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.



I’ve dealt with a lot of little tragedies.


First of all, I regret that my blog post hasn't been as regular lately.  I have been preoccupied with a great many new changes in my professional life.  Some of them I am unable to discuss yet, and others are still in the planning stages.

I’m a big fan of going slow, taking the time to learn and understand something without the stress of having to do it in real time.  I held to this strategy for years, thinking that the stress of actual situations was more harmful than helpful.  Lately I’ve come to decide that there’s more to the story than going slow.

One of the great joys of my life is that I can read an orchestral score.  Orchestration for me is one of the three or four huge things I’d like to master before I die (the others include writing poetry, playing a jazz solo, and perhaps one or two others thing that seem so unlikely they’re not worth mentioning today).  Yet after 30 years of wrestling with the subject, I can confidently say I have only a general understanding of it. 


I had an insight about that today that I thought was worth sharing. 

Last week This American Life rebroadcast an episode in which a number of kids from a poor New York public school went to visit a rich private school.  The reactions of some of the kids highlighted a little-discussed effect of poverty.  Even when these kids were given opportunities to escape their world, they were brought down by a mindset that told them that they did not “deserve” good things.

I have experienced the sense of “don’t deserve.”  But with me it was about talent, especially on the piano.  That’s why I’m writing about it here.

At the end of the summer, I heard that my friend Katherine Moore was feeling uncertain about where she was in her career.  So I asked her if she’d like to come teach with me at my music school.  She turned right around and asked if I had plans to expand the school into something much bigger.


I immediately said, “No.”  I was terrified by that idea!  I had my little school and it was safe and secure, and I wasn’t interested in taking risks.


But when I thought about what she said, her reasons for expanding made sense, and my own reasons for not expanding didn’t.  So I took a deep breath, turned around and told her, “Yes.” 

I've been "stuck" for sometime, in my writing and my life.  Sure, things were going all right, but there was something I felt I was missing.  This poem came to me today out of nowhere and it seemed to answer my question.


Happy New Year to you and everyone you love.

My wife, who believes in me, is sending me in February to the San Francisco Writer’s Conference.  There I will attempt to find people who want to help me go from good to great.  In order to do that, I’m preparing my elevator speech and my bio.

In the world of creativity and performance we must “know our audience.”  I’ve preached that, and it has really helped me to focus my efforts on the people that I can most easily reach, and that are most interested in what I’m doing.  Sometimes, however, I perform for the wrong audience.

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