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Tue, May. 29th, 2007, 10:51 am
Mingering Mike

We all dream about being famous for what we love, right? This guy, Mingering Mike, took it a step further than most people. He made (according to his website) over fifty soul records in the sixties and seventies.

No, I don’t mean he recorded them. I mean he made them out of cardboard. He drew on the labels, made covers for his albums, and even came up with names for his own record labels. He did everything, as far as I can tell, short of actually writing and recording music to go on them! As someone who loves what she does, but who also craves the paraphernalia of adulation, it’s hard not to appreciate a guy who goes out and creates that latter bit for himself.

It’s an interesting line, between being creative for its own sake, and being creative for the rewards it can bring. (Some people want money. Me, I’m an appreciation junkie, so I’d rather have fame than cash.) I’ve found that when I design or write or tell stories with the aim of success, it’s much harder than when I do so with the aim of, well, just doing so. Process, not product, has become my mantra! And yet if you’re entirely focused on the process, it’s hard to actually complete anything. So I kind of love it that this guy has given himself a fix of the accomplishment half of the equation.

But then again, he didn’t end up making any records - and I wonder if he didn’t really want to make real records, or couldn’t, or if the fake records were really what he wanted, or whether taking the edge off his desire was enough to stop him from continuing with it. I was thinking about designing some adulatory objects for myself … but I don’t want to do that if it’s going to interfere with my getting those things in real life!

One of the things I’m doing this summer is getting deep into the research on creativity, so I may have to revisit Mingering Mike once I’ve got a better handle on what’s out there.