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During the Summer of 1999, Kevin Anderson, a close friend of Michael's oldest son, fell to his death in a hiking accident. It was a horrible tragedy for a band of close-knit friends who had graduated from high school only a year before, and who shared a remarkable bond of creativity that energized their friendship. At Kevin's memorial service, his friends stood one by one to share memories of their fallen brother and his creative spirit. They spoke of his art and his impact on their lives and their art. They spoke of their own art and the creative community in which Kevin had been such a pivotal player. Michael knew these kids, and he knew this was more than emotional magnification in the aftermath of a great tragedy. He had seen their improvisational theater and their humor and long discourse on matters of creativity unfold in his own home.

As he listened to these friends tell their stories, Michael began to recognize in them the comaraderie of artists that he had known when he was their age. He realized that day just what this bond between artists means to creativity. He also knew that the day-to-day grind of making a living is poison to that bond. He had slowly but surely seen his own creativity suffer at the hands of the need to make a living for most of 30 years, and in that time, most of his creative bonds with other artists had slackened and slipped away for lack of care. He resolved to find a way to encourage artists and counter the tendency for the necessities of life to erode the community of artists.
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