I spent this Sunday morning listening to a fair amount of Peter, Paul and Mary, Bob Dylan and a few other more obscure artists who moved and continue to move an entire generation. The first thought I had was “how sad that they will never be able to create another PP&M song.” The second thought I had and tweeted out was, “I wonder what 20-something know-it-all sh*t will become the voice of this generation in 40 years.”
But in reflection, I think the hardest thing ever for an artist is to know when it is time to stop creating and begin to start passing the torch. We’ve all seen the athlete who has had a stellar career and just can’t believe his career is over. Just one more season, he begs as he spirals into a late-night talk show joke instead of as a revered elder of the sport.
Fame is intoxicating; money is even worse. Our culture rewards those who talk more than it does those who support and listen. It must take an incredible amount of courage to recognize when your voice is no longer the most important in the room, that you have said all that you need to say and that it is someone else’s turn to be heard.