When I don’t get any feedback from the people with whom I’ve shared my creative work, it can hurt a lot worse than when they tell me they don’t like it.  I need the feedback to get better, but asking repeatedly for it just alienates them.  Over the years I’ve found ways to better understand and manage this unavoidable disappointment.

What’s So Important About the Viola?


Most of us here in the United States know what the violin is.  A lot of us have heard of the viola, though it’s a good bet many people don’t know the difference.  But there’s a big difference.

Another First Date With My Wife


My wife and I went on a date a couple of weeks ago.  We’d been overwhelmed with kids, work, and life, and had been arguing lately. I got panicky:  “What do I do if this brief but important social time we have together ends up being awful?”


I calmed myself down.  I told myself, “The longer I stay married, the more every date is going to have to be the first date.”  And that’s how I approached the evening.


I had the rare opportunity to fully realize one of my dreams.  And you know what happened?  It didn’t feel like I thought it would.


When I’m up on the bandstand, I actually have to play with twice as many people as are up there.  I have to play with the musician I hear.  I also have to play with the musician they think they are.

My piano teacher used to tell me a very corny joke.  It was about a man who used to hit himself on the head with a hammer.  When asked why, he said, “Because it feels so good when I stop.”


I have to admit there’s something about this joke that hits a little too close to home.  I have a habit of creating problems for myself.  Part of the reason:  solving them feels so good.

Yes, you got that right.  I create problems I didn’t actually have before.  Then I solve them.


My superpower is writing about ideas.  It would be easy enough for me to live my life without ever writing about good ideas.  Plenty of other people write about ideas, and I’d have lots more time to watch shows like The Office.


Everyone has a superpower. 

ne night a few months into my career as a professional jazz musician, we were playing some tune.  I was killing it.  I was so into what I was doing that I was having a euphoria baby right there on the stage.


Then one of the musicians shouted at me on the bandstand in front of everyone.  He completely shut me down.  Although I was hurt and mad for a long time, I came to understand years later why he did it.

I always promised myself I’d put out a great album some day.  I also assumed it would be one of mine.  Then, there we were, a year and a half into this project and I suddenly realized, “Oh…this is it.”


After over two years of work, Decades, the first album by the Front Porch Session Players, of which I am a member, has been released!  We didn’t know it was going to take two years.  We also didn’t know those two years would be as worth it as they turned out to be.


I am gradually losing bone in my mouth.  It’s possible that in a few years some of my teeth may fall out because there won’t be enough bone to ground them.  Other than taking excellent care of my teeth and gums, I’m still trying to figure out what to do.

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