Category: Inspiration

The Fable of the Fable

There once lived a Regular Person with regular talents and regular desires, including the one that most regular people have: to be less regular and more extraordinary, to be more like an exalted Them and less like an unheralded Us.  So, despite her regular looks — some would unkindly say that she was not even...

A State of Vocational Bliss

My favorite uncle, and an inspiring man to hundreds who know him, was sworn in recently by the Governor of Massachusetts as an Associate Justice of the Boston Municipal Court. The speechmaking and ceremonial pronouncements (and the catered luncheon) were all very nice, and all who know the new Judge levitated slightly with familial and...

Tiger, Burning Bright

Watching Tiger Woods do what he does better than anyone on the planet simultaneously inspires and humbles those who dare to be great — at anything. His deal is golf, a sport that poetically integrates athleticism with introspection. But it might as well be something else. Woods is clearly someone who has harnessed the dual...

Advice for Aspiring Artists

If you want to sell what you create, you must tailor your creativity to the marketplace or have a creative sensibility that, fortuitously, hews closely to the “average” person’s, someone who, thanks to his “average” outlook is probably not an artist. Given the tastes and expectations of most consumers, it’s impossible for David Foster Wallace...

New Year’s Resolution

Consume less. Less oil. Less water. Less electricity. In 2007, our family managed to switch from a traditional water heater to a tankless one. We’re exploring solar panels for our roof in 2008. We went from the traditional two-car arrangement to one, augmented by increased bicyle use and forays on public transportation. We intend on...

The Joy of Abetting Others

As an author and musician, I’m usually concerned about the humble goods I bring to the cultural marketplace. After I’ve written or recorded, doing the best I can to say whatever it is I’m trying to say, my quotidian worries revolve around selling the wares, earning enough money to have the luxury and privilege of...

Fathers

Commentators who care more than I about such things will surely offer a panoply of plausible sounding reasons why Tiger Woods, the greatest golfer in the history of the sport and the most famous athlete in the world, cannot seem to win a major championship when he’s not leading at the start of the final...

Nature Hike

When I was a boy growing up in suburban Milwaukee, Wisconsin, my schoolteacher mother would periodically and without warning announce to me and my brother that she was taking us on a “nature hike.” This typically meant that we would be conscripted into a platoon of wildlife observers and botanists prepared to witness the wonders...

The Nicest Part of a Worship Service

I don’t attend church services regularly. All the salvation talk is a little much. But when I do, my favorite moment is when the leader asks the congregation to give salutations to those around them. Strangers introduce themselves. Old friends share a handshake. Couples embrace.  In those gentle moments, when the warnings and imperatives have...

How to Be Happy, in Three Easy Steps

1) Surrender all ambitions to make, do, or build anything truly great. Trying to achieve greatness will lead to certain failure for everyone, except maybe Tiger Woods. The odds are so stacked against you — like, I don’t know, 10,000,000 -to- 1? — that you’re going to fail in this lifetime and probably the next...