It’s all about the flight-hours (top photo)
I think “How to do anything” is one of the best short things I’ve ever written – holds up and has proven useful to many people for many years (and also provoked laughs from a great many art teachers).
Funny thing about distilling wisdom – it very rarely goes precisely to plan.
In this case I felt I had been a bit harsh with a young musical friend, and intended this essay – containing fine rare practical truths gathered from many sources – as both an apology and an encouragement.
He was quite delighted to get the essay, folded and tucked neatly into an envelope with the title in block capitals on the front and he thanked me sincerely. I then shared it with others, including teachers – and found it’s message welcome, albeit well outside the modern curriculum.
But I was a bit surprised when I was at my young friend’s studio a few years later, and saw the envelope taped neatly to the front of his computer.
“I keep it there for good luck, in case of emergency,” he said, “I figure if I get really stuck sometime I’ll read it, and I’m sure it’ll have the answer I need.”
I wasn’t at all offended – especially because I’d made the advice broad enough to apply to all of my art-friends, young and old (and me too, to be sure) and I’d already had lovely responses from many readers.
But I was certainly intrigued. Sometimes you think you’re creating a set of ordered thoughts, for tactical educational or motivational purposes, and then come back later and realize you actually made a magical talisman. Powerful because of your own emotional place, in another’s cosmos.
Anyhow – no I won’t always do politics – and yes, sometimes it’ll just be fun.
Here’s one of my greatest hits, read aloud for the first time, to prove it.
Once again – I had to take this one down from my podcast site (and here) for awhile, to make room for new content, but Substack makes it possible for me to restore it – you can now find it here: