Find what you love…

Reading time: 1.5 minutes

This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss an article published in the Guardian by pianist James Rhodes…

I rushed to pick up groceries last Thursday and while I was at the check-out the clerk asked me how I was doing. “Pretty well,” I said, politely, “but I’m tired because I’m working really hard right now.”

I paid, she finished bagging, and when she handed me the groceries she stopped briefly, looked me in the eye and said something shocking. “Be sure to take some time for yourself,” she said, as if I had been paying her for psychotherapy instead of groceries. It’s not often I have almost-strangers worry about me, but I appreciated her concern and I took her comment seriously. And a mere half-hour later, I followed her advice.

That’s because a reader of mine, Robert Case, had kindly sent me a link to an article on creativity by pianist James Rhodes (pictured above). In turn, this led me to the most magical video of Rhodes playing a Felix Blumenfeld study for the left hand. The video is six minutes and worth every second. You’ll swear he must be playing with two hands rather than one. Amazing. Watch it.

Almost as remarkable, however, is his pugilistic piece Find What You Love and Let It Kill You, published last April in the Guardian. I love his righteous anger when he says:

So write your damn book. Learn a Chopin prelude, get all Jackson Pollock with the kids, spend a few hours writing a Haiku. Do it because it counts even without the fanfare, the money, the fame and Heat photo-shoots that all our children now think they’re now entitled to.

Create because you have the time do it (Rhodes charts this out convincingly). Create because it will make your life more meaningful. Create because you can do something extraordinary.

Thank you, James Rhodes, Robert Case and the nameless clerk from Stong’s Market for making this clear to me.