Song Suggestion: Hallelujah, Leonard Cohen (I prefer this Jeff Buckley version)
Drink Suggestion: warm Christmas mulled wine

Hallelujah, my computer has died. I got the dreaded blue screen of death yesterday and after spending too many precious holiday hours since then seeking out a simple fix, have surrendered and called a tech.

Meanwhile, I am typing this postcard on my ancient Dell, weighing in at two tons and sporting a busted screen hinge, lazy processor, and without a wifi adapter. It hasn’t seen the light of day for at least 2 years and perhaps thrilled to feel the electrons surge through the gates once again, but showing its considerable age. I have now joined the ranks of the unconnected.

I am grateful that my laptop died frankly, grateful to lose the distraction while my kids are here for the holiday break. The pull of the internet is addictive, even (or especially) during our supposed down time. Patterns set in that any smoker would recognize, the just out of bed fix, then just after breakfast, right before preparing lunch, and on and on through the day. And each dose can linger indefinitely, depending on the fascinating news items to be found. What, Snooki lost 10 pounds on the cookie diet? The cigarette habit is hard to break because the association of a lit smoke with those recurring moments of our daily routines is a constant reminder of the craving. I find the call of the internet equally difficult to refuse.

The internet has changed Christmas forever, particularly the shopping part. Who wants to stand in line with the masses? It is infinitely easier to browse the web looking for just the right gift, and now even possible from the mobile phone. Add credit card number and shipping address, and in a relaxing hour or two on a slow night (and with a glass or 3 of warm mulled wine for inspiration), voila, Santa’s bag is full.

Yes, it is certainly easier to make our gift selections through Amazon, iTunes and other digital storefronts, but it also makes gift buying less genuine, more perfunctory. I wonder if our great grandparents made similar remarks in years past, when handmade gifts yielded to department store buying. Papa spends 2 months in the shed cutting, shaping, sanding, gluing, nailing, painting, and accessorizing junior’s hobby horse, only to see his kid pine for the more polished factory-assembled horse in Macy’s Christmas display window. Dammit!

New Years is just at the corner so it’s time to consider resolutions. Mine come in the perennial and annual varieties. A recurring pledge involves running (doing more of it) and drinking (doing less of it). Success varies. Last year I also resolved to start a blog where I could publish essays on the art of thriving post-50, personal happiness, and life in my much-loved Aix-en-Provence. This last entry for 2011 marks my 16th postcard for the year. I hope that you have enjoyed them, perhaps even found some nuggets of value in them.

For 2012 I am targeting music, of getting back to songwriting and recording. The postcards will continue but alternate with a new posted recording monthly; at least this is the resolution. I also want to be more diligent with my gratitude journal this year and ask my kids for the same. It is an effective daily ritual for celebrating our good fortunes, not commiserating our misfortunes. If you have rituals for addressing the promise of a new year I would love to hear about them. The possibility of transformation is a key element of happiness and I am interested in different approaches to personal reinvention. The good lord knows well the work remaining at my end. Perhaps I will be her personal project for the year!


Some of you may know that music has played a major role throughout my life, involving bands and songwriting, and culminating in a CD in the mid-90s called Eskimo in the Sun. As mentioned in the blog, I am working on a new collection of demos – working title: Balm of Gilead – that will be rolled out through 2012 (better late than never, right?). These are being recorded at Mirabeau Studios, also known as my living room in Aix, and can be accessed at cool site called SoundCloud. What they may lack in professional studio sound quality will hopefully be compensated for in grit, heart and soul. Should you like what you hear, please feel free to share them with friends. If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, …. well you know the phrase.

A first song has been uploaded. It is called How Hard and is meant to be played in sequence as a pair of 2 very different arrangements, the second called B Side.

Bill Magill

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  1. Tough enough indeed, Bill!
    Well done ~ enjoyed both tunes, and good to hear that your resolution is to write more of them!
    And SNOOKI lost 10 pounds!?!? I can always count on your blogs to bring important info! You know I’m just kidding. When I see your postcard in the mailbox, I always look forward to reading your witty and insightful thoughts. Keep them coming, and Happy 2012 to you and yours!

  2. I miss my old friend Bill. From the sound of this “postcard” you are now in Provence all the time. If you feel the urge to visit this part of the world, give us a heads up. We would love to see you again. I hope…I know you had a great Christmas with the kids being there to make it what it is all about. Take care of yourself and have a great New Year. YOur friend always, Steve

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