…I had a good day yesterday--that story I told you I work specifically for "Negative Suck" got accepted. I ran 22 miles, a mile less that I was supposed to, but hey, at least I got the long distance in. And with that run, I've officially passed 2,000 miles for the year, something I've never done.
…I did not write anything today. I always feel incomplete on days when I don't write, as if my equilibrium is off, as if I have vertigo or sea sickness, as if my vision is spotty like just before a migraine. Tomorrow I will write and I will feel better. Yes, tomorrow.
…This article is on Phillip Glass from Esquire's "What I've Learned." I don't know a lot about Mr. Glass, but I like what he has to say and hope you will as well.
I always knew what I wanted to do and I did it.
A very interesting thing happens as you age. At a certain point you become older than your parents were when they died. My father died at sixty-five. I am now seventy-one. He would have lived longer — it was a mishap, a tragic accident, hit by a car. At this point, I am six years older than my father was when he passed away. I now look at my father as a younger man. It is he who is the young Mr. Glass.
When you become a parent, you begin to become sympathetic to your own parents. We begin to understand how much we owe to them, how much we're shaped by their vision of the world.
I work every morning without fail.
You practice and you get better. It's very simple.
I was not always the brightest bulb in the tree. I was a hardworking guy, but in my opinion I was not one of the most talented people at Juilliard. I didn't have that brilliance that some people really have, but I had a tremendous appetite for the work.
Motivation will make up for a lot of failings.
When I left the University of Chicago, I was nineteen. I went back to Baltimore and announced to my parents I was going to go to music school at Juilliard. They weren't thrilled with that. So I went to Bethlehem Steel and got a job at the steel mill for nine months and made enough money to go to New York and live for a year and work and study music. I didn't think of it as an act of courage; it may have been more of an act of desperation than anything.
When I struck out in my own music language, I took a step out of the world of serious music, according to most of my teachers. But I didn't care. I could row the boat by myself, you know? I didn't need to be on the big liner with everybody else.
Self-esteem comes from your parents. Somebody tells you that you can do whatever you want, and you believe them.
The question is: What's the mill? Not: What's the grist?
Collaboration is the source of inspiration for me.
When I was a kid working at the steel mills, when you stood in front of the furnace, the heat that came off was amazing. And I feel that in many ways New York was, for me, the furnace — the cultural furnace. Just standing in that heat warms you up.
When you hear for the first time the music you have composed, there is that astonishing moment when the idea that you carried in your heart and your mind comes back to you in the hands of a musician. People always ask, "Is it what you thought it would be?" And that's a very interesting question, because once you hear it in the air, so to speak, it's almost impossible to remember what it was you imagined. The reality of the sound eclipses your experience. The solitary dreamer is wondering: Will the horns sound good here? Will this flute sound good there? But then when you actually hear it, you're certainly in a different place. The experience of that is my god.
When you're really working, really playing tennis, lifting weights, playing basketball, or whatever it is — it happens in sports, it happens in music, it happens in everything — when you're fully consumed with the act, the witness just disappears. And for that reason, when someone asks, "What was it like?" you can't remember, because the person inside of you who does the remembering was otherwise occupied.
What I've noticed is that people who love what they do, regardless of what that might be, tend to live longer.