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Archive for June 27, 2013

For the Sheer Joy of It

When was the last time you created something purely for the joy of creating? I’ve been asking myself this question lately. For most of us, our art rarely has such pure motives. We write a song (paint a picture / write a story / knit a sweater) for any number of reasons. Maybe someone is actually paying us to do it, or maybe at least we’re hoping that someone else will hear it.

But what if you knew that no other human being will ever hear the music that you’re writing, that no one else will ever even know that you wrote it, and that you’ll get nothing in return other than the experience of writing it?

I remember when I was just 5 years old. I would write a song and then, high on adrenalin, I would run around singing it over and over. I don’t know if there was anyone else there to hear it, but even if there was it wouldn’t have mattered to me. The only thing that mattered was that I had created something, and it made me happy. I wasn’t writing music so that other people would like me. I wasn’t even writing music to bring pleasure to other people. I certainly wasn’t writing music for money, because the thought had never occurred to me that music and money might be related in anyway. I was just writing music for the sheer joy of it.

I’ve heard people say that someone is “lucky to be able to make a living doing what they love to do.” But next time you see a five-year-old running around singing a song that they just made up, remember, they are the lucky one.

Blogging About Blogging

This is not just my first entry on this blog; this is in fact my first blog entry anywhere. I’ll start off by saying that I don’t really like writing. You might wonder then why does this guy have a blog? Well, sometimes I do things that I don’t like (and I don’t do some things that I do like), because I thereby occasionally discover that I like things that I didn’t think I’d like. (One recent example, brussel sprouts, comes to mind.) If we stayed forever in our safety zones, then we’d all still be eating baby food and listening to “Wheels on the Bus.”

Lest you fear that you’re only participating in someone’s experiment to discover whether he likes to write, I also think that along the way I might write something that makes you smile or makes you curious, or who knows, maybe even annoys you. I have no pretense that you’ll like everything I write, but I’ll end with this: Someone once told me that, on the average, it’s almost impossible to say anything that more than 70% of your audience likes. This applies to all forms of self-expression, including of course music. So if it ever seems like 100% of your audience likes what you just said, then chances are you didn’t actually say anything.

So, I hope I just said something.