Mottley Law Firm March 2019

3/19

THE MOTTLEY CREW REVIEW

www.MottleyLawFirm.com | (804) 823-2011

MY LOVE AFFAIR WITH THE MANDOLIN

course. The key to achieving any goal is refusing to quit. You must develop a “GPS system” in your brain that gets you back on course each time you take a detour. I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions. Most people who “resolve” to do something set themselves up for disappointment because they don’t prepare for the most important thing: intermittent failure. That is to say, the resolution will be broken at some point. Once failure happens, many people simply give up as if they “just can’t do it.” Subconsciously they feel as if they must wait another year to start over again, as if we only get one chance per year to try. That’s crazy. Every day is New Year’s Day. You can always get back on course. What really counts is what happens after a setback. That’s been my story with the mandolin. Mike’s mandolin school has three levels: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. Last year, my goal was to become a solid intermediate player. That didn’t happen, so my goal for 2019 is to get there and then set my GPS for advanced. I go through periods when I just can’t do it. Too much is flying at me. My passion dips. But I always find my way back. I know I’d be further down the road had I not taken a detour. But that’s okay, detours are part of the journey.

I’ve never openly admitted this, but my secret dream is to play mandolin in a bluegrass band one day. I’ve always been able to sing, especially country. What I’ve lacked is an instrument. Only one person on the planet has given me an inkling I can do it. He is my teacher, Mike Marshall, and coincidentally, the Dawg’s protégé. Mike is in California. I take lessons from him over the internet through video exchanges. Given my busy schedule, this way of learning has many advantages.

My love affair with the mandolin can be traced back to 1996. I had just started working as a young lawyer when an older associate invited me to a bluegrass concert. I knew nothing about bluegrass, so when he rattled off the names David Grisman (the “Dawg”), Tony Rice, Peter Rowan, and Del McCoury, I just nodded. The seats were front row, middle of the aisle. Grisman blew me away, but Ronnie McCoury was also terrific. I came away hooked on the mandolin.

Kevin Mottley With Mandolin

Mike Marshall

I’m having fun, and it helps get my mind off work. Even if I never achieve my dream, trying to achieve it is not a bad way to live. (Isn’t that true of any dream?) Mike encourages beginners to think of their progression as a flower advancing from bud to full bloom. It is “perfect” every step along the way. (Although my family disagrees, I think). Building my firm, I’ve learned that the path between setting a goal and accomplishing it is never straight. Things knock you off

For the next 20 years, I just listened. I bought a lot of Dawg music and some others. I drove my kids crazy playing it in my car. I started wondering, “Could I ever play mandolin?” One day after settling a case, I gazed out my office window and said, “Let’s go buy a mandolin. You’re not getting any younger!” When I walked through the door that night carrying a mandolin, I got some strange looks. But since then, the mandolin has been a fixture in our house.

-Kevin W. Mottley

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