Posts Tagged ‘Joseph Addison quote’

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. (Joseph Addison)

When I try to make a fist, my middle finger doesn’t want to cooperate. It remains in an upright position and causes my ring finger to cross over my little finger—a bully gesture caused by a hand attached to a profoundly nonviolent individual. I didn’t like football before I knew about the number of brain injuries in head-butted players.

Therefore, I wait in my orthopedist’s office to discover whether I will need surgery. I’m early for my appointment and I open Janis Thornton’s new cozy mystery, Dead Air and Double Dares.*

Janis opens the story with a powered parachute destined to crash. Inside is an asparagus-thin woman who runs a newspaper in a small town. Crystal Cropper’s age fits in the senior citizen category, but she bristles when she hears the o-word. Besides, she investigates crimes without fear. And, after her experiences in Dust Bunnies and Dead Bodies, if she isn’t afraid after almost—oops, no plot spoilers permitted—she isn’t afraid of anything.

I have only read as far as Chapter Six and I have laughed several times already. Out loud. Crystal’s personality sparkles with every action. She has spunk.

Author Janis makes it clear the victim is dead, but long descriptions of the scene a coroner would explore, is gratefully absent. For me, facing a fictitious dead body beats the possibility for slicing my right hand.

I’m called back to be seen by the doctor sooner than I want. One more page, just one more page. This office is entirely too efficient.

Fortunately, an x-ray shows I do NOT need surgery, just a time machine to go back and remove twenty years of accumulated arthritis. Yes, the metacarpal fracture did cause residual damage, but occupational therapy should help. In time. Lots of it.

Patience is a virtue I’m told. However, when it comes to a good cozy mystery, I’d rather not wait. I wiggle my offending fingers a few times and pick up my new signed book. (Thanks, Janis.) Chapter Seven and onward. Reading is to the mind what occupational therapy is to my fingers. No interruptions please…my mind is busy.

*The links for Janis’s books can be found on her website.

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A man should always consider how much he has more than he wants and how much more unhappy he might be than he really is. (Joseph Addison)

A new song for my small church community runs through my mind. It fits for the last Sunday in November when I will be leading our service, but I haven’t played guitar in so long my electronic tuner needs a new battery. I gradually stopped practicing after an injection of Kenalog in my middle finger did nothing for bone-on-bone arthritis. My finger picking had become uneven, jerky, irritating even to an audience of one. Me.

But, I have been missing my old friend, music. She speaks directly into my soul through sound, mood, and harmony. The new words and chord transitions that are coming to me won’t stay in my memory unless I let my fingers know how to find the magical connections along the frets. I can still hold a pick—for now. My right hand has been gradually turning into a claw. I can’t flatten it as easily as I can my left. And  those fingers don’t look that straight either. Maybe the hand doctor will bring some hope when I see him on Friday. Maybe.

In the meantime my Big Baby Taylor fits my short frame well. Big Baby is not a person, and therefore is incapable of human resentment. It doesn’t care that I left it in a gig bag for months at a time. Sure it is seriously out of tune. But a turn of a few keys and an enthusiastic greeting will renew our relationship. As I consider lyrics I realize that keep-it-simple is essential, in both message and style. Words like I-love-you may be ordinary, but a two-year-old understands what they mean.

When I accept less-than-perfect I’m ready to go. The finished song appears using four chords in a major key. And in between each beat I consider all the people in my life who struggle: I just learned about someone who has non-alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver and waits for a transplant. A very young woman discovered she has advanced cancer; Stories about inequities everywhere seem to rise from the ground and fall from the sky. I’m not sure I know anyone unaffected in some way.

Yet, if I never experienced darkness I’m not sure I could appreciate light. Perhaps the struggle to control my hands makes the sound they create sweeter—not in an accomplished sense—in a spiritual way.

The first verse to my song: ONE LIGHT is not written for any particular religion. The first verse is printed below. I aspire to live the Dalai Lama’s definition: “My religion is kindness.” Someday I may be able to share the finished work through YouTube. Right now my performance needs entirely too much practice.

Who knows? Maybe I will succeed. Maybe not. I know someone who plays exquisite guitar without several of his fingertips. Grandma Moses was 85-years-old when she started to paint. Right now I’m assuming that my hands will heal, or that I will find a way to maneuver with what I have.

One light can shine through darkest times.

One light can pierce great fear.

One love can touch a heart of stone,

And teach it how to sing.

Peace and light upon all!

believing something amazing is about to happen

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