Downtime

What do you do during that time in between?  Those few minutes spent in between projects or meetings? Right before a call starts or you’re ready to work on checking that next box on your to do list? How do you fill the space while waiting for that next thing to start?

Recently I realized that my use of downtime was both consistent and unfulfilling. My standard practices would be some combination of checking my email or text messages, catching up on the latest news, and most frequently visiting a sports website to catch up on the latest hot takes and opinions of rabid Boston rapid sports like myself.…


Produce

Happy New Year.

Before we jump into 2024, many of us might spend some time reflecting back upon 2023. Among the many questions we ask ourselves are those related to accomplishments; What did we do? What do we have to show for the year? What did we produce?

As I look back, I feel incredibly fortunate to have worked with or been supported by so many talented, wonderful people and organizations that have allowed me to produce more than a handful of things that I can take pride in.…


Giving

As the saying goes, this is the season for giving. Yet for some, including myself, the giving is often focussed on just a few days.

For the rest of the month of December, we’re running around frantically trying to wrap things up – not just the presents we’ve purchased but various end-of-year projects – both work and personal – that have piled up the previous months.…


Pull-up

Years ago I dropped one of my AirPods onto a train track. After the train passed, I stupidly jumped down to fetch it, not realizing how far down the track was relative to the platform. To get back to the platform, I had to pull myself up. It quickly became apparent that I could not do it. Fortunately two people on the platform were able to give me a hand before an ensuing train came along.…


Delay

This week has been marked by delays. Delays by their very nature can be maddening and disheartening – particularly when we feel as if we have no control over them and the action that is being delayed is timely.

I took the first notification “Your flight is delayed” in stride as it was only 25 minutes and a modest flight delay is predictable. By the seventh “Your flight is delayed email” we had entered the land of the surreal.…


Silence

There are many forms and reasons for silence.  Here are three for your consideration:

The first is silence that we allow ourselves.  In the chaos of daily life and content at our fingertips to fill a million lifetimes, increasingly we seem to leave less time to just sit in silence. When we quiet our own minds we give ourselves the gift of self-awareness and openness. The word inspiration comes from a latin term meaning “breath into.” …


Living

I had been wanting to see the movie, Living, for some time. But with busy schedules and sold out shows, I had struck out on several previous attempts to see this small film that was in limited release.

Finally, last week I noticed that it was playing in a town thirty minutes away. So I went by myself to sit in a dark theater on a sunny Sunday afternoon to watch a movie about a man who was coming to the end of his life, and wondering if he had ever really lived at all.…


Background

A boy tags along with his stepbrother to a casting session.

To his surprise, he is selected to do background work as an extra on a children’s show.

An assistant director sees something in the boy and begins giving him acting books as he’s never acted before. Later he offers tips on how to stand out from the crowd.

Eventually the boy becomes a regular on other children’s shows, gets a few small movies, is cast in a small but memorable part of a Quentin Tarantino movie, does some theater in Los Angeles before begin chosen to act opposite Denzel Washington in a Broadway production of The Iceman Cometh.…


Courage

I recently visited the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis. Its design is as remarkable as it is powerful. It is built within the Lorraine Motel. Your journey begins and ends with the site of Dr. King’s assassination, first looking up from the outside at the balcony on which he was tragically killed by the assassin’s bullet and ending by looking inside the rooms where he spent his last moments joking around playfully with his friends.…


Generations

Leopoldstadt is the new and presumably last play written by Tom Stoppard. It tells the story of two families and spans four generations. While it explores themes of class, culture and religion, its primary question centers around the obligation family has to its members. Not just present but future and perhaps most importantly past.

Early in the play, the matriarch is showing the family photo album to her grandchildren.…


Awe

As I write this, I am looking out at the Palisades – the magnificent vertical walls on the other side of the Hudson. If I look to my left I can see the New York City skyline off in the distance.

Upon seeing both for the first time, I was filled with immense awe. While their familiarity can lessen this sensation, it only takes a few moments of reflection to revive it.…


Cheer

It was a week for celebration in my home.

Our oldest daughter turned 15.
Our youngest received two call backs for the 5th grade play.
Our middle daughter won her first wrestling match.
My wife won her first competitive tennis doubles match.
And my podcast won two golds – one for best interview show and another for most inspirational podcast.

When my daughter won her wrestling match, her coach picked her up in the air as teammates cheered her on.…


Care

There is a running joke in the hilarious and poignant one-man show, Old Man and the Pool by Mike Birbiglia.

His family uses the salutation “Take care” as a parting proxy for “I love you” – which apparently they never say to one another. It is suggested, understandably, that these two words are an insufficient substitute for the three words that are the gold standard in expressing how we feel for another person.…


Seeing

What do you see when you look in the mirror? Does it match the way you feel on the inside?

When you are out in the world, how do others see you? Do they make judgements on who you are or what you’re capable of?

Similarly, how do you see others? Unconsciously do you judge them for how they look rather than imagining “who they are?”…


Negotiation

It was Thanksgiving Day. My daughter wanted apple pie and asked her mother to get it for her. My brother-in-law noted that he had read some parenting advice from Esther Wojcicki that suggested children should be encouraged to do whatever they can for themselves.

As Wojcicki had raised two CEOs and a doctor, the joke became – future CEOs get their own pie.

For the next three hours, no one budged.…


Pleasant

I sat in a half empty auditorium filled with folks whose somber looks indicated there were a thousand different places they would sooner be.

Instead, we all waited to see if we would be selected as jurors.

Jury duty is as the name indicates a duty. Even the most civic minded approach this experience with some trepidation. How long will it take? Will I be selected?…


Accepting

I’ve read countless memoirs and interviewed dozens of people about their journey but none have been as honest, conflicted and raw as Acceptance by Emi Nietfeld.  Her story is marked with countless issues and circumstances that she has had to overcome and her book looks to reconcile them in the context of a culture that likes these stories told in a very particular way.

Her experience in crafting her college essay is particularly telling.…


Leave

I overslept. Waking up at 6:50 but needing to catch a 7:26 train, I rushed to shower, got dressed, walked the dog, packed my bag, and poured a cup of coffee before dashing off for the 5 minute scamper to the train station. All the aforementioned activities were done with almost no thought, an automated process whose details go unnoticed in the bustle of everyday life.…


Bookshop

I love books. Reading them, owning them, sharing them and obviously writing them. The smell of an old book is a reminder of all those who have similarly valued the words born out of another’s mind. The feel of a new book ushers in the anticipated value to be delivered in small doses over the weeks you will spend reading it.

I have always thought of owning a bookstore.…


Enthusiasm

My best friend left me a voicemail message recently. He mentioned a book he had been reading, A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. It suggested that we shouldn’t take any action that’s not aligned with acceptance, enjoyment or enthusiasm.

In reflecting on those three feelings, it got me thinking, “What am I enthusiastic about?”

Enthusiasm is defined as an intense and eager enjoyment or interest. Its origin is from the Greek word, enthousiazein meaning to ‘be inspired or possessed by a god.’…


Queens

Much has been made about the extraordinary amount of attention and coverage given to the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. On one hand, she was probably the most famous person on the planet. On the other, some would say she had, at best, a symbolic role in the world and at worst what she symbolized was colonialism.

Like most of us, she wore many hats – albeit one of hers was literally a heavy crown.…


Legend

As legend has it, some creative people are bestowed with an abundance of natural talent from birth or act as a conduit for divine inspiration. How else to explain a prodigy or creative genius?

An alternative narrative was offered up by the aptly named, John Legend, who was a guest on the podcast Smartless recently.

In this story, yes Legend exhibits an early love, if not talent, for music.…


Back-to-School

My children have always loved back-to-school shopping. There is something about the idea of having a list of school supplies and wandering through a stationary store checking off boxes that brings them a strange combination of excitement and satisfaction.

As a writer I can identify with the love of pencils, paper and such.

So there we were scuffling through Staples searching for the perfect sized post it notes or a pencil case that was both stylish (one picked out a furry cat – rather kitschy) and functional (dividers or pockets seem key.)…


Map?

Recently, my wife and I took our daughter to see Dear Evan Hansen. I had seen the musical before with my oldest daughter, watched the movie and listened to the soundtrack hundreds of times with my family who love the music.

Seeing it again live was to restore its power in my mind – power that was diluted by the repeated listening and sing-a-longs on car rides.…