Prison Pete

Wednesday, August 25, 2004
  Criticism, hard work, music practice.
Seriously, I wish we could spend some time face-to-face to share with each other. You are a real bright spot in my life right now, and you help make this current waiting period a little more manageable.

I have learned to take other's criticism of me with a grain of salt. I listen to the complaint, consider if it has any merit, and even if it does not in my mind, I go to the next step and decide if, in my dealings with that person, a change in my approach is warranted. There are certain times when I find myself telling the person that you can not have it both ways, and remind them that they need to take the rough with the smooth (as opposed to the good with the bad).

For example, if any time a person's car did not start in the church parking lot, I was asked to give a look and try to get it going. This happened so often that I took to wearing "work clothes" to church instead of a suit, and then someone complained that I was not dressed!

The same arguments are often discussed in the mental health profession with respect to the use of drugs. Sure, so and so may not fit nicely in the square hole "society" wants him or her to fit in, but what do we lose by sanding down the rough edges?

What I now realize is that yes, there are times that, no matter the consequence, the task in front of me cannot be completed! Yes, there are always consequences, and as parents, I think the role should be one of being sure which actions are do or die stands.

For example, I clearly remember the pure torture of my thirty minute daily trumpet practice when I was a kid. "Mom, is it time yet?" While I have been playing the alto sax for over a year, and many are impressed at how good I sound, I am still no Kenny G. I wish I could play the trumpet, but I am willing to admit that I currently do not have the combination of physical and emotional energy to put into it. Yes, the sax is easier to master the mechanical side than the trumpet, and the joy of sight-reading a new melody is great on the sax.

But what I really want is to play the piano. In over two years working at the chapel, I spent two or more hours a day practicing the piano. I finally got to the point where I could play the full four parts of "Precious Lord."

(I can not find the answer in my style books. When you are use quotes for a title or other than emphasis, does the period go inside or outside the quotes? I know if you are showing conversation, the period goes before the closing quote.)

I am now back practicing on the piano. I am willing to put the time in as a long range goal that, someday in the future, I will be able to play passable stuff. Even after a break of not playing, it is amazing how quickly I can get back to where I was. Would the same also be true for the trumpet? I am not sure, although I did try to pick it back up in the early 1990's and still seemed to not have the drive to put in the effort needed.

I read an article that seems to speak to the idea that we may enjoy something even if we might have to really work at it, but at the same time what I am saying is that even hard work might not make it right.

I trust the forgoing is as clear as mud.
Pete - count your blessings you aint in AZ with that tough lawman down there that keeps the men in tents and working - you never fessed up to what you are in the joint for? White collar crime? are you native american and did you sell some food stamps to get cigarettes with and get busted and get 3-5 to walk the yard and repent? are you native american and did you rob some white graves and sell artifacts - you know, gold teeth to make traditional chokers with? Did you sell turn of the century finger bones as bona fide Pilgrim bones telling your customers they were at least 350 years old? fess up, pete
----(I can not find the answer in my style books. When you are use quotes for a title or other than emphasis, does the period go inside or outside the quotes? I know if you are showing conversation, the period goes before the closing quote.)----

"In the United States, periods and commas go inside quotation marks regardless of logic."

I know you can't check the website, but the source is http://webster.commnet.edu/grammar/marks/quotation.htm#footnote
Keep up the playing of musical instruments. It something that I think you can cherish for the rest of you life. I know that I certainly do. I have been playing the clarinet since the 5th grade. That would be over 20 years now. (Geez, time certainly does fly) I still have a great appreciation and love for music and that is something that will always stay with me. It also brings me great joy that my son has followed in my footsteps and is a total band geek. Keep up the practice and I wish you better luck on the piano than I did!
I'm not sure how you where before Pete but I think you sound like a well rounded individual. If its the internet thats keeping you upto date with society I think it's working well for you... so I wouldn't worry about reintegration.

As for the little problem with the past... well everyones got one and not many are proud of em. Point is it sounds like your really putting thought into things and thats better then most.
Hi PP. I've put down my flute for six months or so and then picked it up to discover that I actually play it better after a break. Something within me has changed and I bring more to my playing than what I had before. Sure after an hour or so I realise I'm pretty rusty. But its always a good idea to give something a rest and grow your soul for a while.
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