About me, Joan Anderman. I wrote about music and culture for the Boston Globe from 1998 – 2010, when I traded my paycheck for an adventure. My writing has also appeared in the New York Times, Rolling Stone, the Boston Phoenix, and the Seattle Weekly. I’ve published a poem and won a couple of awards and live near Boston, but I’m still a California girl.
About Middle Mojo. This is a place to talk about creativity and aging. It’s an inquiry and an odyssey, and a chronicle of both. I want to understand what happens to creative artists over time and explore what happens when older people become creative.
(Disclaimer: I’m not here to celebrate the benefits of art class or dispense tips for getting in touch with your muse. These are virtuous pursuits. They’re just not mine.)
I’m setting out on a personal odyssey, to write songs. Songs are, in a weird way, my stock-in-trade. I’ve been a rock critic for most of my adult life, and I’ve been writing about songs, and thinking about that confluence of craft and magic, for ages. How do they do it? Can I do it, too? Does that sound naïve or arrogant or gimmicky? The truth is fairly simple: I love music and I want to make some. I’m also happy to test the notion that the young are uniquely qualified to embrace novelty and chase experience and make new things. Maybe I’ll be good at it. I may fail miserably. Either way, my aim is to document the process candidly and sincerely.
In the same spirit, I’m out to discover how the creative process changes over time. I’m talking to artists about their work and their lives and scientists about the aging brain and psychologists about development and behavior. I’m looking at the culture, how its values and attitudes shape an artist’s trajectory, and at the marketplace, where age is so commonly greeted with antipathy.
Middle Mojo plumbs a time of life, one that’s ripe and unsettling. For me it’s a straddling act: one foot planted in unfettered youth, the other poised to step into the abyss. The view is sweeping. Have a look.