Artistic what-ifs

It’s really easy to ask someone what they do for a living, and the typical response to such inquiries usually revolves around their job. Sometimes, and I emphasize sometimes, the response will have to do with something a person is passionate about (IE: I consider my writing how I make my living, while my day job is the way I afford said living). As I’ve said a million times before, and will continue saying forever: there’s a certain magic when a person talks about what really makes them tick; the thing they’re most passionate about doing in the whole of all creation.

However, I would argue that everyone also has at least one other passion, but one they’ve never gotten to pursue (or, perhaps, one they’ve not gotten to pursue to the extent they’d have liked). It may be something they talk about openly, with a sense of longing, or something that is quietly yearned for in those moments before sleep. I’ve talked about wanting to act before, so I figured I could offer a little more insight into myself. And, of course, I’d love to hear what you folks all wish you could get around to learning, doing, and so on.

If possible, and I realize there’s the small matter that everything is possible with the right amount of time, money, and patience (and other things, but that money one is what really kills me), I’d love to learn how to play the cello. I’d be very happy to really sit down and learn any instrument, really, which is one regret I have from not staying with my piano lessons. There’s something about cello music, though. I’m having a hell of a time really describing the feelings cello music cause me, so instead I’ll just share this:

I think the first time I heard that was on House, M.D., and I was hooked. There’s something inherently soothing, I think, to cello music, and so learning to play it would be like a nice, musical form of meditation. That all said, cellos are really goddamn expensive and, quite frankly, I have a hard enough time finding…well, time to accomplish all of the things I need to in a day without adding learning an instrument into the mix. Or perhaps those are just excuses.

What kind of other adventures do you folks dream of embarking on? Are they things you really can’t achieve, or are you, too, just making excuses?

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My pledge to no longer be bored

I think it’s safe to say that one of the most commonly heard phrases, especially in people around my age group and younger folks (You dern whipper-snappers and your selfie-sticks), is “I’m bored”. Earlier today, after having completed my tasks for the day and then-some, I found myself thinking exactly that. I’m bored.

Somewhere between stopping at the liquor store to purchase the other ingredients required to make a Blood & Sand–a decision I entirely support, especially after making one and enjoying it quite thoroughly–and contemplating dinner, it occurred to me just how awful saying “I’m bored” is given just how much I could be doing with my time. I’m not talking about endless writing or spending hours promoting things on social media, interspersed with the conversations I’ve grown famous/infamous/unknown for having. Louis C.K. said it better than I ever could, in fact, and so I found a convenient image on the internet with his words placed on it to share to make my point here.

louis-ck-im-bored-useless-world-endless

There’s a lot of fantastic truth in this quote, and it got me thinking even further. There is, at no point, really a good reason to be bored. I’m not going to preach about the miracle of consciousness. I think it’s more about finding the things that matter most in this sea of constant information and distractions.  Continue reading

A vexing night

This is going to be short, sweet, to the point, and a pretty healthy dose of “get your head out of your ass and move on already” for myself. That last bit’s kind of important, even if it’s a little selfish. It’s been a weird night of running into walls, struggling with inner demons, and other meaningful cliches for the headaches I associate with dwelling on the gap between where I’d like to be and where I presently feel I am.

Warning: There be some f-bombs a-lurkin’ in this here post.

I could easily put together a post on how many creative-types are weighed down by their own doubt, fear, self-loathing, and so much more (I came way too close to listing the various Sha there, and I’m not sorry to point that out). That’s very nearly what this would have been, but I couldn’t. It felt wrong and unpleasant. Plus it was the last thing I needed to read in the mood I’m in, and so I doubt it’s the sort of thing anyone else would want to read if they’re trying to muster up the energy to get back to work.

Here’s what I’d like this post to be instead. The instructions for myself and any other creative folks, or really anyone, who find themselves frustrated and feeling stuck.

Create. Don’t force it because it’ll only end in regret, but create as often and as passionately as possible. Build amazing, awe-inspiring worlds and populate them with characters both sympathetic and heroic as well as ones who are irredeemably loathsome. Let them move through lives that are only somewhat guided by the art you create and enjoy where things go. Don’t let the goddamn what-ifs and why-nots, the feelings of doubt and failure, all of the shit that makes creative types like myself into their own worst enemies. It accomplishes no good, and only results in nights spent after long days at work only thinking of the things you’ve not accomplished. What you haven’t done or where you think you should be. All of this instead of celebrating where you are and what you’ve accomplished.

I say this as someone who won a book contract, which should be a big deal for me as a writer. I’ve been so busy worrying about never managing to create something that big again and dwelling on how people will perceive my book being published not based on its merit but because of a contest victory.

Screw that.

There’s a reason the saying “Where there’s a will, there’s a way” has endured the test of time. My schedule may be a bit all over the place, and I may question my merit as a writer a good deal. I don’t have a five year plan or a ten year plan. Hell, I don’t even have a particularly well-assembled one year plan. While I recognize such things as long-term planning are crucial to being a successful artist, I’m pretty sure there’s more than one way to handle them.

Most importantly, and veering a little bit back from the rather self-centric post we have here, I hope any artist who finds this gets enough of a boost to keep going if that’s what they need at the time.

Going back to my post about almost being to Pumpkin Spice Season/Hot Apple Cider Season – I need to just focus on finding time to create, not worrying about the outcome. Far easier said than done, especially when every fiber of my being is saying to just go to sleep. What’s the point in busting my ass at a 9 to 5 if I’m not going to find time and energy to do what I love most (hint: I’m talking about writing).

So I end with a challenge to anyone who reads this. Create, with or without a plan, but with all of your heart and soul. Make something you think is awesome, even if upon editing you decide it’s not the best thing ever. At the end of the day, you’ve still made something new that wasn’t in the world before that point, and that’s pretty fucking rad.

One Hundred Days of Blogging – Day Seventeen

After three hours of driving, one of which spent entirely on the Parkway, I am happy to report I arrived in Carnegie quite safely. I have a glass of Wigle rye whiskey (distilled in Pittsburgh) at the ready, and I’m prepared for a weekend of relaxation with my family. What more could a guy ask for, right?

Before I forget, and on one hell of a tangent: I really enjoy Coke’s Share a Coke with campaign. I feel like Pepsi is totally missing an ad opportunity, though. How many of you would buy a Pepsi with the tagline “Buy your own Pepsi, (name)”? It’s just the right amount of snarky humor, and it’s a great jab at Coke. Or maybe I’m just being ridiculous.

Now that I’m a bit more relaxed after the chaos of last night, it’s time to get to talking about the exciting stuff. There’s something really intoxicating about talking to people on the topics they’re most passionate about. The way a person’s eyes light up, their speech becomes more animated, and so on. I’ve been told, for instance, I’m a totally different person when I’m talking about writing, and some gaming, because it’s what really gets me going.

So here’s to passion.
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