Meaningful Margin Notes

Try to visualize thousands of books; old, new, paperback, hardbound, some heavy moldy tomes to tiny pocket-sized last minute whims – every subject imagination can grasp – boxed in my garage. Just a peek in each revealed a tacit thought, personal comment, a wisdom wrought as afterthought, and the sound of Ted’s voice came to me from each page; I could hear him so clearly. Three weeks smiling through tears, dust-covered and painstakingly perusing each page for traces of Ted’s musings, and it was worth every sneeze.

Now the books leave no empty space unfilled in my formerly somewhat uncluttered house. The very night I finished Ted’s presence was so eerily evident and tenderly welcome as he once again was amidst his familiar and beloved earthly treasures.

Circumstances and time generally determine most aspects of our lives, which is why the numerous boxes of Ted’s books remained stored in my garage for more than five years. But all too often things are lost or discarded without a thought to how meaningful they will be in the future. How many items cherished from childhood onward do we wish we‘d have held on to?   A mistake I was not wont to repeat.

In recent weeks necessity insisted I sort through the books since I lacked the space to keep them all in my house. Besides, I tearfully justified, the books were created to be read and treasured. I based my decision of which ones to keep on this criteria: 1) any and all books that had Ted’s writing in them and 2) any others I thought I might read.

I wish I could give you a better description of the enormity of this task. I no longer have a camera, nor do I know how to use the one in my cell phone.  I do include a photograph of Ted’s apartment, the way he left it when he left it for the last time, with so many books yet unread.

Here I share some wonderful discoveries. For ease of reading my transcription of Ted’s writing is placed below each example.

On Greatness: In response to the quote by Madame Necker, “Worship your heroes from afar; contact withers them.” (‘often’ – inserted by Ted)

Ted wrote: “Given the inherently flawed nature of most people this would seem and often is, wise council. Yet, disappointment aversion be damned the pleasures of the rare truly great are themselves too great to let fear run the show.  If 100 people disappoint and one startles with true luminescence, then this makes it all worth it.” Ted Greene 1/15/03


On Rock and Roll’s reason for being, social rebellion…

Ted’s comment, “No…this is an aspect of what came out of the youthful expression of the times…so much post WWII energy finding an outlet thru the excitement of amplified, driving music.  The sociological reasons are dominated by the MUSIC…  I was there, I might have played ‘Rock Around the Clock’ twenty times in a row on my little record player… it was the MUSIC.  Of course in the mid-sixties the social reasons did become huge magnets and bonds competing with (or enhancing) the music as far as the lure factor.”

Ted Greene (c. mid-1970s)


Ted’s response to Ayn Rand’s paragraph highlighted in yellow: “The more years you invest in self-delusion or self-evasion, the more painful will be the turnabout if there ever even is one, for who wants to admit that they have had wrong values for most (all!) of their lives?” Ted Greene (c.mid -1970s)


Comments written on the page of a Guitar Player magazine:  From Pg.2 – where Ted underlined ‘three note voicings’ – Ted: “My preference for teaching harmony in the 1st long period for quite a few types of students. For others, 4 note or more is a better place to start.  EXACTLY all my sentiments along with one more: for non-jazz lovers they fall more favorably on their ears.”

On the left hand side of the page: “Not really. CPE Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven & Schubert blew the doors open first.”

At bottom: “My 1966-68 method of composing. Ex: Open Low-end triads. Cmi(b3 on top), B?(or G 3rd in bass), Eb(5th in bass), Bb, Ebmi(5th in bass)or Bbmi, Gmi(3rd in bass), D(5th in bass)  Singly, collectively, in similar, oblique or contrary motion please!”  Ted Greene 9/26/99


Ted’s apartment 8

  1. April 12, 2011 at 3:19 am

    this is a great read… thanks again!

    Warm regards,


  2. April 20, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    Greetings Pedro, Thanks for making mention of it here. There will be more posts similar to that as I slowly wade my way through Ted’s books. All the best to you, Barbara

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