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PENNY LANE, SOMEWHERE IN CHINA

The summer after my freshman year in college, I performed the Beatles’ “Penny Lane,” solo and without accompaniment, in a banquet hall someplace in central China. I was there learning Mandarin. I really don’t know why. It was exceptionally difficult.…

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WE ARE THE WORLD

It’s an interesting conundrum to recognize in ourselves both the fact that we’re constantly growing and the truth that we’re already complete. These two ideas seem pretty contradictory. Nevertheless, finding some sort of open balance in which we can include…

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PEEP-LE GET READY

I encountered a quote last week that has continued to knock around in my head. Film director Federico Fellini said, “There is no end, there is no beginning. There is only the passion of life.” I like it. There is…

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THE GREAT BEAVER

Travis has always liked beavers and identified with them. He thinks of Beaver as his animal guide. So for his birthday a few weeks ago, I got him a book that I’d seen on a “best new paperback nonfiction” list:…

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PINBALL WIZARD

A friend asked how I was doing, and I replied, “I’ve got a lot of balls in the air.” I was juggling okay, managing it mostly, but nevertheless feeling the stress of having my attention in six places at once.…

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GIANTS IN THE SKY

I remembered that once upon a time, I had done a talk inspired by this Stephen Sondheim song title — “Giants in the Sky,” from Into the Woods. Since I’m gearing up right now for opening weekend of Musical Theatre…

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SLOW UP

American composer John Cage wrote a provocative piece in the mid-1980s. It’s called “Organ 2/As Slow As Possible.” Keyboardists are challenged to take the title literally; the 8 pages of music are played very, very slowly — usually taking from…

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LET THE SUN SHINE IN

The number one song on Billboard’s Hot 100 pop music chart the day that I was born — almost 55 years ago — was the 5th Dimension’s cover of “Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine In,” from the Broadway musical, Hair. I…

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Honk!

I’m about ready to declare Goose a member of my spirit animal pantheon. Over the years, I’ve adopted Otter and Raven and Porcupine, symbolizing play and magic and trust. Now, I think Goose should join the party to represent community…

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UP UP AND AWAY

A program caught my eye, from one of the TV screens hanging in a row in front of the cardio equipment at my gym. When I use the elliptical or treadmill, usually I’m engrossed in my own podcast or audiobook…

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