A Few Rules I Live By (Actually I live a few doors down.)

* You get nowhere being mean to folks who have the jobs you'd never want. You often get nowhere being nice to them as well, but that's not their fault either.

* More.

* Less.

* Relish contradiction. Rilke talked about living with the questions, abiding the conflict of both yes and no. Relish questions. (And, meanwhile, don't bemoan the fact that his poetry is lost in translation. Everything is. what I'm thinking to say and what the words record, what you?re reading and what you wish to hear.) That's relish, not garnish.

* One of the great rabbis wrote that when you finally arrive at heaven's gates, you'll be asked but one question: "Did you live with hope" Live with hope.

* Unless you're a rabbinic scholar, it's okay if you can't remember which great rabbi (or which great philosopher, which great writer, etc.). Ideas not ideologues, inspire. I've also heard that a great memory can also be an inspiration.* Inspiration's overrated. Strike until the iron is hot. (A lesson learned from the poet Richard Howard.) This concept applies broadly.

* Remember that it takes no longer for a large batch to disappear than it does a small batch. A tray of brownies, homemade candy, you name it. This also applies broadly.

* Live a life where handwriting counts. Thank you notes, thinking of you notes, bread and butter notes. Rather than badmouth overnight delivery, instant messaging, faster and faster printing and output speeds, it's good to remember that instant gratification is more often an addiction than a pleasure.

* Smug shouldn't be construed as intelligence, nor criticism pursued as entertainment.

* Remember Robert Frost's dictum: grievance is politics, grief is poetry.

* Philanthropy is the setting in which riches are best shown off.

* If you did not need it before you saw it, you still do not need it. Even if the item is on sale, you still do not need it. However, anything that is marked half-off clearance you might need, even if you did not realize this beforehand.

* Be true to verbs. They have a hard time getting work these days with all the unskilled nouns vying for their positions.

* Live with animals. They make you human, which is to say, an animal.

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