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.