Open Season

Writing Set Up

Travel is bad for art. Wine is bad for art. Staying up late is bad for art.

What my art needs is a plastic chair and a uniform schedule.

My dream is to turn my hobbies into professional pursuits, which has the dual effect of 1) earning money and 2) spending more time doing what I enjoy and less time “working”. It’s a snowy peak I’m aiming for. But other creators have made it – they’re busy making it this very minute – and all I have to do is follow their boot prints.

The good new for regular guys like me is, whatever your wildest dream is, somebody’s already achieved it.

Billionaire? Civil Rights Giant? Lead Vocalist? Restaurant Owner?

Oh baby it’s all been done a million times. You just have to find the right blueprint is all.

You just have to bounce around a few different cities, a few different careers, and a few different relationships first. You have to watch the first third of your life slide by. Or however long it is, to realize that nobody’s gonna bring the holy grail to your doorstep. Nobody’s gonna push your ass up the ladder because nobody feels bad for you.

It’s not that we’re jerks, we’re just too busy feeling bad for ourselves.

When you realize that it’s all your fault, then magically the prison door falls off it’s hinges. Now you can take your blueprint and spread it across the table like a treasure map. Draw a line from A to B and walk it like a mile-high tightrope. You owe it to the kid you used to be.

Pseudocide

Darwin CBD Sunrise

Ken Kesey committed pseudocide after being sentenced to prison for the possession of marijuana. He left a suicide note in his truck, parked it at the edge of a cliff in California, and took off with his friends to Mexico.

Huck Finn also committed pseudocide. He wanted to get away from his alcoholic father and go on adventures. There’s a brilliant scene where Huck and Tom hide in the rafters of the funeral home during Huck’s funeral. That scene made an impression on me as a kid. (What will they say about me when I’m gone?)

A pseudocode is a little death, and death is good for us in small doses.

The pressures of life expand like steam in a chamber and they need to be released or else. And sometimes man, a two week vacation just doesn’t cut it. Sometimes a vacation is a torturous little tease. The first dagger is a dreary life, but the second dagger is gazing into the future and realizing that nothing’s likely to change.

The doctor tries to patch you with pills, but really what you need is a micro dose of death and rebirth.

For some it’s a breakup or a divorce. For some it’s a new job, a new town. A psychedelic trip or a road trip. Quitting the habit you never thought you could quit.

These things feel like death. But now you’re reborn, and what will you call yourself? Maybe you’ll leave your iPhone in the drawer for a week and who cares? Time is on your side. The rainy days are even lovelier than the sunny ones. You suddenly realize that time travel is a waste. Because the men in black flashed a red light in your face and erased the past. People still warn you about tomorrow and her army of troubles, but you take it all with a grain of salt, because anyone who purports to read the future is a liar.

You’re like Huck Finn in the rafters, or Ken Kesey crossing the Mexico border. You’ve got $5 in your pocket, a sunburn on your neck, and a backpack full of apples. Once your soul is weightless, then baby you can really fly.

How to Fight Fear: Monday, June 29th

There’s only so much you can say about writing. I feel silly talking on and on about it. There’s only one rule when it comes to the game of writing – one rule, one revelation, one credo – which is, to get better you have to keep writing. Write every day. A little bit more and a little bit more.

It’s not complicated. Like all profound truths it’s shockingly simple. But “simple” does not equate to “easy”.

When talking about artists and creatives, I often hear this topic brought up:

People are afraid to make the big leap toward being an artist because the waterfall rush of fear and insecurity is so goddamn overpowering. The roar of doubt is deafening. Right when you’re about to begin a project, (write the first word, record the first video, sing the first note) – that’s when the doubt hits you like a wrecking ball. And then you start to back-pedal:

“What if I give it my all and I still fail… what then?”

“What if people laugh at me?”

“There are so many experts out there, how can I ever hope to compete?”

“I don’t have time for this. I need to buckle down and provide for my family.”

There is no easy response to these fears. If you finally do come out of the closet and call yourself an artist, you’ll have to grow some tough skin. Your friends won’t understand. You’ll make new friends who do understand. Even you won’t understand. The risk is greater than it was before, the risk of failure hangs over your head. Therefore the potential reward is infinitely greater. You’ve created a thrilling twist in the plot scheme of your life. Now people are watching, interested, glued to their seats, awaiting the outcome.

Your excuses are lame. Every excuse you can make has already been overcome by somebody in your exact same position. The choice is yours and yours alone. That’s the brilliant and equally scary part about all of this.

I know it sounds a little “out there”.

Writing for me is a daily exercise in pushing myself “out there,” instead of remaining down here in my comfy, insulated little world.

I’m the worst of all offenders and doubters and procrastinators. The only reason to keep these writing blogs going is to keep trying to talk some sense into myself.

But I believe with my whole heart that YOU are powerful and beautiful and limitless. I believe that I am too. That’s what we have in common. And we have to keep creating. Really there is no other option. There is only the next day, the next project, the next step forward. There is only right now and what you choose to do with it.

I Salute You: Monday, June 15th

To all the artists and creators out there, I salute you.

Monday is upon us, but it won’t overwhelm us. If we can kick Monday in the ass, then we’ll roll into Tuesday with hurricane momentum. Wednesday’s troubles will step nervously aside, and by the weekend we’ll be surfing on the magic carpet. 

Behind all of the daily distractions, your mermaid is still singing sweetly in the blue lagoon. All this time she’s never stopped.

Popeye knew that Spinach worked for him, and he always kept an extra can nearby. 

When you make something, it is no longer yours. Give your gifts to the universe and be happy. All you can do now is start the next one.

Diamonds, Fireflies, Turquoise Amulets, Antique Treasure Chest Keys, Seahorse Pendants, Earrings, Sparrows, Pine Cones and Pearls all lie hidden in the sidewalk cracks where nobody thinks to look but you.

Be true to you. Remember the face that you had before you were born.

Gratitude is the highest form of power. Fear, Insecurity, Anger, and Complacency all lay down their swords at the sight of Sir Gratitude.

The kid in you has unfinished business; you do your work because that kid is still deserving.

The only way to judge the success of a piece of art is, “did the artist finish it, or leave it unfinished?” A success is a finished work, and builds momentum going into the next.

If your current situation sucks, be glad. All superheroes are born out of troubled beginnings. If your current situation is cake, maybe try and create some trouble for yourself.

When you do your art, have as much fun as Harry Potter playing Quidditch for the first time. As Clark Kent when he learns to fly. As a dog chasing a tennis ball, or a baby turning the handle on a jack-in-the-box. Have as much fun as the big blue Genie in Aladdin. Put on your wolf hat like that little boy in “Where the Wild Things Are” and go nuts.

And don’t forget to write about it. Or whatever it is that you do.