A content provider on a website I enjoy died last week. I did not know this person, nor did he have an amazing impact on my life. I enjoyed his content and did not give it an additional thought. His co-workers gave an informal eulogy on a podcast I listen to regularly. At the end of the eulogy, they said ” Instead of flowers or donations to charity, Monty would want you to be creative. Do something creative with your life.”
I have struggled with creativity for a long time. In high school, I gave up on music as a career (not that it was extremely viable, but it was a possibility). The epiphany came to me when I went to a band camp. I realized I could not play any solos in jazz. The only way I could play a solo was to have someone else write one. This made things a little difficult, “Hey, could you write a technical yet melodic solo that I can play when I am supposed to? Try to make it sound improvised if you could” My music teachers always thought I was stubborn, but really I was unable to be successfully creative. When I was “creative” in making a solo, it sounded like someone had dropped a can full of cats down the stairs [you can pick the size of the can in your imagination. smaller cans are squishier, larger cans are louder].
I never got into visual arts or other performing arts because I lacked….that thing. What is it called? Oh yeah, talent or skill. Oh sure, I tried to draw a couple times, but the aforementioned lack of talent made blobs more than shapes appear. Lack of talent also made every single acting performance seem like someone on the wrong medication trying to speak to a public forum.
I tried my hand at writing. I wrote (and subsequently burned) some short stories. I even tried writing this blog. Unfortunately, I am not very skilled at conveying thought images into word things. This makes me not want to write very often. It also makes me not want to read what I have written.
I also tried to foray into public speaking, in the hopes of maybe finding some hidden talent as a comedian or motivational speaker from the van by the river. Turns out that my primary skill in public speaking is not urinating on my self (visibly, any way) while speaking.
I also tried the “art” of interacting with people. I am decidedly unskilled at that particular art. “Unskilled” in the same sense that elephants are unskilled in the art of supersonic flight.
Now this may surprise people, but my job does not allow for a lot of creativity. One is generally not very creative around electricity. At least, not more than once. Most clients don’t want their circuit breakers to bang open and shut to the beat of “We will rock you”. Granted, that is not very creative since it is stealing someone else’s work, but it would be funny.
I have attempted a series of hobbies, from music to art. I try it at first for a couple weeks, but then can’t think of anything to draw or play, etc.
I spend much of my life admiring the creative efforts of others. My house is filled with art. My music collection is larger and more eclectic than most people could ever imagine. I have hundreds of books and comic books in digital form with me most of the day. I love artistic movies, plays, books and music. I especially love video games for their art. My favorite video games combine a great story, great scenery and character design, great music, great voice acting and smooth to operate controls.
With as much creative material as I am surrounded, one would think it would stimulate some form of creativity in my own self.
So a person who was one of the most creative people alive asked that people honor his memory by doing one thing creative. I have tried for 7 hours to come up with something. I am not counting cleaning the dishes as “creative”. Oh well, maybe tomorrow. The smell of the dishes will certainly be more creative then.