Being Creative

The Sweat. The longing you can’t tackle. The short highs and long lows, the triumph that feels like it might last is gone next day, the difficult and uncomfortable tellings of your life, the pain and anger, all these things take their turn, sometimes often, often rarely. This is our life, the life of the brave and daring.

My friend BD and I were born in the same week in the same hospital. We grew up together and share some of the same ambitions and shortcomings. Whenever we meet we have long animated discussions about our ambitions and shortcomings, and what we have recently learned about ourselves – our favourite topic of conversation. I’m going to keep putting one foot in front of the other until I reach the end of this branch, then I’m going to let my left foot take all my weight, now I’m putting out my right leg and stretching out my right arm straight and my face is creasing because I’m reaching out as far as I can for the good thought I’m trying to say. We have such high goals. The yawning gap between our ambitions, vague and distant, and THE RESULTS robs us of sleep at night, makes us feel uncomfortable in ourselves and, naturally, gets in the way of actually getting shit done and creating something beautiful.

Two ways around it. One – revise your m*therf*cking ambitions. Ambitions are not things that can be achieved. Goals are things that can be achieved. Ambitions are longings, like urges. Long term urges. They are vague and unspecific and if you are putting off being happy until you achieve your ambitions you are being very hard on yourself. It is difficult to know just when you’ve achieved an ambition. Its confusing, like driving past a road sign that said ‘Ambition – One Mile’, cheering, you’re almost there, then a minute passes, then two, and what has happened? you are on the right road but have gone past it? missed it? don’t understand. Ambitions don’t make sense. Goals make sense. You achieve a goal, move on to the next one. ‘My ambition is to be famous’ – but the ‘being’ part of ‘being famous’ is ‘being’ famous to other people. Can you remember when you became famous? No I can’t. What did it feel like after you became famous? It was weird. I had reached a point in my career where I was now famous but instead of feeling a sense of achievement I felt a bit empty and strange. I asked myself ‘Is this it?’ It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

Two – get on with it. Edit. Get a stone and carve, you’ll work out what it is when its carved. Write ten songs and two you’ll remember. One you’ll want to play again. Sit at the computer and pour out words, nonsense and anger at first. Start a blog, which in theory could be read by somebody, so you’ll have to try and write something good, but its healthy to not care about what other people think. Once its written its up there, and the more honest, straightforward, simple and funny the writing was the easier it will be to not care and the more you will smile and the less sensitive you will be and the more you will laugh at yourself and the greater time you will have. Your art is not you but just something that you happened to make. The thing that you made yesterday or an hour ago, you can view it and laugh about it as if it were something that you made as a child. Don’t stop. In the factory, don’t move the quality control from the end of the production line and place it at the beginning. Let thoughts of ‘is this good’ or ‘is this bad’ not impinge upon the setting down of your idea. Come back to it the next day or next week when the answer will appear as soon as your eye meets the page.

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