Detours and Tangents

Side trips off the straight and narrow

My Crooked Path Toward Perfection

When I returned to piano lessons as an adult, I never dreamed how much I would learn about myself. Read More

Smarter with age

Such a sweet and inspiring story. Sometimes the best stories in the world are ourselves. Very kind of you to share yours.

Your May 1 Comment

Thank you so much for reading my column, Franky, and for your very kind comments. I woke up this morning thinking that perhaps I had revealed too much in this post, so your thoughts have been extremely reassuring. I wish you all the best--and I hope you might enjoy reading my other "Detours and Tangents" columns!

Very encouraging to me, as

Very encouraging to me, as I'm trying to learn piano as an adult myself.

Your May 1 Comment

Thank you so much for reading my column, Ed, and for posting your thoughts! I wish you the very best in your piano studies. I predict that you will keep getting better, as I did!


Thank you Susan for such an uplifting story, rich with self-knowledge and the hope of second chances. I was enthralled. Congratulations, also, on having a great column from which your readers can take insight.

Your May 10 Comment

Barbara, thank you so much for reading my column and for your thoughtful comments. I am honored by your response and your perspective!


This reminds me of an adage I learned just a few short years ago that has essentially "let me off the anxiety hook" ... "Progress not perfection." It replaced the "look at the audience and pretend they're all naked" which never really worked. Seeing people naked makes me more anxious, but that's another story.

Your article encourages me to continue to pursue progress in spite of the anxieties that hold me back from pushing my envelope. It also reminds me to give myself grace and, most importantly, to tell myself it's okay to set boundaries. "I will do this, but I won't do that."

Five years ago, everything in my life was set by an "all or nothing" attitude, which probably caused me to miss out on a lot of good opportunities. Now, with a "progress" position on things, I'm able to take small steps toward achieving personal goals, even if it sometimes means upsetting others, who might have different expectations.

Good stuff, all around. Thanks.

Your May 12 Comment

Laurie, thank you so much for reading my column and for writing such a detailed, thoughtful response. I love this idea: "It also reminds me to give myself grace." What a wonderful expression! I hope I will remember it in my own life. I also love the idea of telling oneself it's OK to set boundaries. And your difficulty with the advice to "look at the audience and pretend they're all naked" is priceless! Thank you again!

Susan Hoopers article My Crooked Truth Toward Perferction

I really enjoyed Susan's writing, she writes simply and beautifully.

Your May 13 Comment

Rees, thank you so much for reading my column and for your comments. I very much appreciate that you took the time—not only to read my column, but also to leave such a kind response.

Susan Hooper's article "My Crooked Path Toward Perfection"

Can beauty be uesful? Thank you Susan, who gave us an important insight when she described the success of her efforts at music therapy The path may be more important than impossible perfection.
As a professional musician with many experiences performing for all kinds of audiences, I have had a lot of ups and downs, sometimes questioning the value of it all. Perhaps my most rewarding performance was totally unexpected.
When I visited my mother at a nursing home during the last months of her life, she asked me to play the piano, which turned out to be the worst musical instrument that I had ever touched.
Yet, as I clunked my way through a Chopin waltz on the half-dead old Grinnel, I saw a change in the patients gathered in their common room. From bent-over, mumbling zombies drooling in their their laps they changed. They sat up, began to converse coherently, and even smile. I felt like Orpheus raising his beloved Eurydice from the dead. Though she slipped away back into death, he kept singing. Stumbling along the crooked path is worth it.

Your August 18th Comment

Dear Conrad,
Thank you so much for your thoughtful and moving comment. I am honored that you, as a professional musician, would read my column! I agree with you that music can make a huge difference in the lives of people in nursing homes. I never had the courage to play for anyone but my mother when I visited her in her nursing home. In the past few months, however, I have occasionally thought of asking the nursing home administrator for permission to play sometime for the current residents, as a way of thanking the nursing home for taking such good care of my mother during her six years there. Your comment may inspire me to make that call!
Thank you again for reading my post and for leaving your thoughts.
With my best wishes,
Susan Hooper

Thanks for your "piano experience"

Your preparation, hard work, and perseverance hit me this morning as I prepared my lesson plan for children with learning disabilities. These children could be my "piano keys" to fine tune my approach in opening up their own unique potentials. I am happy to say that I am now avid follower of Detours and Tangents!

Your October 16th Comment

Dear Anonymous,
Thank you so much for your lovely comment on "My Crooked Path to Perfection." I am humbled by your praise, especially knowing that you work with children with learning disabilities. Your work is so vital and valuable; you are truly transforming their lives! As for your being an avid follower of Detours and Tangents, that is—if I may say—music to my ears! I hope you will enjoy browsing through my other previous posts (15 in all, counting the "Crooked Path" column), which you can find by clicking on the "Detours and Tangents" link above (and also to the right side) of each column. Thank you again so much for writing; you are an inspiration to me!
With my best wishes,
Susan Hooper

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Susan Hooper, a freelance writer, is a former newspaper reporter and government press secretary.


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