Gertrude Stein said about Ezra Pound that “He is a village explainer. Which is fine, if you’re a village.”
I, too, am a Village Explainer. I got it from my father. I rediscovered this last night when I found myself giving the 15 minute history of 19th Century American Religious Movements to someone and thought “Why am I doing this? How do I know this?”
My uncle Richard told me once that it’s a miracle that I escaped the academic world. He should know; he spent a career in a love/hate relationship with being an art professor.
But it’s true. If I could spend an entire life learning things in detail and then explaining them to other people, I’d be happy. I just hated academia because it was too much learning about things I didn’t care about and then explaining them to people who had no interest, which is a lifeless task. If my spiritual life wasn’t such a minefield, I might have become a pastor. If it paid at all, I might have become a computer trainer.
So by default I’ve found my true calling. I’m a dilettante, amateur, flâneur, habitué de café, freelance village explainer. Maybe this is a decent way to grow old.