Sometimes it feels like gloppy-oatmeal is saturating my brain. And that’s because I too often try to take over the world.
And by taking over the world, I don’t necessarily mean starting up my own green NGO on climate-control or spearheading the latest-and-greatest method of education reform. But it does mean that in my own, minuscule universe (with my gloppy brain) that I become too eager to be THERE when I am just HERE.
Let me explain.
First to preface: even though I am coming from my point of view (as performer and choreographer), you can insert any other passion or career path into this post — musician, carpenter, pharmacist, snake milker.
So anyway, for me as a performer and choreographer, I dream of being THERE – meaning I want to create really awesome stuff that I feel proud of and for creativity to erupt in a massive volcano of amazingness.
But that’s the thing – right now all of that is kind of in my head. I make stuff happen now, but it doesn’t always translate into what I envisioned or I feel like the process just goes haywire halfway through, thus becoming more damage control than an actual work of art.
To me it’s like when you decide to conquer an 1000 piece fruit-bowl puzzle. You’re feeling pretty stoked because all the red apple pieces are connected. But low-and-behold you get super flustered because you can’t distinguish between the green apple pieces from the pear pieces because they have the same color palette.
So it’s a lot of trial and error because you’re trying to figure out which piece is for the pear and which is for the green apple.
And that’s where I’m at. I’m here.
But I don’t want to be here. I want to be there.
I think of the possibility of all these ideas to transform into reality and it’s like, “Whoa, how do I make this all happen?”
In my highly unscientific analysis, I think the process kinda goes like this:
1) Begin the envisioning process of what you want to become. Then, start to verbalize it so that it become something concrete (which is harder than it seems). Start with little steps.
2) Get educated and begin the learning process
3) At that point you think, “This is great, now I’m learning, but it feels like all this knowledge is still way up there in the clouds.” So then you have to start grabbing at that knowledge to come down into the brain so it can start being translated through your own process.
4) Then you start making stuff. A lot of stuff.
And when you make stuff for a while it’s like, “Ohhh…curses.” Because at first, you feel like it just – SUCKS.
Leave it to Ira Glass to give a magnificent pep talk.
What he’s saying is really, really affirming because:
1) he’s telling me I’m not crazy (which I may or may not believe) because he went through the same thing
2) he says to just keep going because eventually things turn around
3) when things turn around, you realize that what you make gets to be as good as your ambitions.
So pretty much he’s saying that I have to be HERE right now. It’s not until I decide to actually go through that trial and error period that the great mystery of the green puzzle pieces will be uncovered and the apple will be in its place and the pear will be in its place.
The late-great jazz pianist Bill Evans gave invaluable advice on the creative process. He says something in the middle of the interview that’s really profound — that when you’re in that middle, gucky, gooey stage, you can actually enjoy it – the guck and the goo can actually be enlightening!
“Most people…don’t realize the immensity of the problem and either because they can’t conquer immediately, think they don’t have the ability or because they’re so impatient to conquer it that they don’t see it through. But if you do understand the problem, then you can enjoy your whole trip.”
So Ira Glass is telling me I’m not crazy and Bill Evans is telling me that I can enjoy not being crazy.
This is the best. day. ever.
Thanks to Ira & Bill, I’m gonna try and enjoy the gloppy goo and guck.