Seth Godin just plain gets it. First of all, the dude writes a blog post every day. Yes, that’s right. Every. Single. Day. Neither rain, nor snow, nor authoring books nor hosting workshops nor speaking at conferences, will keep Mr. Godin from his appointed rounds — sharing pearls of wisdom with folks like you… and fanboys like me.
About a month ago, my old radio pal Ric “The Rictile” Cengeri was unceremoniously dumped from his Vermont Public Radio gig, after 12 years of faithful service.
I worked with Ric for three years at 97X. We were roommates for much of that time, and morning show co-hosts for a year. So we spent a ton of time together. You won’t find a nicer guy, or one more passionate about creating great radio programs.
His energy was off the charts. His sense of humor was keen. His joie de vivre was contagious. His ability to remember listeners’ names was Rain Man-like. The way he mentored our college co-ops was admirable.
You could drop Rictile onto an uncharted desert isle (not Gilligan’s Island) and come back in three weeks to find a full blown party with hundreds of people. (He earned his Dirty Mayor nickname from his local pub, where he made so many fast friends that they called him “the Mayor.” He even has a cider named in his honor.)
After such a shock, Ric could’ve chosen to wallow in self-pity. But that’s not the Way of the Rictile. Instead, he’s doing what he’s always done. Going to concerts, to museums, to sporting events, to restaurants, to the symphony, to poetry readings, to the pub, to farmer’s markets, and volunteering in the community… The Man stole his livelihood, but he’s not going to mess up his life.
The Facebook post below from a former co-worker — and Ric’s reply — speak volumes about the kind of person he is.
Ric’s VPR job ended on a sour note, but the Dirty Mayor’s life is a thing of beauty. I can’t wait to hear about his next adventure.
I attended a performance by author David Sedaris last night. You may think it’s a bit of a stretch to call it a “performance” when he was merely reading his stories, followed by an audience Q&A. But that means you’ve never seen David Sedaris live. And I was in that group prior to last night.
I’ve read most of his books, and love them. I knew he’d be funny, insightful, witty, [insert other adjective for a writer of humorous, satirical essays here]. But I didn’t expect it to be bust-a-gut, rolling in the aisles, laughing-so-hard-I’m-crying funny. Yet it was. I haven’t laughed that much, or that hard, in ages. He’s not just a masterful writer, but also a powerful performer.
The promo blurb for the show was spot-on:
If you love David Sedaris’s cheerfully misanthropic stories, you might think that you know what you’re getting into at his live readings. You’d be wrong. To see him read his own work on stage allows his autobiographical narrative to reveal a uniquely personal narrative that will keep you laughing throughout the evening.
Best of all for a hack like me was the fact that the laughs were powered by David’s written words. No props, no fog machines, no show business shtick. Just short essays read by a 62-year-old man standing at a podium on an otherwise bare stage. Observant. Trenchant. Moving. And Hilarious.
David’s tour continues in the U.S. through early December. If he’s performing anywhere near you, you simply must go.
[David also used a bit of his stage time to promote another writer’s latest book. He raved about Ann Patchett’s new novel The Dutch House. I’ll have to check that one out.]
The purpose of life is to discover your gift. The work of life is to develop it. The meaning of life is to give your gift away.
David Viscott – Finding Your Strength in Difficult Times: A Book of Meditations, 1993
My gift is goofball writing. You’re welcome.
Speaking of giving it away, if you have a friend who might enjoy my random brain droppings, please share a link to dubbatrubba.com with them. Thanks.
According to my WordPress dashboard, this is Post #677. I’ve still got a long way to go to get to the 10,000 hours that Malcolm Gladwell cites as the benchmark for mastery of a craft. My “gift” is a work in progress.
But I’ll keep working. And I’ll keep giving it away.
A few weekends ago, I created what many would consider a very crappy website. But I don’t think it’s crappy — I think it’s scrappy.
I’m a big fan of Seth Godin, and one of his key tenets is “ship your work.” In other words, you have to put your product out there, you can’t keep it hidden, or keep noodling it to death, wishing and praying that it’ll become perfect at some undefined, future time.
It’s scary, it’s intimidating, because you’re essentially signing your name to something that is rough, raw, unhoned. You’re saying “here, I made this” and opening yourself up to the slings and arrows of other people’s evaluation… and even criticism.
Here’s a recent blog post of Seth’s where he talks about “scrappy” vs. “crappy”:
The only choice is to launch before you’re ready. Before it’s perfect. Before it’s 100% proven to be no risk to you. At that moment, your resistance says, “don’t ship it, it’s crappy stuff. We don’t ship crap.” And it’s true that you shouldn’t ship work that’s hurried, sloppy or ungenerous. But what’s actually on offer is something scrappy. Scrappy means that while it’s unpolished, it’s better than good enough. Scrappy doesn’t care about cosmetics as much as it cares about impact. Scrappy is flexible and resilient and ready to learn. Ship scrappy.
Ship scrappy is exactly what I did. I’m a big fan of music (no shock to my handful of faithful readers), and I wanted a site where I could consolidate all my music musings:
blog posts about live shows, bands, the music business
episodes my semi-monthly podcast about my days at 97X, a ground-breaking indie rock station from 1983-2004 and online only through 2010
A weekly list of the concerts coming to the Cincinnati area, with my wacky (and sometimes snarky) commentary included. I used to send this out via email, but having it on a website makes it easier to edit and send, and more engaging (I hope) for the recipient.
Hence, 97Xbam.com was born in June, weighing in at 10 pounds of scrappy in a five-pound bag. Wondering where the name came from? Here’s the answer:
While I was putting the site together, I realized I could also add a few more features… a music video, a song from SoundCloud or a similar listening platform, indie rock headlines/news, a discussion board, a photo gallery of concert pix, even sound clips from my days at 97X.
I’m a writer, not a designer, so it ain’t pretty, but it’s pretty good. Huge tip o’ the hat to WordPress for making it so easy that even a caveman like me could do it. The domain name cost about $10, and hosting is about $100. A small price to pay for a scrappy little website. And I’ll keep working on it.
I’ll be posting most, if not all, of my music-related pieces on 97Xbam.com instead of posting them on this site. So if you don’t like my weird taste in music, you’ll enjoy NOT getting the occasional music post. But if you DO like music, you can also subscribe to 97Xbam.com via a link at the bottom of the page, and you’ll get an email anytime I post, typically 1-2 times a week.
It’s not perfect. But it’s scrappy. And that’s music to my ears.