Category: Inspiration

Art After 40

After the excessive optimisim of youth, the impressive energy of young adulthood, and the confidence of being all grown up, those of us who are fortunate enough to make it to our Forties generally look forward to an incremental and inexorable decline in just about every meaningful area of life — and not just health,...

Losing Weight: How I Did It

Folks who haven’t seen me for a long time have been looking at me quizically, slightly startled. One lady who previously had encountered my visage only on an old video archived on the Internet said when she met me, “I didn’t recognize you. I thought you were, you know, a big guy.”  At one point,...

Defining Cowardice

The new book I’ve just completed writing attempts to examine several Big Ideas through the prism of a fable. One recurring theme is cowardice.  Our common conception of this repulsive quality is that it is simply a manifestation of outsized fear. (A soldier sees his city being overrun by intruders; instead of upholding his duty...

A Lesson from the Garden

Of all the vegetables a gentleman farmer cultivates, tomatoes may be the easiest to grow organically. Aside from onions, indestructible optimists who require virtually no care whatsoever, tomatoes seem to provide the organic gardener with the highest success rate, the best fruit-to-labor ratio. They’re vines, and, like most vines, if they’re left to their own...

Congratulations, America

For all of our Republic’s obvious imperfections (such as a dysfunctional healthcare system, environmental catastrophes looming at every river and lake, an obscene infatuation with violence, to name a few) the United States of America is still the place that everyone from everywhere else is trying to get to. If you talk with recent immigrants,...

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...