This is my favorite saying: “He who has a thousand friends has not a friend to spare.

And he that has one enemy will meet him everywhere.”  (Ali Bin Ali Thalib)   I never realized that I could use it to learn a new language.

 

Last week I read a statement from an aging scientist.  His suggestion was that, as we have probably passed the point of no return on the changes in our climate, we should treat our lives the way we would if we were terminal.  In other words, enjoy what’s left, celebrate music, joy, love.

 

It put me in a terrible depression for a long time.  How am I supposed to carry on knowing that there’s no real hope for a solution to one of the world’s most serious problems?  Why should I bother doing anything?

 

But I kept thinking. 

I wonder if you knew that the tiniest difference in head positions can completely change the ease with which you stand or sit.  Most of us don’t think to make tiny little movements because we’ve been taught that bigger is better.  So we never find out just how little we have to do to experience a change.

 

When my students are getting ready for a performance, I teach them this quality-control method.  If you can play your piece (or your passage) three times correctly, then it’s probably ready for performance.  If you can play it three times correctly in a row, it’s definitely ready for performance.

 

It can be absolutely maddening to work on a five-minute, or a thirty-minute piece, get through it two times perfectly, and then fail in the last few seconds of the third time.  I’m usually tempted to throw myself out a window in those moments.  But if you stop and think about it, what does that kind of failure mean?

Two weeks ago I woke up and my back spasmed.  I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get out of bed.  Once I managed that, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to go to work.

The same thing always happens when I go to the beach.  I have a panic attack.  I know at some point I’m going to have to get into the ocean. 

 

It didn’t bother me when I was a kid, but somewhere along the line I learned to hate, and then to actually fear jumping into a cold body of water.  Nevertheless I always manage to do it before the end of the trip.  There are three ways I go about it.

I am very pleased to announce that Royal Fireworks Press has contracted with me to publish all of my non-fiction books currently in print, and is interested in producing other books that I have currently in progress. I have been negotiating the arrangement for several months and am very confident that the partnership will be a fruitful one.  What does this mean for my readers?

 My favorite line by Billy Joel is from his song “Second Wind”: You're not the only one who's made mistakes, but they’re the only things that you can truly call your own.  It seems like a strange thing.  Learn from mistakes, okay, but call them your own?

 

I remember that as early as 3 years old I was afraid of going down a big slide in New York’s Central Park.  No matter how my mom assured me I was going to be fine, I wouldn’t try it.  My fear about the uncertainty of the outcome of sliding was too potent, and I didn’t want to experience that feeling.

 

My intolerance for any sensation connected with uncertainty, pleasure as well as anxiety, has proved a mixed blessing. 

Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography, Born to Run, changed the way I think about him, and myself too.  There are a lot of people I’ve wanted to be over my life:  Bernstein, Tolkein, Billy Joel.  Bruce Springsteen was the last person I wanted to be.

 

 

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