- Birthday, Music, Nonfiction

“You practice and you get better. It’s very simple.”

Happy birthday, Philip Glass! 82, today! Here are some quotes from the great composer:

“I always knew what I wanted to do and I did it.”

“If you don’t know what to do, there’s actually a chance of doing something new. As long as you know what you’re doing, nothing much of interest is going to happen.”

Philip-Glass-Never-Stops-Writing“What I’ve noticed is that people who love what they do, regardless of what that might be, tend to live longer.”

“I work every morning without fail.”

“You practice and you get better. It’s very simple.”

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“I was not always the brightest bulb in the tree. I was a hardworking guy, but in my opinion I was not one of the most talented people at Juilliard. I didn’t have that brilliance that some people really have, but I had a tremendous appetite for the work.”

“Motivation will make up for a lot of failings.”

“The point was that the world of music—its language, beauty, and mystery—was already urging itself on me. Some shift had already begun. Music was no longer a metaphor for the real world somewhere out there. It was becoming the opposite. The ‘out there’ stuff was the metaphor and the real part was, and is to this day, the music.”

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“When I struck out in my own music language, I took a step out of the world of serious music, according to most of my teachers. But I didn’t care. I could row the boat by myself, you know? I didn’t need to be on the big liner with everybody else.”

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“The question is: What’s the mill? Not: What’s the grist?”

“Collaboration is the source of inspiration for me.”

“When you’re really working, really playing tennis, lifting weights, playing basketball, or whatever it is—it happens in sports, it happens in music, it happens in everything—when you’re fully consumed with the act, the witness just disappears. And for that reason, when someone asks, ‘What was it like?’ you can’t remember, because the person inside of you who does the remembering was otherwise occupied.”

About John Madera

John Madera's fiction may be found in Conjunctions, Opium Magazine, The &Now Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing, and many other journals. His criticism may be found in American Book Review, Bookforum, The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Rain Taxi: Review of Books, The Believer, The Brooklyn Rail, and many other venues. Recipient of an M.F.A. in Literary Arts from Brown University, John Madera lives in New York City, where he runs Rhizomatic and manages and edits Big Other.
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