Thursday, July 31, 2008

Who are you and what are you doing?

I will not remember where I heard this so I apologize in advance for stealing this story without attribution.

Once upon a time in Czarist Russia, a Rabbi was out walking when he was ordered to stop by a young soldier who shouted, "Who are you and what are you doing?" The Rabbi looked to the young and without hesitation asked in return, "How much is the Czar paying you today?" Startled, the young man answered, "In return for guarding the city this day I will receive 20 rubles." Then the Rabbi said, "Young man, I will pay you 40 rubles each day if you will stop and me your questions again, Who are you and what are you doing?"

I was thinking about this today in connection with two rather disparate ideas. 1) In working to market myself, my performances and the rest of my professional work it has become very clear a fundamental starting point is a clear answer to the question, "Who are you?" Far too often the quest for language to describe myself and my work has been absolutely paralyzing. Right now I am working though Ariane Goodwin's book Writing the Artist's Statement in order to refine the language I use to explain the contributions I intend to offer the world. 2) I have been using Twitter for several weeks. In my brief time using the service I have enjoyed connecting with people around the globe who share some common interests with me. The interesting thing to me is that the basic premise of Twitter is one of the same questions from the Rabbi's story--"What are you doing?" While there can be a lot drivel that spews forth from this and other social media, an earnest accounting of how I am investing this moment remains a most valuable exercise.

So today as I rush from task to task, these two questions are still worth at least 40 rubles each day.

1 comment:

Piano Trends Music said...

Very interesting as I too am new to the world of Twitter and I have noticed the same results and attitudes. It is making the world much smaller and that I believe is a good thing. Tim oa