A Dream About Lightning Bugs: A Life of Music and Cheap Lessons

I read a lot. But I rarely listen to audio books – mostly because my home and office are in the same neighborhood, and when I do travel in town, I’m usually on a scooter. Hardly an optimal environment for listening. Nevertheless, I walk a couple of miles each day, and I’ve started to take the time on some of these walks to listen to podcasts, and sometimes, a book.

My wife, Nanette, noted that Ben Folds, the musician and songwriter, has a new book out. I found the audio version on Scribd. And I was amazed. Anyone who knows even a little bit about Ben Folds knows that he is an exceptional piano player, a songwriter with a wonderfully weird sensibility, a guy who has always been wildly creative. But who knew this guy could write? Not only that: he narrates his book in this audio version, and I can’t imagine a better narrator.

In the course of reading the book, I discovered Ben and I have a few things in common. He moved a lot as a kid. (I had moved nearly a dozen times by the time I had graduated from high school.) He characterizes himself as a hard, obsessive worker who lacks discipline. (Check.) He says that as a child he subjected his parents and his brother to his obsessions – which turned out to be mostly related to piano and drums. (My obsessions and my main instruments were a bit different, but similarly intense: first animals, then science, art, and the guitar.)

I won’t spoil the rest of the story. If you’re a Ben Folds fan, a musician, a songwriter or a student of creativity and innovation, I highly recommend this book.