WSV’s Charles Thomas writes about importance of beauty, as well as the risk and reward of sharing one’s creative efforts with the world. “Why do they take the risk? Why put yourself in a position to have something you worked on for hundreds of hours become the subject of ridicule? Why risk openness and honesty when we live in a culture that has a strong tendency to mock almost everything? I’m sure there is no single answer to those questions, but I think an important reason that we take those risks is because deep down, all of us want to be a part of something beautiful. In fact, I think that a drive to merge with the beautiful is essential to who we are as human beings.”

WSV’s Charles Thomas writes, “Denial is considered an unhealthy defense mechanism while suppression is considered healthy. Sure, you could sit around all day and ponder the inevitability of death, but thanks to suppression, most of us are able to put that nasty little detail out of our minds and do the dishes, mow the lawn or write the column. But the denial of death, on the other hand, can lead to people making risky decisions or living what Plato called ‘an unexamined life.’ When it comes to defense mechanisms, it’s important to make the healthy choice.”

WSV’s Charles Thomas writes, “I know a lot of people my age often talk about how contemporary music isn’t as good as it was when they were younger, but that hasn’t been my impression. There’s still a lot of great music being made in 2021. What has struck me, though, as I compare the music of my youth to the music of today is the general lack of musicianship in today’s popular music. I’ve sampled dozens of popular songs in the last few weeks and I’ve been struck by the total and complete lack of songs featuring a guitar solo, or any instrumental solo for that matter.”

WSV Columnist Charles Thomas writes, “While it’s great to aim high, such lofty goals have a major downside. When our resolution is to lose 50 pounds, it’s hard to get very excited when we’ve lost five pounds. That’s just a drop in the bucket, a mere 10 percent of the goal! But when we start smaller and make our initial goal to lose five pounds, we can celebrate an actual victory as we plan how to take the next step.”