June 16, 2011
Wearethey Examines the “They”:
The Link Between Inspiration and Caring what People Think
At times I’m so motivated towards creative projects that I neglect my social life to work on ideas. But WHY am I working towards greatness? To stand back and admire my own work? If that were the case, then I should be perfectly happy to live on a desert island. I like alone time, but dude – that’d suck.
I create art to be recognized. I strive to create greatness that others recognize as great. But who are these ‘others’ whose admiration I hope to gain? Because most of the people in my life, while I admire many of their particular traits and skills, are slightly to severely morally lacking and there are very few people whose full validation I aim to capture. Sorry, friends.
Flakiness is tricky. Some of the people who I consider highly evolved are flaky. By this I mean: most people do not keep their word. They will not return an important text or phone call, they will not show up to important events, they will not remember something important in your life – they will leave you in a bind. And they will not apologize, because if they apologized for flaking once, they’d have to do it all the time. (I do have 1 or 2 people in my life who are reliable right now and they are extremely sexy to me.)
When I tabulate how often people let me down, it unmotivates me. What’s the point? I ask myself. I have nothing in common with these people: I keep my word.
But these same people could very well be saving the world at their own pace. Some of the bravest activists I know: flakes.
Integrity is About more than Keeping your Word
There are other components to integrity besides reliability. Integrity is about more than just doing what you say you’re going to do. Morality entails examining the state of the world and truly stepping up to be a leader. Identifying priorities: eg. taking a cause to the street over color coordinating your dishware (guilty)…the natural world being bulldozed while we hide at home vacuuming perfect putting green stripes into our carpet. Some of the people I know who are the most reliable are lacking in morality, their eyes squeezed shut to the ways they could be applying themselves to live BIGGER. I know – life is stressful. And acting on a larger scale requires taking larger risks. But with these risks comes exhilaration.
When I think of the flaming apathy in so many who I vibe with on a daily basis, and who show up for me, I feel alienated and… unmotivated, once again. If they don’t really care about the big pic, will they care about what I have to offer? Or will they simply feel uncomfortable by it? Like I’m raining on their parade?
The Flasher Was Right
I once had a debate with a friend (…who flaked so bad once that he is now only referred to as “The Flasher” for his episodical vampirical trenchcoat attire) regarding the question: is it better to make art for as many as possible to grasp, or to make art only grasped by a few twisted souls strangely similar enough to you?
Dumbing it down vs elitism.
He was of the school of thought: if you only reach one person…
To quote one an animal rights chant: “We will never compromise.” And yet “the Classics” are universal.
Do It For God
God is dead to me after he flaked on Armageddon, or whatever. Actually I didn’t even hear about that until after because I just joined Facebook 2 days ago. But they say you do whatever it is you’re trying to do better if you do it for and from “The Source”. So go ahead and do it for God, or Santa, or Abraham, or whatever you like to call that patriarchal force in the clouds.
Do It For No One?
Dance like no one’s watching, they say. That would suck if no one was ever watching!
I strongly suggest dancing as though everyone is watching. You’ll keep better rhythm.
Do It For Your Friends. Or Your Enemies
You may have figured out by now that there is not one single ‘opinion’ of you. Everyone’s opinion about you is sightly different and most people care less than you think – this should be liberating, not depressing.
I would be honored to capture the attention of my peers in the animal rights community, the writing community, the attention of the innovators of the new era… whether or not they would strand me on a mountain top or not. Even if my fellow creators are assholes, I still want their attention.
Whatever You Do, Don’t Do It for Fame
Gaga… (She lost the lady title after the meat dress.) What she does, she does directly for attention and to me this is not art. She is willing to be ugly – for fame. Willing to be freaky over sexy – for fame. Whether you love her or hate her, there is a yawn factor to Lady Gaga for those who see through her shtick. The saying: “reeks of effort” comes to mind.
Do it because it’s easy. Not because you must be the FIRST AND BEST AND ONLY. Otherwise, you’ll look desperate and attention seeking and victimized and insecure and played out and lookatmelookatme.
Do It to Lead. Not to win the praise of leaders. (Cough*Obama).
Do It For the Universal Stranger
The more you value humans (human life, human opinion) in whole or in part – the better art you will create. When you create art, you assume that we are more alike than different, and that the part of you who listens as a stranger is also alive in other listening strangers.
One of my favorite authors, Miriam Toews, was a huge motivator for me because her twisted sense of humor was written in a way that I would never have dared to write – too odd, too convoluted, too subtle for others to get, I thought – and yet A Complicated Kindness was a bestseller. I didn’t know that people would get it if I went there with my own writing. She went there, so I knew I could go there, too.
The risk is in being misunderstood. Risk it.
When we write in a genuine voice, we create in others a genuine listening ear.