Every Good Boy Does Fine

Jeremy Denk
The New Yorker

By Jeremy Denk

Two summers ago, I was playing concerts in Santa Fe, some five hours' drive from where I grew up. Travel is more difficult for my parents than it used to be, but they made the trek to hear me. They brought along a strange gift—a black notebook with my name on the front, written in my best prepubescent cursive. It had been excavated from a closet and smelled faintly of mothballs. I'd forgotten it existed but recognized it instantly; my piano-lesson journal. Staring in 1981, when I was eleven, it sat on my music rack, so that I could consult, or pretend to consult, my teacher's comments. Week after week, he wrote down what I'd played and how it went, and outlined the next week's goals.

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