Sunday, April 12, 2015

My Voice Will Go with You (Revisited)

Boychik Lit Book Review - No. 29

This is Gerald Everett Jones, author of Mr. Ballpoint. My Boychik Lit book reviews air on The Mark Isler Show on Saturday nights (KRLA 870 AM Los Angeles). You may also know that these brief reviews are available as podcasts from, iTunes, and Feedburner. Now that I’ve done almost thirty reviews, I looked back to see which have been the most popular. The fifth most popular podcast, in terms of streaming plays and downloads, was Griftopia by Matt Taibbi. The fourth was The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, followed by Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes and Abandoned in Hell: The Fight for Vietnam’s Firebase Kate by William Albracht and Marvin Wolf. But the top podcast, getting almost twice as many plays as any of the others, is a nonfiction book you probably never heard of.

Psychiatrist Milton Erickson is regarded as the father of neurolinguistic programming, or NLP. This book is a collection of very short stories he told clients who were in a trance state as a means of reprogramming their thinking about a problem they brought to him. Erickson believed that stories heard and then forgotten have the most power over future actions. That's because, once the conscious, censoring mind has ceased analyzing the experience, the persistent memory of the story can percolate in the unconscious. The book illustrates vividly the power of a story to transform thinking and behavior--immediately. The accompanying commentary by author Sidney Rosen tells why each story is effective in changing behavior.

My Voice Will Go with You. I sincerely hope it does.

Sunday, April 5, 2015


Boychik Lit Book Review - No. 28

The topic of this week’s book review is musicianship.

Musicianship is a common theme of three different stories. The first is An Equal Music, a novel by Vikram Seth about a European string quartet. Another about chamber musicians in New York is the movie A Late Quartet. The third, and most unusual, is The Bear Comes Home, a novel by Rafi Zabor.

Musicianship is the first thing you notice about any band. Do you hear individual instruments and voices or a mellow blend? Inexperienced amateurs are too concerned with projecting their personal sound. Professionals know that listening to each other is a measure of not only artistry, but also of generosity.

In An Equal Music, a violinist who plays in a chamber quartet carries on a love affair with an accomplished pianist. The main issue with them is mutual trust, which is also the crucial element that binds a successful quartet. However, one of them has been slowly growing deaf and is hiding it from the other. As we learn, a relationship can work, for a while, even if it is not based on truth, but on a willingness to agree.

In A Late Quartet, the second violinist and the violist are married to each other. The violinist is having doubts about his playing, which leads a brief affair with a dancer. The arrogant first violinist is giving music lessons to his colleagues’ talented daughter. He betrays his bond to them by allowing the girl to seduce him. Again, it’s all about trust and cooperation, sometimes in spite of the underlying truth.

In The Bear Comes Home, the bear in the title is an alto sax player who is crazy about jazz, girls, and Shakespeare. He’s not a bearlike man, he’s a furry animal. And, he’s beset by the blues. Oddly, he blames his difficulties getting along with his human musician friends on everything except his essential bearishness. His situation reminds us how immigrants must feel, knowing they’re so much like the rest of us, while we can only see their differences.

Musicianship – it’s about collaboration, and what it takes for all us kids to play nice. Not just in music, but in personal relationships and even in international negotiations.

For Boychik Lit, I’m Gerald Everett Jones. I’m the author of Mr. Ballpoint. Be sure to catch these podcasts at