Rich

Rules for a Knight by Ethan Hawke is a charming and wisdom filled slim book. It is written as a letter that one of his ancestors left his children before heading off to a battle from which he was unsure to return. He shares twenty values that his children should live by – if they wish to be a noble knight like himself. Within each there is a brief fable that illustrates the value in practice.…


Listening

Each Wednesday, I commute into the city to teach. It affords me the rare opportunity to relax, read, listen and think. As I travel by train for forty minutes and then walk the thirty blocks from Grand Central to Union Square, I often listen to podcasts, some that make me laugh and others that make me wonder. You could even occasionally catch me singing along to a tune on Spotify.…


Serve

Two weeks ago I watched a grown man cry and it was extraordinary.  They were neither tears of sadness or joy. I suspect they were tears born out of a deep humility, appreciation for others and a calling to serve.

The man was Colin Powell and the event, which was one of his last public appearances before dying last week, was for the school named in his honor; The Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership.  …


Back

I’m rushing to write this before I embark on six hours of travel soccer on a Sunday. This is after six hours of practice on Saturday. The joys of coaching all three of my daughters’ soccer teams.

This is on top of an email inbox that has gotten out of control, a calendar suddenly packed with appointments and a to do list that is seemingly endless.…


Rejection

I have kept a file of all the rejection letters I’ve ever received. Two novels, dozens of short stories, even several poems all rejected by one agent, publisher or publication or another. In my emails, there are probably thousands of other examples of my ideas or proposals being turned down. Of course, there are also those instances where I never even received a reply. This says nothing of the slew of personal rejections that have amassed between my socially awkward high school years until I met and married my lovely wife.…


Depends

As Independence Day approached, I decided to google the root word “depends.” The origin of “depends” goes back to the Latin terms “de” meaning down and “pendere” meaning “hang.” Hence the dual and often conflicting definition of both “needing or requiring support” (e.g. “I depend on you”) and “undecided or open to influence” (e.g.“It depends”)

Many Americans have a strong aversion to the idea of dependency or even its softer cousin, “interdependency.” …


Artifacts

If you see the movie version of “In the Heights” based on the Lin-Manuel Miranda musical, you are likely to be wowed by the lavish dance numbers, moved by the stories of dreams and swept up by the fantastic music. Yet for me it was the poignancy of a collection of artifacts that show up in the film’s penultimate scene that will linger long after the images and tunes leave my head.…


Broken

Last week, I finished Broken Horses, Brandi Carlile’s new memoir.  While reading it, I struggled to understand the reasoning behind the title.

Literally it is a reference to the horses Carlile has had throughout her life. They are broken in the sense that they are insufficient in the qualities we typically value in a horse. 

Upon further reflection, the entire book seems as if it is a triumph of broken-ness. While


Grace

Several months ago, I was listening to Marc Maron interview Glenn Close for his podcast. It was fascinating on many levels — for example, who knew that the actress was raised in a religious cult? 

One story, in particular, has stuck with me. As a young address, Close was an understudy looking to make her Broadway debut. One particular Saturday, the director, Hal Prince, told her that he was thinking of letting the leading lady go and was going to make his decision after the matinee. …


Laughter

When I was young, I would often wait until the precise moment when my sister had a mouthful of cereal before unleashing something silly or ridiculous. My only goal was to create sufficient laughter to cause the milk in her mouth to shoot out of her nose.  I was remarkably successful.

Growing up, I would often take any proverbial stage in an effort to make others laugh. …