, that is certainly the case.  Friendship isn’t a relationship that you can buy or force anyone to participate in, it is a connection over a shared experience that binds you to that other person in a positive way.   I think that the right positive friendships in life can enhance your life.  At this point, I have come to realize that all friends are not created equal, but all friendships are a valuable thing, and here are my thoughts on why.

Turn Me Loose on the Midnight Train to Anywhere

Nostalgic Music Month Day 28

Journey by Jon Hilton

In the early 80’s the music of Steve Perry and the group Journey was a part of the fabric of my life. When I remember the high school freshman version of myself. I am sitting in an English class at Lincoln Academy, listening to my teacher Mr. Murphy rattle on about sentence structure. Staring out the window at the rain-soaked soccer field, watching the seagulls fly around and eat worms. My only thought was, “I have four more years of this? I’ll never make it through the boredom.”  The Journey song, Don’t Stop Believing always takes me back to that version of myself and the lessons I learned then. I did make it and it wasn’t all that bad. Now those days are just a random memory or two.  Thank you, Journey, for all the help along the way.

Maiden Against The Wind

Nostalgic Music Month Day 27

Bob Segar by Jon Hilton

In my musical history, there are several chapters that have been punctuated by the music of Bob Segar. From the time I was a hormonal high school kid to becoming a “responsible” adult, there are messages in these songs which are relatable to my life situations.  From trying to lose those awkward teenage blues to realizing we need to have beliefs that stick with us like a rock. Life is a constant pattern of change and development. The music of Bob Segar has helped a generation or two become more aware of these patterns and to be the best they can be.

The Climb to Fame

Nostalgic Music Month Day 26

David Bowie by Jon Hilton

It would be hard to have a nostalgic music month and not include the decades of creative power the late great David Bowie has provided to the soundtrack of our lives. He had a shock value in the 70’s, which was really before my time, but in the 1980’s he was a part of the MTV video era that introduced me to his music and made me pay attention to his music in more depth. Like with all of these artists it is difficult to choose just a few songs, so I did the best that I could.

Running on American Pie

Nostalgic Music Month Day 25

Jackson Browne by Jon Hilton

Jackson Browne has been an icon for several generations of people. In my life, he has provided comfort in times when things didn’t go so well. But also his songs remind me of the way we live life in the United States. Much of what we have is unprecedented in the history of mankind. We are tremendously fortunate to live the way we do, but we seem unaware of our good luck.  People spend time separating themselves from others, rather than enjoying all we have together.  Jackson Browne reminds me of times in my life where I have had experiences with people who were caring, real and helped me out for no reason other than their own innate goodness.  All people are capable of great goodness and also great evil. We choose where we fall, and the music of Jackson Browne will make sure you fall on the side of goodness.

Learn From Your Mistakes

Everyone Makes Mistakes

Everyone makes mistakes
It’s OK To Make Mistakes

It is an inevitable part of being human that we all make mistakes in life.  Nobody is perfect, no matter how hard we try to be.

That has always made we wonder: Why are we all so hard on ourselves when we do make a mistake?  When you really analyze things you can see that failure can be a real bitch to deal with, nobody would choose a mistake and the trauma that comes along with it over the easy sailing of success, but that leads back to the point, no matter who you are, no matter how smart, funny, popular or talented, you are going to make mistakes and experience failure at some point in your life.

Gimme Shelter from Bruno Mars

Nostalgic Music Month Day 23

Rolling Stones by Jon Hilton

The Rolling Stones have been rocking for decades and the fact that they are older than my parents and still doing it is a credit to them, their music and the effect it has on millions of people. I am one of those millions of people because at certain times of my life the soundtrack was punctuated by the music of The Stones.  The catalog of music is so large that there is something for everyone. Choosing the specific songs was a difficult task but I managed to break the list out to correspond with my life. The Rolling Stones have done alright. I mean, they’re no Bruno Mars but they have done alright.

Fly Like an Eagle on Bloody Sunday

Nostalgic Music Month Day 22

Steve Miller Band by Jon Hilton

The Steve Miller Band has provided the soundtrack for the lives of anyone our age. They put out some of the most iconic songs of the 70’s but then never really recaptured that magic.  As they tried to switch from cool rock band to whatever they thought the 1980’s were looking for they lost their identity and their mojo.  But this is a focus on the mojo they had in their prime. The music transcends time and generations and will help you through life whether you are a picker, grinner, lover or a sinner. I have known many a Joker, smoker or midnight toker and none of them wanted to hurt no one.  Let’s forget the Abracadabra era and focus on the music that transcends time.

Tuesday Afternoon in the Danger Zone

Nostalgic Music Month Day 21

The Moody Blues by Jon Hilton

In the mid 80’s I really discovered the music of the Moody Blues. It was more thought-provoking and interesting. The songs are both musically beautiful and supply a great message about life if you take the time to listen. As I have grown over the years my philosophy of life has allowed me to find even more connections to the music and to the days of my youth.  Life is a gift and we are all trying to live it in the best way we can. Sometimes you are up and everything goes your way, and other times you are faced with challenges that serve to test us. Either we learn lessons and move forward a better equipt person. Or we might be destroyed by them. The music of the Moody Blues brings hope that the results of all your challenges will be to be successful in life.

Seasons In The Piano Man Sun

Nostalgic Music Month Day 20

Billy Joel by Jon Hilton

Almost all of the people who grew up during the 70’s and 80’s had their life touched by the music of Billy Joel. His music was popular for decades and the songs have become iconic to me. It was January 30, 1987. A friend of a friend was going to see Billy Joel in Portland, Maine. We were going to meet them after the concert, I had no intention of going. Arriving early, on a snowy, cold Maine night, we decided to duck into the Cumberland County Civic Center to get warm. We stepped through the door, there was nobody there. Only an opening into the concert and Billy Joel singing.  Sometimes opportunities are just handed to you and that day I got to see Billy Joel for free. It was a great day.

Small Town Johnson

Nostalgic Music Month Day 19

John Cougar Mellencamp by Jon Hilton

One of my constant companions, as I grew up and became an “adult” in the 1980’s, was John Cougar Mellencamp. His music was easy for a rural kid from Maine to relate to.  The themes of small towns and simple stories seemed to be something that was easily emulated. As I navigated my way through the turbulent waters of high school and then enjoyed the free years of college, this music was there. Along with the songs are a raft of people and experiences that have helped form my view of the world today.

1985 Moon Dance

Nostalgic Music Month Day 18

1985 By Jon Hilton

Our identity is defined by our experience and no other year in my life was more important to my development as a person than 1985. It was a year of change, learning, tragedy, triumph and ultimately the first real push into the person that I became. Looking back we tend to forget much of the mundane and negative and cherry pick the positive memories. For me there is no need to do this about 1985, it was all significant and memorable. Like all other things in my life, there was a soundtrack to that year that brings back the emotions of the era and always allows me to look back in reverence and love for that most formative year.