Storytelling at Work
July 31, 2022
I BURN FOR YOU: A Stellar New EP by Fuzzbee Morse


Good people of planet Earth, it is my great pleasure to inform you that the very magnificent, masterful, fun-loving, creative, multi-instrumentalist and man-about-town, Jonathan "Fuzzbee" Morse, has just released a wonderful new four-song EP, I Burn For You.

If you already know Fuzzbee's music, you are in for a treat. If you don't know Fuzzbee's music, here is your introduction to a man who, at 16, was jamming with Frank Zappa, and has gone on to play with such other musical greats as Bono, Lou Reed, Aaron Neville, Jaco Pastorius, Third World, Karla Bonoff, Richie Havens, Jean-Luc Ponty, Ric Ocasek, Axl Rose, Chambers Brothers, Greg Hawkes, Ben Orr, Pink, Dave Grohl, The Soul Survivors, Daniel Lanois, Donovan, Jerry Marotta, Tony Levin, Derek Trucks, Julian Lennon, Rufus Wainwright, John Sebastian, David Sancious, Jesse Colin Young, Freebo, Natalie Cole, Lee Sklar, Nick Mason, and Russ Kunkel.

And that's just a sampling, folks.

What follows are excerpts from the liner notes of Fuzzbee's EP booklet. After that? Fuzzbee's answers to my questions.

PS: The best way to read the rest of this post is to listen to "I Burn for You" at the same time.

1. "I Burn for You"


I got to know Sting in 1986, when we were both on the Conspiracy of Hope tour and became a doubles team (undefeated!) on the tennis court. Whenever we've seen each other since then, there's always been a warm, mischievous vibe.

A little while back, Sting put out the word he wanted to hear some different takes on his songs. That intrigued me, and this song is one that I've always loved: I Burn For You.

Sting's band at the time I got to know him was the band that worked this up, including my friends, Janice Pendarvis, DoLette MacDonald, Darryl Jones, the great Kenny Kirkland, Omar Hakim (who went nuts on the original) and Branford Marsalis.

I cooked this up and got it to Sting in London on a Saturday night. By the time I woke up on Sunday, there was a message from him letting "mr. fuzzbee" know how he appreciated my Burn and that he now wanted to play it more again, himself.

So, here ya go. Alto flutes, bass, guitars, keyboards & things you hit. Enjoy!

2. "Warmth Of The Sun/Sleep Walk"

Double Rainbow 11-7.jpg

This is as close as I come to Christmas music! I've always adored both of these songs and thought there might be a way to musically tie them together with the guitar & harmonies. I could've added several other resonant songs to this mashup, but felt it better to contain it to these two gems and find the ways that they could cross.

Brian Wilson's chord changes always killed me, so consider this a little thank you and homage to Mr. Wilson. May 2022 - 2023 be far better for all of us!

3. "Anybody Like You"

Paul .jpeg

In my inexplicable & thoroughly wacky life, I've had many unexpected friends, mentors and colleagues, and Paul Allen was easily one of the most impactful.

As opaque and removed as he could be to many, we had a warm, funny and meaningful friendship for many years. We connected on a deep lifelong love of Jimi Hendrix and became jamming buddies and friends from our first meeting, playing 'til 4 in the morning on his birthday in January of 2006.

His Seattle Seahawks won the NFC Championship the next day, as I pointed to him on the TV and told Julie, "that's the guy I was jamming with last night!"

He was the ultimate wildcard. A truly brilliant man, whose head was immersed in finding solutions to seemingly unsolvable problems like climate change, ocean health, curing Alzheimer's and figuring out how to properly pull off Little Wing.

I'll consider him one of the greatest human beings I've ever encountered 'til I check out of this madhouse. And a treasured friend. We had so much fun together. From that first moment, on his birthday.

With great love and appreciation to Paul G. Allen.

4. "As Long as the Wind Blows"

Da Boyz - Version 3.jpg

Written with abiding love & respect for George Harrison, with embedded Beatles tributes by Tony Levin, who played with John & Ringo and Jerry Marotta, who played with Paul McCartney. The Beatles made me want to play, write & perform when I was a little kid. Oh yeah, and get chased by screaming girls.

George was so profoundly an essential part of the depth & timelessness of the Beatles, along with John, Paul & Ringo. His contribution is immeasurable. With much love to PR.


1. What inspired you to produce/create/release this EP at this time?

I'd already decided to release my reinvention of a song of Sting's and, rather than just selling one song, it seemed natural to combine it with other unreleased pieces from the last couple of Years of the Plague.

2. Is there some kind of theme or thread that connects all four songs?

They were all triggered by different events & people, but the underlying theme may be irreplaceable people and appreciations of the richness of life.

3. How did COVID 19 and the closing all all musical venues affect you? What did you learn from that experience?

All musical work stopped completely for a while. No studios open, no live music, very little income from my field. I ended up re-doing my studio and started to work remotely from my place, but it was a pretty brutal stretch. I learned how hungry people are, including me, for live music and live interaction.

4. Some people say that music is the universal language. Is it? And if so, what is it trying to say to all of us?

Yes, it's the closest thing to a universal language, with all of its varying flavors from different cultures, eras and styles. Great music can be enjoyed by anyone from any part of the world.

5. Who are your biggest musical influences?

Frank Zappa, The Beatles, Stravinsky, Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Pink Floyd, Stevie Wonder, Motown, Joni Mitchell, Philly Soul (especially Thom Bell's songs), Bernard Herrmann and all the great Bluesmen: Albert King, Robert Johnson, BB King, etc.

6. When did you know that music was what you were here to do?

Probably about eight or nine.

7. In what ways has Prem Rawat affected your relationship to music and who you are as a human being?

Daya .jpeg

Prem has taught me, carefully and over time, how to extract the most from as many moments as possible. In playing music for him over decades, you learn to balance the satisfying with the unexpected, the appropriate with the wild, the internal with the visceral.

Above all, you learn to serve the moment. Musically, your aim is to get the best out of that piece, at that moment, in that situation, for that audience.

8. What are three (as yet) unfulfilled dreams of yours?

-- To have enough money not to waste time worrying about it.
-- To have a house in a healthy area with a full recording studio in it.
-- To play a piece at the Grammys that absolutely brings the house down. Or even one timeless solo.

9. Why would you like people to buy your EP?

To enjoy the music, further their own inspiration and help feed my chihuahua.

10. What is the sound of one hand clapping?

Mickey Fuzzjpeg.jpeg
11. What was it like to meet Mickey Mantle as a young boy?

Absolute nirvana.

12. Complete these sentences:

"The best thing about jamming with Frank Zappa at 16 was... the look on his face. (Playing the best I'd ever played in my life didn't hurt)."

"If I had $250,000 in the bank I would be... most grateful."

"My favorite line from a Bob Dylan song is... "he not busy being born is busy dying."

"In the next ten years I would like to... achieve having a comfortable life making my own music and spend lots of quality time with friends."

"My most memorable moment with Prem Rawat was... too many to list just one, but many include a golden, beaming look directed at me or a shared belly laugh."

"Though money can't buy happiness, it can... keep the hellhounds at bay."

"If I met Buddha on the road, I would... ask him about his favorite restaurants."

"The most extraordinary musician i ever met was... Jaco Pastorius and Frank Zappa (tied)."

"One of the great things about playing music at Canter's Deli in LA is... that it's usually unplanned and great surprises occur. Having a weekly residency in a big city allows for plenty of experimentation and regular attendees."

"The thing baseball and music most have in common is.. breathing room and hits."

Fuzzbee's "I Burn for You" on Bandcamp
Fuzzbee's website

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:03 PM | Comments (0)

July 15, 2022
The Chocolate Milk Shake

I have a friend who is in the process of dying. He is on his death bed and won't be leaving it until the men in black suits take him away. In terms of eternity, Warren is going just a few seconds before the rest of us. But it is his time now and one more wake up call for me -- someone who has been bedside to a dying father and a dying sister, knowing that one day it will be my turn.

Warren has chosen not to eat, but he is still drinking liquids. So last week I asked him what he wanted to drink and he told me in the beat of a heart -- a thick chocolate milk shake from Stuarts. Vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup.

Each time I visit Warren I bring him a milkshake, hold it for him, bend the straw in his direction and watch him drink. There is something about the moment of a dying man drinking a chocolate milk shake that floors me. Each sip Warren takes is a little bit of heaven, a return to childhood, a mainline moment into the here and now. I hold the straw and feel the coolness of the milkshake passing by my fingers as Warren feels the sweetness on his tongue.

I want to live my life in this milkshake moment. I want to savor each sip as I let the world go, feeling in my bones what is beyond it all, no matter what has happened in the past or what will happen in the future.

We are here for such a short while, a blink of the eye. Now you see it, now you don't. But while we do, we get a chance to enjoy each sip, the sweetness on our tongue and the love in our heart.

Keep savoring my friends. Enjoy it all while you can.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:08 AM | Comments (0)

July 13, 2022
The Awareness That This Will Become a Memory

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:56 PM | Comments (1)

July 05, 2022
Ending Violence with Chopsticks


Once upon a time there was old man sitting at sushi bar in Japan, his back turned to the front door. Halfway through his meal, in walks three young thugs, with only one thing in mind -- to attack the old man from behind and steal his money. Quickly looking around the room, they knew this would be an easy day's pay for them, since the old man was the only person in restaurant. What they didn't know, however, was that the old man was actually a great Master of the martial arts -- a legend in self-defense who had been trained from an early age to sense danger from behind.

As the three young thugs approached, the old man, lightly holding a pair of chopsticks in his right hand, plucked a housefly from the air. Just. Like. That. The young thugs noticed, their forward movement slowing dramatically. Then the martial arts master transferred the chopsticks to his left hand, quickly flicked his wrist above his head and caught a second housefly. The young thugs noticed again. Now, transferring the chopsticks to his right hand, the martial arts master performed the feat once again, plucking yet another housefly from the air and depositing it gently next to the other two, both of whom were dazed, but very much alive.

That's when the three young thugs stopped, turned around, and exited the restaurant as quickly as they could. It took them 30 minutes before they could even speak.

FOR YOUR REFFLECTION: This story was told to me by a fifth degree black belt from the same martial arts tradition as the great Master sitting at the sushi bar. When I first heard the story, it had great impact on me -- how violence could be ended without violence and how mastery could manifest itself in many forms to accomplish an extraordinary result.

"A good horse runs at the shadow of the whip", the old saying goes.

The chopsticks story was always one I wanted to include in my new book, but before publishing it, I wanted to make sure I had the story right. So I decided to so some research. I googled. I emailed. I spoke to people from the Master's martial arts lineage. But every effort I made came up empty. Nobody could tell me, for sure, whether or not the story was true.

That's when I realized I had a choice to make. Do I include the story in my book or not? In the end, I did. And why I did is because of the powerful message the story delivers in just a few paragraphs that take only 90 seconds to read.

Did the chopsticks story really happen the way I described it? Maybe. Maybe not. I still don't know. But what I do know is that there is a deep message embedded in the story -- a message that, if deeply imbibed, has the potential to change the way you (and whoever else reads the story) approaches the perceived problems in their life.

Is any story 100% factual? And, other than a story being told in a court of law, does it matter? Stories, by their very nature, morph in the telling. They also morph in relationship to the storyteller's perceptions, interpretation, and mood of the moment -- not unlike what happens in the children's game of telephone. Facts are one thing. Truth is another. Maybe that's why Francis Bacon once said, "Truth is so hard to tell, it sometimes needs fiction to make it plausible."

What danger is approaching you these days? And how might you defuse it in a non-traditional way?

Another martial arts story
The Wisdom Circles of San Miguel

PHOTO: unsplash-logoJuan Encalada

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:45 PM | Comments (0)

July 01, 2022
POLL RESULTS: What Kind of Stories People Want to Tell


Social scientists tell us that 65% of all our conversations take the shape of stories. That got me thinking about what kind of stories human beings like to tell. So I posted an online poll to see what I could learn, asking people to rate the following storytelling themes on a scale of 1 - 5 for how interested they would be to tell a story, from their own life, about that topic. 49 respondents, so far. Here are the results:

4.30 -- A small moment that taught me something big
4.14 -- A transformational moment with a Teacher, Mentor, or Master
4.10 -- Discovering my true self
4.06 -- The power of love
4.04 -- Amazing synchronicity
3.97 -- Standing at the crossroads
3.95 -- Tapping into my inner strength
3.93 -- The most remarkable moment of my life
3.93 -- Accepting what is
3.86 -- Letting go
3.84 -- The sudden appearance of unexpected help
3.82 -- The power of trust
3.82 -- The power of forgiveness
3.78 -- What I learned from my biggest mistake
3.71 -- The power of intention
3.69 -- A childhood experience I will never forget
3.68 -- Going beyond fear
3.68 -- Taking a leap
3.65 -- Divine timing
3.63 -- Expressing myself fully
3.63 -- What I learned from someone very different than me
3.60 -- Removing the mask
3.56 -- Choosing
3.56 -- Ask and ye shall receive
3.53 -- A mysterious connection with a stranger
3.51 -- What I learned from a child
3.48 -- Perseverance furthers
3.47 -- An unforgettable moment with my father
3.45 -- Being guided by unseen forces
3.44 -- Against all odds
3.40 -- A single, word, glance, or gesture that changed my life
3.39 -- The best gift I ever received
3.37 -- Everything happens for the best
3.36 -- Asking for help
3.34 -- True tenderness
3.32 -- Starting all over again
3.28 -- An unforgettable moment with my mother
3.28 -- Being called. Following my muse.
3.28 -- The biggest surprise of my life
3.27 -- When time stopped
3.27 -- A remarkable premonition
3.22 -- A missed opportunity. A chance not taken.
3.22 -- Being alone
3.20 -- It's all a matter of perspective
3.18 -- My biggest victory
3.15 -- An unusual collaboration
3.14 -- A story I've never told anyone
3.08 -- There is always a resolution
3.06 -- My earliest memory
3.02 -- Putting down my heavy load
3.00 -- Facing my opponent
2.95 -- Being saved
2.93 -- The most incredible dream I ever had
2.93 -- A near death experience
2.82 -- The power of immersion
2.73 -- My most embarrassing moment
2.71 -- Making my mark
2.69 -- An angelic visitation
2.63 -- Contact with the other side
2.53 -- Honoring my incarnation
2.39 -- The agony of betrayal
2.36 -- A past life memory
2.28 -- A family secret
1.93 -- My first kiss

Respond to the poll here
What stories will you tell today?

A culture of storytelling
A simple way to identify the seeds of your own stories
Photo: Ali Arif Soydas, Unsplash

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:05 PM | Comments (0)


Storytelling at Work is a blog about the power of personal storytelling – why it matters and what you can do to more effectively communicate your stories – on or off the job. Inspired by the book of the same name, the blog features "moment of truth" stories by the author, Mitch Ditkoff, plus inspired rants, quotes, and guest submissions by readers.

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