12.4 Gray Morality (Poem)

Gray Morality

“Nothing is black and white,” I say.
Good and evil. Right and Wrong. It’s all relative.
Morality is a social construct.

You laugh and say,
“One day you’ll be brave enough to take a stand
For what you believe in, and for what you know to be just and true.
And when they come for you,
There’ll be no switching sides in the name of relativism.”

One day you’ll have to choose.
Not between black or white,
But to run, or to fight.

12.3 Thoughts

The painting above is what I used for “5 Ways to be a Better Creative” article. Actually it’s been put through the editor quite a bit so I’m not sure it can be called a “painting” anymore.

It actually started out as a semi abstract impressionistic painting of grass by a stream. I think if anyone saw the original they’d be pretty disappointed!

Bless technology. That’s all I wanted to say really.

5 Ways To Be A Better Creative

1) Fix Your Space

This one should be obvious. Keep your work area clean and organized at a bare minimum. The less clutter, the less distractions. If you’ve got a lot of supplies, get some shelves so they’re out of the way, or get one of those multi-tiered carts with wheels.

The less obvious advice to actually keep your room decorated in a style that is appealing and inspiring to you. Make it a place you’re proud of, that you actually want to spend significant amounts of time in. Get some wall art or make your own. Get some cool mood lights, etc. Invest in your space.

2) Don’t Worry About Failing or Perfection

You have to make the garbage before you make your masterpiece. Not everyone’s going to like your stuff and that’s okay. As long as you like it, then the piece of art has served it’s purpose.

Don’t worry if it sucks, seriously. Even my garbage drafts had nuggets of gold that I borrow from. Even my crud paintings can be saved with the help editing. My unfinished novels from my teens might not have been the best, but looking back I wished I had finished them. They’re like a time capsule, so even if they’re worthless to everyone else, you’ll still get enjoyment out of them.

3) Learn to Steal

As an avid watcher of Cooking TV, I can’t even tell you how many shows are about some celebrity chef going to some foreign country to learn the local cuisine and then take it back. If these rich professionals are stealing culinary secrets from rural peasants then it must be okay right??? (Seriously… though, wtf).

But really, it’s fine. Add a sprinkle of cardamom and crushed pistachios to ice cream and suddenly you’re a gourmet. There’s a difference between stealing and copying. Stealing is to make it yours and copying is… copying.

4) Get Your Health in Order

I have this thing where if I eat junk food I get a lot of phlegm and a runny nose (TMI I know), but it’s hard to concentrate on your work when you’re constantly blowing your nose. Overeating is also bad. Nothing makes you less likely to work than when your blood sugar crashes and you’re feeling bloated and lethargic.

Eat a clean diet and exercise. It’s hard to work when you can’t sit for longer than a few hours because of lower back pain, or if you get constant headaches or other minor pains. It’ll give you the stamina and vigor you need to finish these long projects.

Oh, and don’t forget to sleep. If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, refer to above. Eat clean and exercise. Seriously.

5) Finish

I don’t care if it’s crap. I don’t care if it’s not perfect. Finish the dang thing. Give yourself a deadline and publish it no matter what. You’ve got to get into the momentum of pushing work out.

Besides, in my opinion, it’s better for artwork to seem unfinished rather than overdone. Take movies for example. I’d rather leave the movie theater feeling like the director could’ve pushed it a little further rather than leave after some three and a half hour monstrosity of overindulgent scenes that add nothing except unnecessary bulk. I’d rather read a short and sparse novel than a hideously long one filled with page after page of purple prose.

Finish!


Readers: Which one of these do you struggle with the most?

12.1 When did you first begin? (Poem)

When did you first begin?
At your first breath?
Or in the womb as you develop from embryo to fetus?
How about at the moment of conception? When your father’s sperm meets your mother’s egg to create the cell that is you.

But perhaps you began even before that.
Perhaps you began at the formation of those two halves. If so, you began in your grandmother’s womb when your mother’s eggs were first made.
But then, you could go even further back through the lineage of humanity and through all the evolutions of our species.

You could keep going until you’ve reached the form that gave us our lizard brain,
And all the way to the first organic organism on the Earth.
And, inevitably, we’d have to look to the swirling stardust in a young galaxy before reaching all the way back to the conception of our universe.

But keep going. Even before our universe and into negative space and into the primordial darkness.
Before the universe. Before time. Before matter.
“When did I first begin?”

I have always been here.

11.29 Consumption

Seeing how it’s Black Friday, it’s only appropriate to write about consumption while suffering from a huge post-Thanksgiving headache.

But there’s so many great think pieces out there already that no one really needs repeated from me. As an artist, I always consume in order to create, but if you think about it, even someone who goes out and buys a luxury-brand brick is doing it out of a desire to create, only its a carefully crafted identity rather than a piece of art.

Our world and how we experience and navigate it, is not spherical like the Earth is. On our graph of reality:
x = Physical world to the extent we can experience it through our senses
y = Memory of past events and our mental database of what we know to be true
z = Imagination of the unreal, abstract, and conceptual that has little basis in reality

So our experience of the world is an amorphous and ever changing blob. Though if I had to give it shape, I’d probably call it a many-tentacled octopus.

Note to self: Elaborate on this concept some time.