Having Talent is No Excuse

Good evening, friends and neighbors.

The worlds of food and classical music don’t always intersect- beyond the artistry and passion of their respective devotees, that is. When my wife (a piano teacher) and I discuss our work with each other, one of us is usually on “home turf.” I’m a professional baker and she loves to cook, or she’s expounding on an obscure piece of music and I know a couple big names. That’s marriage for you, though- we don’t “complete” each other, but we do find ways to be complete together.

In that sense, we often discuss ideas like discipline, teaching methods, leadership (in the context of our workplaces,) and the artistic aspects of what we’ve built our lives around.

And one thing that we agree on wholeheartedly is that talent doesn’t mean a damn thing.

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A Healthy Dose of Self-Loathing

Good afternoon, friends and neighbors! Sorry about the. Lack of a post last week, but I wanted to take a little time off for my birthday. I’m 33 now… so I figure I’lll. Know what that’s supposed to mean next year. I try not to get too navel-gazy… the lint gets up my nose.

Besides, there’s been plenty of stuff going on to keep me occupied. I’m very good at my job (of writing AND baking, fortunately)- and my day job keeps finding ways for me to demonstrate it.

Often repeatedly. In the same manner.

Animated GIF of the President from the West Wing pounding his head on his desk

That said, no one became proficient at anything by “winning” all the time. You gotta screw up sometimes… so how do you react?

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“Bakeshop Changes a Man…”

Good evening, friends and neighbors.

I got up before my 5 am alarm clock again the other day- thanks mostly to my cat. It’s a little hard to sleep through eight pounds of furry, purring lump flopping itself on to your chest- even if your alarm isn’t supposed to go off for another half-hour.

Ugh… fine. Covers off. Slippers and house hoodie on because the heater has yet to kick on. I use my phone and watch as a flashlight to find my glasses- Emily doesn’t have to be up for a few hours yet. Best not to wake her.

Shuffling through the dark apartment on the way to a lightswitch, I almost trip over Cleo twice. She’s weaving in and out of my legs and purring- thrilled as all get out that I’m awake to feed her, even before I fix my own breakfast.

“Yes, cat, I’m coming.”
“Yes cat, you’re getting fed.”
“Jesus Christ, you act like we never feed you. Keep your fur on.”

As I tip out half a can of weirdly uniform, monochromatic glop that claims to be turkey with sweet potatoes and gravy into her bowl, watch her take a few sniffs and walk away, I reach over and shut my alarm off.

“This is my life.”

Yes, yes it really is. I asked for it to be this way.

Discipline- In The Pursuit of Perfection

     Good evening, friends and neighbors!

The other day, my girlfriend and I were talking about our work over dinner. She’s a piano teacher, specializing in teaching very young children, ages 3 to 9. At this age, the children don’t learn to read music so much as listen and learn by ear, memorizing pieces and which keys make what notes to play them.
As we were talking, she mentioned that one of the hardest things to teach students of any age isn’t so much the material, as the characteristics of a pianist- attention to detail, feeling the music, investment and passion in playing, and most of all the diligence and discipline for practicing.

 

    I couldn’t help but smirk and agree. “Discipline” sounds like a dirty word these days, recalling images of ranting, groundings, spankings, and generally other forms of punishment that parents are warned they shouldn’t use on their kids because it will turn them into cold-hearted, dead-eyed shamblers of the twilight world that is their fate.
Picture

“Calm down, Damien…”

But I’m not talking about that- at least, not directly.

 

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