Great writer, great subject, tough story

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  1. Thanks, Jack, for the story. I just watched some of a solo concert from Tokyo and it was stunning how into it Keith Jarrett got. What a tremendous musician. Now I'm going to channel my Mom and tell you what she'd tell him. She served in France with the Red Cross so without any real training she found herself consoling wards full of freshly wounded soldiers from some of the most important battles of World War 2. Mind you these were young men who hadn't had a chance to pull themselves together - the damage to their bodies had just happened and they were beyond distraught. One hint at what we're talking about was the time I told her I had met Bob Dole and she told me she was unimpressed by how bitter and hurt he remained years after the war. She said, "I knew lots of men who were hurt far worse who handled it a lot better." This stunned me. Bob Dole was in the hospital for most of a year after the war and she knew lots of people hurt worse than that? But I started seeing what she meant. I read that he still wouldn't look at his wounded body in the mirror and he always carried a pen in his right arm so nobody would try and shake hands with him. He was emotionally still stuck in the distraught stage. Now you have to understand that my Mom also felt total love for these soldiers - her boys - that was as strong as any force out there. And she paid a price herself telling me she couldn't even handle a 4th of July parade in town half a century later because it made her too emotional. So what would she say in this story? She would tell Keith Jarrett that yes, he's had a profound setback and he should mourn it as long as he needed to but then he better "straighten up and fly right." He better get over it and not let it defeat him. Beethoven went deaf and it didn't stop him from composing. Django Reinhardt had fingers destroyed in a fire and he kept playing. If Keith has one arm that works then make a multi-track recording playing both parts with his good arm. Write a composition about it. Don't just sit there feeling sorry for yourself - so depressed you can't even dream of still playing. Take stock of what's left and carry on. Now, I'm not saying I would handle it any better. Probably a lot worse, but she knew what had to be done. You have to face great adversity in life and then straighten up and fly right.

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    1. I took the CD of Koln to sea with me and sometimes I would play it during the quiet mid-watch hours and I would hear it as the soundtrack to a submarine moving through space. Whenever I hear even a bit of that CD I’m instantly back there in that strange place.

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