Well my friend, it’s time to chomp right into another deep dive…
But first, I just want to give a more emotional update, if that’s alright with ya. I know I’ve talked about this before, but the release phase of music-making can really get me all tangled up.
And I’m already feeling a bit knotty (if also fully exuberant) about this upcoming release. I just want so badly for my work to move others, and to mean something to the people who receive it.
It holds my whole heart and soul and all of my best thoughts and intentions. And I want for my listeners to take it in their arms like the tiniest baby deer and just brush it gently on the head and cherish it forever.
Dramatic, perhaps…and also a fully accurate description of how I feel. Haha.
But the truth is that while these matters can gloom me all up on the back end of my work…they couldn’t make less of a difference to what happens up front.
I don’t make things because I expect people to find meaning in them. Rather, making things feels inevitable. What else would I do but make art that moves me? What else would I do but wrestle all of my equal-parts-angst-and-daydreams into a gorgeous sonic snow globe?
And that brings me to the focus of this particular deep dive…
Last month’s “Artifice” guests had some especially lovely words on the subject of creative impetus.
Drew gave a simple if impactful reminder that people are intrinsically motivated by what brings them joy—and will naturally follow those most-joyful paths. Maybe this seems obvious, but especially in the context of comparison (an all-too-common minefield for artists), it’s valuable to remember that your mentors, idols, and peers are likely to be pursuing what moves them.
If you find yourself wondering how this or that person can possibly find the motivation to pursue this or that thing—meanwhile you yourself cannot even begin to wrap your mind around chipping away at a similar path—it’s wise to remember that this unfathomable path likely seems the path-of-least-resistance to the individual pursuing it.
And in turn, your own most joyful choice of paths will likely boggle the minds of other beholders. So, when beginning a creative endeavor…simply follow your joy.
Alan put some beautifully succinct words on a phenomenon I’ve been talking around for years. As we were discussing the pushback young creatives often receive from authority figures (i.e. “this field is too risky,” “you’ll never be able to make a living”), Alan stated simply “for me, the risk would have been having a 9-5 job.”
I feel this in my bones. And I know it’s true for so many creatives. Yet again—our creative paths, however fraught, are the paths of least resistance. And when we feel this kind of absolute necessity around our creativity, we simply will pursue it. The alternative is untenable.
Becky shared the lovely belief that each person has “a bit of something essential.” I’ve always felt this way, too. I believe we all have some small gift or predisposition to excel at something—however simple, however obscure. But I especially love Becky’s advice that you can “find clues [about what your essential gifts may be] by following what lights you up.”
This advice is a great companion to Drew’s comments. There’s no better indicator of where your particular shininess lies than your own joy, curiosity, and interest. Follow what feels the sparkliest to you, and you’re bound to find the places where you’ll shine. This is a belief I cling to during my highs and my lows.
And finally, I so loved hearing Desarae talk about the love she has for her chosen medium of pen and ink. She described it as “giving,” “delicious,” and “endlessly fascinating.” And see? These are the clues. This is the kind of joy and curiosity we’re talking about.
When your medium/topic/field/project feels like a truly bottomless well of intrigue and beauty, when it seems to give back more than it ever takes, you know you’ve found something special.
And I think what I’m trying to say here is that I feel this way about my music. And I want you to know that.
As I have the opportunity to reveal more of this work to you in the next several months, I’d love for you to remember that this is what it means to me. It feels precious to me—like a clutch of rare stones. It feels an honor to share it with you…if also fairly terrifying.
So. Please savor the little treasures I’ve built for us.
All of my love,
P.S. Have you heard my new song “Breaking Room” yet? The words from the bridge feel particularly pertinent to this conversation…