Chapter 3. Communicating Clearly

“Before I speak, I have something important to say.”

Groucho Marx

When I was 11 years old, my friend somehow obtained an LP he had “borrowed without asking” from his brother. He handed me the large disc adorned with cardboard sleeve, all carefully buried in a white plastic bag. As I retrieved said sleeve from said bag, my eyes widened and I skipped a breath: it was the first time I witnessed the sheer brilliance of an Iron Maiden record.

I listened to that LP until it damaged the pin in my record player. I loved the energy, I loved the look (including the spandex...I am not kidding), and I just wanted to be them. Unfortunately I had neither talent nor spandex but merely a bowl haircut and large white socks.

Inspired, I decided I was going to learn to play the guitar. My parents bought me an old acoustic guitar and I parked myself on my bed night after night trying to sound like my rock and roll heroes. Of course, I instead sounded like an incompetent 11-year-old with an acoustic guitar. I sucked, but I stuck at it.

As the years rumbled on, so did my guitar playing. Fortunately my skills were improving and I was reading more and more about music, guitarists, and the bands I loved. While flicking through a copy of Guitarist magazine, I came across a quote that I seem to remember was from Eric Clapton, but I’m not quite sure. Whoever it was, his words really resonated with me (pun intended):

It’s not the notes you play, it’s the notes you don’t play.

While ...

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