“After swimming in purgatory for fifteen years, we were making a steady living.” Love this passage from Questlove’s new book. The sad part is, few artists make it past that point professionally. Most never fully break out of the ghetto. Some make enough money to get the opportunity to do the work again. And a select few actually become rock stars. That’s why it’s often wiser to keep art as your passion, not your profession. Otherwise it’s one hell of a slog.
“Everybody says they want shorter, but what they really want is something that rivets them, they’ve got endless time for great.” Couldn’t agree more, Bob. All this rhetoric about declining attention span and hyperspeed technology means nothing when you’re really, really good. Awesomeness is the trump card of time. Instead of whittling down your work to bite-sized, digestible chunks, focus on being really good for a really long time. Set yourself on fire and people will stick around just to watch you burn. Even if it takes more than ten seconds.
“They have never done anything else for a living, because they haven’t needed to.” Man, that’s so cool. Imagine having one career, your whole life. That’s what Carol King did. Her genius was the ability to put all her talent into the service of a single idea. And she’s been one of the best for a long time. What’s interesting is, that trend may not continue. Future generations are likely to have five careers and twenty employers across their working lifetimes. The days of working a single occupation will soon be long behind us. Which could be good or bad.
“I like going to places where fame has no value.” There’s something existentially relaxing about living in a culture where reality television doesn’t exist. I could easily move to a country like that. A place where community is more important than celebrity. Where family is more important than fame. Where belonging is more important than beauty. Sounds like paradise to me. I wonder how the food is? Inspired by an interview with Ellen Page.
“When you start liking somebody, you have a silly voice.” I remember when my brother first met his wife, Anna. After three months of dating, there was a noticeable change in his voice. It sounded softer. Gentler. More loving. And it’s stayed that way ever since. I guess that’s what love does to us. It changes our biology. Inspired by Billy Crystal’s podcast interview.