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What It’s Like to Fail

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On Christmas Day, 2001, I sat down at my Yamaha G2 grand piano, set up my metronome, and opened up a book of Shostakovich’s “Preludes.” It was late afternoon, and the warm, orange light of the fading day poured into my five-bedroom house — paid for by my $300,000 a year income as a Hollywood comedy writer — in San Marino, California, a wealthy suburb of Los Angeles. My wife, Marina, was cooking dinner for me and our eight children, and it was as happy a Christmas afternoon as I would ever have. Read More

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