Keep Two Thoughts

Personal essays

Something - Essay from Newsletter 94

My first word for 2022


The work of meditation is not to keep your mind from wandering.

Your mind will wander. It’s what it does.

The work is to notice it wandering and bring it back.

You don’t pass judgement on the wandering mind.

That doesn’t bring it back.

Well that’s not exactly true. Those of us who aren’t good at meditating do exactly that.

We pass judgement on our wandering mind. Then we get mad that we’re passing judgement and pass judgement for passing judgement. At some point we remember the point and we bring our mind back.

That, for me, is the purpose of the three words that I choose every year. These are words that help remind me what to bring my mind back to during this year.

They aren’t exactly goals so much as they are a reminder.

So my first word for 2022 is “Something”.

I may have chosen it before - I never check. But I definitely need to remind myself of “Something” this year.


There are many stories about the Pixar mantra to keep moving, keep creating, and trust that you’ll get somewhere valuable.

This link is to an article describing a talk that Michael Johnson gave about his experiences at Pixar.

In it, Michael retells “Brad Bird’s anecdote of Gower Champion, the theatre and film director of the 30s, who walked into a theatre to see the cast just standing around on the stage, the choreographer just sitting there in the second row with his head in his hands.

“Gower goes ‘What’s going on?’

“‘I just don’t know what to do next’, the choreographer goes.

“Gower replies ‘Well do something, so we can change it!’.”

That’s the essence of what I mean by something.

Do something, so we can change it.

Hit Radio

I’ve had an idea for a music app for years.

I’ve told so many people about this app that I’m surprised and a little disappointed that someone hasn’t written it so that I can stop talking about it.

My second gig in radio was at an Urban Contemporary station. It used a top forty style of rotating music with categories of music that were color coded.

The top category would rotate every 90 minutes to two hours. The next category would rotate around every three hours. The one after that would rotate every four hours.

Any way, I thought that would be a fun way for you to build stations from playlists of music you like.

Back in June, Apple announced MusicKit support for the Swift programming language.

So I spent another five months thinking about how the app would work.

And then I wrote something that would allow you to select music and preview songs so you could start to rank the songs for your station.

I didn’t like it.

I didn’t like the code. I didn’t like the flow for the user.

So I changed it.

I had something that could be changed.

Now I can build as many different stations as you’d like. Up next, I need to write the code that let’s you listen to a station and update it with new songs as they come available.

I still might not ship this thing - but I’m having a great time playing with it and demoing it for friends on my phone.

Attracts me like a Pomegranate

In the second episode of Peter Jackson’s “Get Back” documentary, George is trying to work out the lyrics for “Something.”

George sings, “Something in the way she moves, attracts me like…” and then he gets a little lost.

“What could it be, Paul,” he asks.

Before Paul can answer, John says, “just say what comes into your head each time. ‘Attracts me like a cauliflower’ until you get the word.”

That’s not really the answer that George is looking for.

He says that he’s, “been this one for about six months.” And then he sings, “attracts me like a pomegranate.”

We can’t unhear the song that we know will be written. When George picks up his guitar and sings pomegranate we hear “no other lover.”

But he had to write the something in order to come up with the lyric we know and love.

He wrote something and then changed it.

So my first word is “Something”.

It’s to remind me that when I’m struggling and don’t know where to begin, just start with something.

It may not become “Something” but it’s not nothing.

It’s something I can hold in my hands and see what it wants to become.


Essay from Dim Sum Thinking Newsletter 94. Read the rest of the Newsletter or subscribe

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