I'm reading The Long Tail by Chris Anderson, the latest in a string of non-fiction books that started...well, I'm not sure when.
As a musician (and a former radio announcer with a jazz show) I'd always disdained talk radio. I figured that on the radio, anything but music was a waste of time. But having XM and hearing that Bob Edwards was coming on, having been unceremoniously dismissed from NPR, I thought I'd give XMPR a try. Might have been day two or three of listening when I caught him interviewing Malcolm Gladwell on his new book, Blink. Something clicked in my brain and it was like a reset button back to 1966, before I discovered drugs and alcohol. I drove straight to the nearest Barnes and Noble and bought the book, and one thing led to another.
Which is a way of saying the breadcrumbs seemed to appear before me. My curiosity led me down the oddest paths. Book after book, website after website, unable to stop but not wanting to...and yet wondering just why I felt compelled to pursue ideas with, as Frank Zappa might have termed it, No Commercial Potential. At least for me, a 50-something bookkeeper struggling to stay alive in a crashing economy. I mean, so what if I think Gladwell has some Neat Ideas. Does anyone really care?
And then this week I had an insight. Imagine that, insight. I guess there are still a few brain cells left that didn't succumb to the onslaught of days gone by. And the insight was this, with thanks to Chris Anderson and his wonderful book - that I do what I do because it's who I am. Whether it has a tremendous practical application or none whatsoever is simply irrelevant.
The pages of The Long Tail are helping me see that the digital age brings us to a point where we can be creators, and not just consumers. In my "day job" I may push a broom, or move billions of dollars around the world, or something in between...doesn't matter. If my passion is butterscotch, or hopscotch, or just plain hops...then that is what matters for me, and not the answer to the classic "And what do you do?"
So now I'm following the breadcrumbs without peering backwards and wondering what the heck I think I'm doing. Posts about some great books and web pages and the ideas therein will be forthcoming from time to time...comments, corrections, and suggestions welcome.