Fighting inertia

We take risks, do the unpredictable, anything to keep the supposed simulation of world guessing. / Fighting inertia #amwriting

Stock phrases, a detailed script, a prescription for exactitude. Imagine how boring life would be if you already knew its outcome.

It’s the routine that subverts our days into yesterday’s form, responding to emails in our head. Sameness destroys creativity.

How can we fight inertia?

We take risks, do the unpredictable, anything to keep the supposed simulation of world guessing.

En medias res, we ensure that we’re performing in the middle of becoming.

art via giphy

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Collecting references

Without knowledge, it's hard to be curious. We need reference points to make connections and inspire deeper thinking.

Without knowledge, it's hard to be curious. We need reference points to make connections and inspire deeper thinking. 

Give a teenager a car and a detailed Google Map, but unless they've got some training, they are going to increase the likelihood of an accident.

Give a kid some crayons and some looseleaf paper, but without any guidance on how to draw, the results will be comically abysmal. 

Experience puts the bones in the goose. It is only then can we teach ourselves to be safer and more creative. 

A guide to art

Art is the ability to get lost and navigate by the gut.

Art is teachable but its answers require no education at all.

Art is the act of perpetual innovation.

Art is expression on canvass, a business product, a speech, and countless other remarkable creations.

Art is controlled randomness, a collection of disparate things.

Art is a messy mastery of movement and environment.

Art is fun, a playful and professional act.

Art is a wave of endless inspiration.

Art is both free and commercial.

Art is deliberate work, sweat and tears. Failure to acceptance is a long process.

Art is ultimately undefinable. But when you see it, you know it.

gif via

Creativity is a game of inches

It comes as no surprise that bad work begets good work — the more you create, the more you have to play with.

People mistakenly believe that successful artists excelled all along. But what you see as the viewer is mostly the result of trial and error.

What I enjoy about the internet is that you can show your work. Anyone can put their art out into the world and get immediate feedback, even if the latter is crickets. Dead silence may inspire you to be more expressive, in some cases, intensely provocative.

“It is a joy to be hidden, and a disaster not to be found.”– D.W. Winnicott

It takes a lot of time and a ton of practice to recreate what you consider good taste. It also takes a lot of courage to be one of the crazy ones trying something new. But the artist can't combat convention until they master the basics first.

From emulation to originality, the entire creative process seems to happen slowly and shimmers when it thinks you're ready. Until then, cultivating talent is a game of inches.

Leonardo’s strange faces

Leonardo da Vinci made ugly beautiful, an approach Francis Bacon did well to mimic nearly five hundred years later.
Leonardo da Vinci made ugly beautiful, an approach Francis Bacon did well to mimic nearly five hundred years later.
Leonardo da Vinci made ugly beautiful, an approach Francis Bacon did well to mimic nearly five hundred years later.
Leonardo da Vinci made ugly beautiful, an approach Francis Bacon did well to mimic nearly five hundred years later.

There's an excellent piece in the NY Times about Leonardo Da Vinci's obsession with drawing weird faces:

Leonardo was a true Renaissance man, fascinated with everything — the mechanics of flight, architecture, engineering, botany, artillery and human anatomy — but one of his favorite private pastimes was to draw faces, either as scribbles in the margins of his notebooks or as fully conceived sketches later used for paintings.

Leonardo da Vinci made ugly beautiful, an approach Francis Bacon did well to mimic nearly five hundred years later.

A little bit louder now

Provocation is neither about engagement nor expression — it’s about likes and shares.

The lightning rod on Twitter will always outshine the passive inspirer, hiding from the market.

But it is the quality of interactions that deliver the message. Neither the loud nor the faint succeeds.

Speak softly and carry a big stick.

Creativity is a fancy version of productivity

People confuse busyness with productivity. Answering emails all day is mostly a waste of time, as is instant messaging co-workers. Doing something — typing into little boxes all day — fulfills the human desire to feel useful.

Similarly, people often perceive what artists do is an unnecessary use of time. But creativity is a fancy version of productivity.

When it comes to painting, songwriting, and any other artistic vocations, nothing gets wasted. Scraps and shitty rough drafts lead to the best answer.

Sensible work gets us paid. Yet, when we photograph everything, we look at nothing. Without propelling the imagination and putting work on the canvass, we are just waiting for the next rebound under the basketball hoop rather than looking how to score.

The only reassurance you need

We treat fame and social media status like currency. We presuppose that anonymity or a lack of engagement trivializes what we do.

Even worse, we let TV and Instagram determine our self-worth.

But what and who matters is rarely popular. No one wants to pull back the curtain and see the sweat and tears of a Van Gogh, who toiled in obscurity his entire living life. He never knew publicity.

Even if you've achieved some level of recognition, what you consider your best work will almost always contrast with the public perception.

At the end of the day, humans want to feel necessary. They want to commit themselves to a worthy discipline, whether's it's expressed through art or driving an Uber to support the art or vice versa.

It's a canard to think that fame predetermines whether your matter or not. The most important things in your life are provided by the most anonymous people.

Fame is fake stimuli. If you feel like your work matters, that's the only placebo you need.

Give it time to simmer

Nothing ever gets wasted. It just needs time to ‘simmer.'

Gather everything you need to know, facts and crazy ideas, and then let them have sex while you do other stuff, even procrastinating.

Revelations follow not when you're always on but when you let the unconscious mind go to work. Being overly wake, in other words, spurns the lucidity of ideas.

Don't force it.

Wanting discovery and getting it is a process of patience. The rest of the time begs for play.

“The physical universe is basically playful. There is no necessity for it whatsoever. It isn’t going anywhere. It doesn’t have a destination that it ought to arrive at. But it is best understood by its analogy to music. Because music as an art form is essentially playful. We say you play the piano, you don’t work the piano.” Alan Watts

gif by David Koblesky

Open to detours

Open to detours, fixated on the wrath of curiosity. The single-minded goal-setter scrounges for practice.

In theory, doggedness is the least path of resistance. Like a magnet, we're drawn to specialized learning.

But we can't afford to put the right brain to sleep. Quiescent, it too begs to act.

The creative compulsion knows no boundaries. It explodes in those non-cash working hours, when you're raging with inspiration.

Like making music, the notion of work and play intertwine.

“The physical universe is basically playful. There is no necessity for it whatsoever. It isn’t going anywhere. It doesn’t have a destination that it ought to arrive at. But it is best understood by its analogy to music. Because music as an art form is essentially playful. We say you play the piano, you don’t work the piano.”

Alan Watts

We're programmed to be ourselves, following the siren song of our vocation. Fight our calling, and we'll lose. There will be no such luck.

Voice acting with Tara Strong

Tara Strong is a voice actor for cartoons like “The Powerpuff Girls,” “Rugrats” and “The Fairly OddParents.” In this video, she talks about her process in coming up with the character voices for babies, villains, and teens.

It's absolutely fascinating how she can convert the director's body language into actionable sounds such as a character tumbling off a cliff or fighting bad guys. Cool nugget: she uses her own original voice as the voice of Batgirl.

What a talent!