I read Tim Wu’s In Praise of Mediocrity a few weeks ago and I can’t stop thinking about it. The entire article is worth a read but this paragraph is what has stuck with me.
“If you’re a jogger, it is no longer enough to cruise around the block; you’re training for the next marathon. If you’re a painter, you are no longer passing a pleasant afternoon, just you, your watercolors and your water lilies; you are trying to land a gallery show or at least garner a respectable social media following. When your identity is linked to your hobby — you’re a yogi, a surfer, a rock climber — you’d better be good at it, or else who are you?”
Of course I have thought about this idea as it relates to the girls and their extra-curricular activities but the fear of mediocrity extends to me as a reader as well.
Sometimes it is easy to think, “Gone are the days when you read a book and maybe talk about it with a few friends over coffee. If you are a reader, you are certainly in a book club. And often you are in a real life book club and a hand full of virtual groups as well.” Or, “As a reader, when you finish a book, it’s not enough to sit back and think about how you felt about the ending. For many, the end of the book means that it’s time to post an image on Instagram and a review on Facebook.”
As I think about what is next for me as the girls get older, I always consider how to extend my love of books and reading into something more professional. Ironically, as I consider the power of being a mediocre hobbyist, I plan to write and share more about books in an organized and thoughtful way. Where is the balance I wonder between doing something purely for enjoyment and then extending the love of that thing to others in a professional way?
I will be playing with these ideas in this space over the next few weeks. I believe it is still possible to be a reader simply for the fun of it and I can’t wait to find some new readers to bring on this journey with me. Stay tuned for more details….