Now. Right Now.

Now. Right Now.

I think there are ways you are supposed to do things, like post to your blog regularly and not erratically. Reasonable, right? I get it. But here’s what I’m gonna do, I’m gonna act like I might die any minute* and I don’t want regrets. So I’m going to publish a lot when I write a lot, and not when I don’t.

Why am I saying this? Sometimes I come back to the blog after an absence and find fully written posts that aren’t published. Why didn’t I get the ball over the finish line? Maybe because I thought it would be nice to parse things out. Well isn’t that sweet and thoughtful. No! It’s an excuse. It’s fear of running out. I probably thought I would publish when I had a second post written and ready to go. It’s a weird kind of creativity hoarding. Uncertain about future abundance, I hoard what I have in case I need it more later than now. That sounds positively ridiculous. As sunlight is to germs, consciousness is to bad ideas. I am glad I just discovered and named this stupid problem.

So dear reader, I want you to know I am a sporadic writer. Sometimes I have the time and sometimes I don’t. I hope that doesn’t bother you too much. I do plan to continue and I hope you enjoy what you’re reading. I am open to hearing suggestions. I write what I want to work out in my own mind but I am always thinking of you because I am writing for a reader. I want it to resonate, be engaging and hopefully creatively inspiring. I appreciate you and your time and I want to offer something worthy of it.

Now please go do something you really want to do. Right now!

*I know nothing about my mortality. No worries! It’s just an idea I use to motivate my actions.

Stains. What are they good for?

Stains. What are they good for?

I can’t think of any positive connotation for stain, can you? The word implies degradation, even ruination. Yet I hunt for these spoilers of the pristine. What’s the attraction?

For starters, I can’t add to perfection. If everything was unmarred, unsullied, untainted, unworn it would be like finding myself in a giant art studio with a huge canvas and no paint. There would be nothing to do. Boring!

So as the lowly maggot is to processing waste, I am to soiled pavement, an agent of transformation. Okay, not quite. My contributions are ephemeral and symbolic rather than transformative and pragmatically useful. Nevertheless, as I pass by the same stains week after week, I find that having spent time turning them into little characters I look forward to seeing them again. The stains become like neighbors, friendly ones I wave at rather than blemishes upon some vast field of unbroken conformity. The familiarity makes me feel I’m really here. Their specificity means I could be no where else.

To deeply notice a thing is to change your perception of it. To interact with it is to become intimate. To collaborate with it is to create a bond. That is why art is so transformative. It is like friendship but with a process rather than a person.

I can’t make the world a less blemished place but I can make the stains more fun.

Strike While the Iron is Hot

hand logo for word

It’s been in my head for quite some time to write a post with this title. Since I now have time to work on it, I am wondering just what it was I was wanted to say. Looks like I Waited Until the Iron Got Cold. Ha! Serves me right for not taking my own advice. Oh well, failure is just as illustrative as success. I shall carry on.

Okay, now that I have pondered it a bit, I can see that a lot of my ideas start with a word or phrase, something meaningful I can riff on. For example, a few years ago I was walking around an abandoned home in the desert of 29 Palms ruminating about how everything eventually goes out of existence when I thought, I should make a video called Extinct. Since I had a video camera with me, I filmed for about an hour, edited soon thereafter and now I have a short film on vimeo and youtube called Extinct.

As I look at my creative output, I can see that the things I have accomplished are the things I acted on very quickly after having the idea. Thinking about projects is never a good omen for me. Leaping before looking works best creatively.

I am wondering what allows me to act impulsively, in a creative sense, and what throws up a road block.

Time is number one. I have to have at least a little of it. It’s hard to make that first move when work needs to come first. But if I have already made that first move, I can often fit the second, third, and fourth moves into the little crannies of space that open up throughout the day. I love when that happens. So why doesn’t it happen more? Because most of the heavy lifting does need time. Not a smidge or dab but a swath, some substantial amount to maneuver in. Magic doesn’t happen while multitasking.

Next is definition. To do something I have to know what I am doing. To create a video I need to shoot footage, edit footage, edit some more then post it. I’ve done it enough times to know what the process is and to keep going. But if the parameters change, indecision can paralyze the whole project. I think this is where I get stuck the most. For instance, I have finished a video, a piece I worked on for years and now it sits in a password protected vimeo site doing nothing. What’s the point of that? I want to share it but I told some people I was going to submit it to festivals first. So I have to figure out which festivals and how much money I want to spend applying, blah, blah, blah. Why do I have to submit it to festivals anyway? I really don’t know. Because it means I am serious? Am I serious? Are festivals serious?  Which festivals are serious? Trying to answer that question leads me to asking what the purpose is, an existential quagmire that never leads to anything except a bad mood. I guess to know what I am doing it helps to have a handy why. And when I can’t find one, I stop moving forward.

That leads to the third obstacle, fear. Fear is imagining a bad outcome. I have a giant project that I got very hopped up about and did a ton of work on and then just up and quit. I didn’t even do myself the curtsey of telling myself I quit. But what else do you call it when you have done nothing in 2 years? In this case I did strike while the iron was hot. I struck a lot. But I didn’t Finish Before it Turns to Rust.

However, and this is a BIG HOWEVER, as in the whole point of the title, because I at least started that project, I could, if I wanted to, pick it back up. Once something comes into existence, however neglected and ill tended, it can be brought back to health and possibly grow to maturity. But if it never even exists, well, it never even exists. It won’t even get to go extinct. I did myself the service of starting a blog post with this title 8 months ago. There wasn’t much there but there was something. There were this sentence:

After years of evidence showing me which ideas went from attraction to intercourse to baby and which ones miscarried and which one never even kissed, I can conclude that for myself, if I don’t get to it right away, I am not going to get to it at all.

The password protected video I mentioned above has now been submitted to several festivals. In fact I interrupted the writing of this to finish that task as it was causing me too much cognitive dissonance not too – thank you blogging.