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Try to Do Things Right

January 28, 2009 | 3 Comments

Post to the Host:
How do you maintain your schedule? Where do you get your energy? What keeps you motivated after all the shows and the traveling?

John A.

Doesn't seem so strenuous to me, John, but my guess is that heredity plays a huge role here as it does in so much else in life. Riding through snowy Ohio to try to catch a plane home today, a man in the car said he was at high risk for heart attacks, though he exercises and lives right, simply because his family has a history of them — he said, "Heredity multiplies your risk by ten, smoking only by three." A man my age feeling the burden of mortality. So maybe I got a different set of genes. My grandmother Dora worked hard right up to the end and most of my uncles and aunts steamed into their eighties at a pretty good clip. It sure isn't strength of character on my part. If anything, it's fear of old age and fear of death. I stand in the wings before a show and think, "I won't get to do this that much longer, so quit screwing around and do it right, Idiot." I never used to think that way — back in my thirties and forties I nursed a whole series of grievances against the world, and now I feel nothing but lucky. I get to do this show, get to write books with some certainty of publication, get to say what I want in a weekly column. And this fabulous laptop permits a person to carry his office on his lap. So why not try to do things right?


With this squarely centered position as your main sail, you'll live as long as those elders you hold in such high regard. A healthy hope for the future helps as well. Who would have guessed? Makes an older person want to step a bit lively, doesn't it?

Standing in the wings with you, in full salute towards a graceful graying years for every body.

May I add to Adrian's "graceful graying years
for everybody" by saying "graceful years
for all -- including youth?" Perhaps these
days it will be "cool" to be "nice."
Who knows...
No matter, please keep entertaining us -- you
are part of so many lives, and make a difference.
San Clemente

GK gets it, as usual. Lesser talents run out of inspiration. What the all time greats eventually run out of is time. All of us do, of course, but for those who have a legacy doing what they do best, time is the enemy. Fellow Minnesotan Bob Dylan tours constantly and continues to amaze audiences. Robert Altman directed movies until the end (PHC being his last work). John Updike remained an active writer until the end. So, like Whitman and Mark Twain, GK can keep going and adding to his legacy for years to come. For his fans, it is something to celebrate.

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