Yesterday I read a book of poems from one of my favorite poets, e. e. cummings. I was inspired to write poems like his. But that’s not really what I should be doing.
Thursday I had a conversation with my friend Joe about Oscar Peterson. If I could snap my fingers and sound like anyone, I’d want to sound like him. But that’s really not worth wishing for.
Tonight I almost had a head-on collision with a car, but veered and got away with a flat tire. Every time I have a brush with injury or death I’m reminded of something. There really isn’t time to waste being anyone but yourself.
The world has absolutely no need of another e.e cummings because they’ve already got the best one. Nobody needs a better Oscar Peterson because you can’t be a better version of an original. What the world needs is me to be the best version of myself I can be.
What that means isn’t always clear. I like to think it’s about me becoming a better writer, a better musician, a better person that can amaze you. But maybe not.
Maybe who I am isn’t someone who is supposed to amaze people. Maybe it’s someone who’s supposed to do hard work and think a lot and be quiet. Maybe it’s someone who’s supposed to make other people be the best they can be.
It’s hard to give up the desire to amaze, to impress, to feel “safe” knowing you’ve established a tower-like, rock solid identity that is sure to get you money, fame, compliments. That identity almost got me in a car-wreck tonight. I was on the way to a gig where I was trying to impress people, and in my haste I nearly got myself killed.
I haven’t established that tower-like, rock solid identity. I keep thinking I need to. But that’s really not what I need.
And since I don’t know what I need, since I don’t know what I should be doing, the best thing to do would be to figure that out. It may be that I have to make some wrong choices, be stupidly arrogant and egotistical, go out and try to be a big showman before I find out that’s not it. Hopefully I don’t have to get horribly injured in a car crash before I find out that’s not it.
The world doesn’t need me to be anyone else. It needs me to get better at being me. Nobody else can be me.
Nobody else can be you either. Don’t let yourself off the hook. In this week between the Jewish High Holidays, think about what the world actually needs from you too, and get better at it.
***News from a Jazz Musician Who Writes Books
I'm beyond thrilled to share this video with you! Brad Kaegi, my friend, and co-member of the Front Porch Session Players, performed one of his songs, "On A Tide," from our album, Decades. There were 1000 people in attendance, and over 15,000,000 streaming viewers! If you like this song, check out our album at http://frontporchsessionplayers.com/listen
I’ve been included in a new article this week, and I’ve also written a couple you might find interesting. I was given the opportunity to write about the books of Moshe Feldenkrais, whose work has steered the course of my life. I also did a list about the books of Stephen R. Donaldson, who was my first great inspiration as a writer.
Twinkl - "Five Ways to Tackle Racism in Education" - Kerry Griffiths
October 06, 2019
UpJourney - "Stephen R. Donaldson Books In Order" - Adam Cole
October 06, 2019
UpJourney - "Best Books By Moshe Feldenkrais" - Adam Cole
October 06, 2019
There’s more good stuff coming, including a new podcast interview, so please stay tuned!
Adam Cole is a Jazz Musician Who Writes Books. Fantasy author, music educator and performer, Adam chats weekly on the subject of listening, creativity and living your best life. To get a free book on marketing tips for passing out fliers, getting on your own radio show, and writing a blog people will read, please go to www.mymusicfriend.net and subscribe.