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I have been warned that artists' autobiographies are self-serving, but I've seldom found them this way. Artists tend to be truthful where art is concerned. I am thinking now of a favorite book of mine, Musical Stages by Richard Rodgers. From this book we learn that although he fought both depression and cancer, Rodgers strove to write daily, every morning. Not working, he was miserable. Working, he was less miserable. For him work was not only the answer but the only question worth asking. He loved his work and left us a legacy of nine hundred-plus songs to prove it.

Work, given a chance, brings out the best in most of us. There were many days when Rodgers was not inspired but worked anyway--many of his most "inspired" melodies came from those flat days.

Do you think there's a lesson there?