You can spot a six year-old me in this picture way in the back sitting near the wall on the right side of the table. My father is in the foreground on the left. My mother is also in this shot, of course, as are all of my brothers and sisters, an aunt and uncle, my grandmother (although she's partially hidden) and my godfather. My grandfather took the photo, which is why he's not in it.
I've been thinking about my dad, in particular, a lot for the past couple of days. He's a published poet and a personal trainer (who says artists can't be into fitness?), and he's brilliant. He also, along with my equally brilliant mother, instilled in me some values that I consider to be very much a part of who I am. Among the things my parents taught me:
- Value education. A good education is its own reward and under no circumstances should be considered just a means to a larger paycheck.
- A love of books and music. My mom is a former jazz singer, so of course the daughter of a writer and a singer would love reading and music. My dad pretty much only likes classical music and jazz, so generally he's unimpressed by my taste in music, but whatever. No Nick Lowe, Buddy Holly or the Go-Go's for him.
- Do what you love in life. It doesn't matter if you make $20,000 a year or $200,000, what's most important is that you love what you do (and that you're as well educated as possible).