Music is an old friend; my piano is one of my best friends. Neuroscientists have begun to document what anyone who plays a piano (or a pipe organ — which is what I really love, but not something easy to have in your home…) has come to know — that the notes, rhythms, tones, and patterns of music are not only wonderful companions, but also antidotes for stress, anxiety, and uncertainty. It’s amazing how playing the piano for a little while helps organize thoughts and tamp down doubts. Words are at least as important to me as music — so my life is lined with books, magazines, The New York Times. I’ve adapted to text messages and Twitter, and I read short pieces on my phone (too often, probably). But there’s nothing that replaces a book, that thing you hold in your hands; books have weight, a feel, a touch. On the pages, I find lots to like — poems, short stories, narrative pieces, novels. When I fly (which I do a lot), The New Yorker is a constant seat-mate. Living in Provincetown, MA, out at the end of the world (at least the end of US 6), I’ve found a wonderfully creative, welcoming community and the most extraordinary natural setting ever — the Atlantic, and its whales; the magical light of Cape Cod afternoons and sunsets; beachgrass, gulls, sand, and scrubby pines.