have been about 14 then, and I dismissed the incident
with the easy carelessness of youth. But the words
Carl Walter spoke that day came back to me years later,
and ever since have been of inestimable value to me.
Walter was my piano teacher. During one of my
lessons he asked how much practicing I was doing.
I said three or four hours a day.
you practice in long stretches, an hour at a time?"
don't!" he exclaimed. "When you grow up,
time won't come in long stretches. Practice in
minutes, whenever you can find them--five or ten before
school, after lunch, between chores. Spread the
practice through the day, and piano-playing will become
a part of your life."
was teaching at Columbia, I wanted to write, but
recitations, theme-reading and committee meetings filled
my days and evenings. For two years I got
practically nothing down on paper, and my excuse was
that I had no time. Then I recalled what Carl
Walter had said.
the next week I conducted an experiment. Whenever
I had five unoccupied minutes, I sat down and wrote a
hundred words or so.