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I like your thinking Sharon. I feel that there is always a tension between who we feel we are and who other people think we are, tempered by how we have promoted ourselves. Having reinvented myself in my career several times, I worked at becoming known as the guy who "." which then pigeonholed me and made it somewhat difficult to gain credibility as the next 'me'. There is also a challenge between building up a following, who eventually become a real or imagined demanding following that you feel responsible for. When I was studying music, it was drummed in that you have to be 'that guy'. If people see your name they need to know what lane you are in and if they hear you, you want instant recognition. You can't be the jazz guy and the country/Americana guy, unless you are prepared to start again almost from scratch. Not a major if the creation is what you get the most pleasure out of, but it is a problem if you also want it to be your livelihood. I remember one of the leading lights of ASCAP decrying self-indulgent song-writers. He wasn't criticizing them specifically, but he was from the perspective of being able to make a healthy musician plying that trade. I remember thinking in his workshop, "Oh shit is that me?" Then I thought, that is also Bob Dylan. Then I remembered how much I hated going to a Dylan show, when he played all his usual songs, but they were now reggae, and I didn't like it. He disenfranchised me and many of his loyal fans, and found that he had to go back to his roots if he wanted to keep making a living.

Bottom line, if you can afford it, do 'you', and when you feel you have changed, do that 'you'.

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Aug 24, 2023·edited Aug 24, 2023Author

Ohhh how I recognise a *lot* of what you say, Luigi! Yes, the tension is very real—as are the credibility issues for anyone who keeps growing, evolving, reinventing himself/herself, and the (real or perceived) 'demands' of people who liked what you did at some point and would rather see you continue doing *that* forever (even if that might be nothing less than soul crushing to you). It can be quite the struggle, I know! ;-) Been there a number of times.

Understandable as it is that people like what they like and would prefer those whose work they admire to never change, staying in a box is a huge enemy of growth, development, expansion, inspiration and genuine creativity. It goes against the most basic "laws" of nature, really... I have never been able to fit myself neatly into just 1 box for any significant amount of time. And every time I tried to, I did a big injustice to myself and paid a high price for it health wise.

I'd love to live in a world where you *can* be the jazz guy and the country/Americana guy, plus anything else you feel like being. What a wonderful place of genuine creativity and soul-expression that would be, eh?

I can always relate more, on the personal level, to artists/creators who keep evolving even if that means loosing fans/following. I may not like everything they do, but I surely appreciate the fact that they allow themselves to "go where their truest part takes them". But your Bob Dylan passage sure did make me laugh out loud! So... may I ask: did you find a way to reconcile creation/pleasure and livelihood, or did you have to cut off part of your genuine wings?

Cheers to your bottom line! I've done me even when I couldn't afford it... which has been hard, but worth the hardships. Superfluous to say I've never been good at building a huge following ;-) But it's all good; I'm still here, still doing what I feel like doing and thriving at being the eternal odd one out ;-)

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I think we're on the same page, Sharon :)

As to your question, I have found ways to evolve, and transfer the lessons and skills I have learned in one persona and adapt them to the next. It was often hard, but there was always a consistent thread in that I love to be at the b/leading edge of technology as an evangelist who likes to help people work smarter rather than harder, and was able to reinvent myself, largely by having a great network, but there were times when I was overlooked for opportunities I really wanted because I was seen as the *.* guy.

Musically I never held true to a genre, which also meant that I was never going to be famous, but it has been a lot of fun, and like writing, it's the creation I get the most out of. I love performing and public speaking, but I could not be the person who plays the same songs over again, or delivers the same life story TED Talk hundreds of times.

I do take my hat off to people who can spend their life, enjoying being in the one channel and developing a superpower in one area of expertise. We need people like that too. I just wouldn't want to be one myself :D

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Glad to read you have managed to make things work in the livelihood area and have had a lot of fun creatively!

I definitely agree on the creation / creative process being the part you get the most out of and not being the type of person to keep doing the same thing(s) over and over again; ditto.

True, we need people of the other kind as well. I'm just really glad I didn't come with that type of software built into my system ;-)

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