I finished listening to a book yesterday. It was Charles Bukowski’s Ham On Rye. I hated the ending. The book itself felt real to me. Real experientially, it was like I had been there. I had a life like that, I had gone through some of those same things; that kind of real. It takes place before World War II. It is a vulgar book, I couldn’t suggest my wife read it, she wouldn’t like it. That is the thing, not all creative work, not all books, movies, blogs, people are meant for everyone.
There are things that are made for everyone and no one likes them.
Whatever resonates in us is bound to find a spot in someone else. Your creative work isn’t going to be for everyone. It should be for those who find a voice in your work. It is okay if the tribe you belong to is small and scattered. It is okay too if the voice that rings through your work sounds across most of humanity like a church bell, calling all to come and hear, and they do.
It is okay if you are “normal” and that is your story. It is okay if you are a misfit and you feel lost. It is okay if you are extraordinary and have this shit down. No one is on the same journey in life. No one has the exact same experience, but through our creative work, we build bonds that give us that and a way to move forward together. Through creative work, we get to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.
A quick thought:
What matters is your work starts on the inside. Being true to you is the first struggle. The second is being true to you in front of everyone else. The third is being true to you and sharing it with them. That third sharing has a condition: most people are going to be apathetic to the work, you will also be loved and hopefully hated. Hated not because it is cool, but because your work was good enough to make someone feel something. Freedom will come when you no longer consider others the judge of your work but the people who love to feel connected to you through your work.
*Love and hate speak to the quality of most creative work, humans are emotional creatures and that is the measure of most things.
This isn’t a test for what is coming next. This life isn’t a practice run. This life your, life is real, it is happening and it matters. It makes waves in the cosmos; like a boulder or a pebble it’s wake is to be felt by the rest of the ocean we are all a part of. We are not separate from our environment, we could not exist without it, it’s flowing through us. The air that fills our world fills our lungs, the dirt pulled from the soil to make vegetables, the water that covers its depths are all a part of us. Each experience is a gift and full of its own unique adversities, this is life.
We are unique expressions of an adventure waiting to happen. Every life a trial, a tragedy a triumph, and a comedy all depending on the point of view of the watcher and the character. To choose a creative life is to challenge what is, it is bravery to look at everyone else who has a common answer to life and its problems and to say, “Naw, I think and I will do it my way.” Creative expression isn’t always a rebellion but a determination to live.
The best thing you can do with your life is to fail being the best expression of you possible. To try and try again without pretense to be who you are. To chase your unique desires that ultimately serve the rest of us. Ego is going to step in and try to get you to do more. It is going to tell you you are not doing enough, people aren’t seeing you, they don’t appreciate you. Or it will go the opposite way and tell you to give up. It will stop you from chasing your desire. The mean little voice in your head will tell you, you are nobody. Fuck that voice. You are a wave in the ocean. You are a part of the great creative experience called humanity. Your life is part of that expression. Your aim if it is true isn’t to impress others but to express your part of our lives. You can choose to be a happy artist loving the day and the chance to create another day, or you can be a sad artist who feels forgotten and alone. The persona is nurtured and created on the inside first. Be the best version of yourself, in the end that is the thing that will leave the biggest wake.
New Year’s resolutions are upon us. I have a lot leftover from this year; I think I will just prioritize them. If you set some, don’t let your ego steal your happiness, choose goals that make you come alive.
The choice to live is a very interesting one. To do more than just exist, to do more than just make it another day, to do- is the choice to live.
This doing isn’t about what other people do mind you, it is doing what you choose to do. That in its ultimate form is moving beyond existing. There are people who play vital roles in our society and yet they do not feel alive. They feel like they are going through the motions. It isn’t even just the successful people; it’s everyone who lives their life according to someone else’s expectations. Some for better or worse live according to stereotypes. They pour their life into a mold and never make a decision from their heart. They live by being practical.
The world is a great big place full of interesting people and ideas. There are many things we can do with our time here. The hardest thing for most of us to do is break free and do the things we truly want to do. Nothing is really stopping most of us from having a dream and pursuing it.