For example, I was captivated by “Street Poison,” Justin Gifford’s biography of Iceberg Slim, the influential pimp-turned-author. The book was widely reviewed by critics, and I could have joined in. Instead I became interested in writing a piece that examines the troubling glamorization of the pimp figure in movies, music, and television.
In addition to looking for fresh angles on cultural icons, I have embraced a multimedia life. I collaborate with a friend at the local NPR affiliate on a weekly film segment. I host the newspaper’s culture podcast, “Mixed Media.” I’m on Dallas’s NBC affiliate most Fridays talking about new movies. I curate and host a repertory film series in conjunction with the Dallas Film Society and I moderate an increasing number of author Q&A events.
I don’t write as many reviews as I once did. I have to pick my spots with more care. Yet I’m probably working harder than I ever have, and the excitement of the new keeps me energized.
My strategy has been to diversify and adapt. The rewards for thinking bigger have been substantial. I am more connected to my audience. I feel less than ever like some critical voice pontificating from on high. And I’m tapping an extroverted side I never knew I had.