Day 182: Excavation

How strange to see that I don't want to be the person that I want to be.

— Amanda Palmer

That stark moment when you realize there is no making art until you square up to who you are, and square up to not knowing who you are, and then square up to the task of excavating—from layer after layer of pretense, anxiety, distaste, outright fear, education, indoctrination, expectations of family and society and management and tribe, market pressures and the lure of cashing in and then cashing out, politeness, niceness, laziness, and useless advice—your true self. And that stark moment when you understand that you will have to accept whatever you find to be your true self. And that stark moment when you take a step and start something that will be hard to quit. And then that stark moment when you see clearly that you are so in over your head. And finally, that stark moment when you say, Fuck it, I'm making this thing anyway because while you can't see what I'm about to do or how I'm going to do it, I can.

Day 140: Write what you can't write

A few years ago, I wrote about a contemporary composer, Oscar Bettison. Interesting fellow, good composer, Fulham supporter. In one of our conversations, he recalled one of his composition teachers, Martijn Padding. Bettison, in the story, had just described to his teacher the next piece he wanted to compose. Oscar recalled Padding's response:

Martijn said, “No, you shouldn’t do that, because that’s the piece you can write. You should always write the piece that you can’t write. Never do the thing that you know you can do.” Which is the greatest piece of advice I’ve ever been given. Now I always try to make myself uncomfortable. I deliberately create problems and challenges for myself. The difficulty is kind of the attraction. It’s addictive, you know? Now, if stuff comes easy to me, I’m really, really suspicious of it. I don’t accept my own ideas. They’ve got to really prove themselves.

Day 48: David Mamet

Echoing some of what I said yesterday:

Do not internalize the industrial model. You are not one of the myriad of interchangeable pieces, but a unique human being, and if you've got something to say, say it, and think well of yourself while you're learning to say it better.

No argument from me, Mr. Mamet.