This week’s title is “Some REAL DEEP Thoughts: Art and Life Edition!” For the thoughts that dominated my mindscape for the last seven days have been SUPER significant…about the meaning of LIFE and stuff! Not saying that I don’t normally ruminate over existential matters, or whatever, but this week things just seemed to click in some pretty beautiful ways.
It began on Thursday, when I took an extended lunch break with Marc, my close friend/collaboration soulmate, and spontaneously launched into a multi-hour discussion session about why we’re doing what we’re doing in school, and what drives us creatively, what sort of lives we want to build for ourselves. We talked for so long we came back to class half an hour late, but with epiphanies swirling in our heads!
We agreed that our strongest desire is to feel fully engaged in what we’re making, to give it our all, to never stop doing art-things. We both feel a need to dissolve the art/work/life boundaries so that we’re living in a zone of constant creativity. The happiest version of future-me couldn’t just have an “artistic occupation,” one that required me to just show up, work for a period of time, then peace out and spend the remainder of my time participating in the rest of life. A creative career—or, a creative existence—makes sense to me only when it is lived 24/7, as a lifestyle, not just a job. It’s all or nothing for me, and I want to give it my all.
Articulating this with Marc was like discovering some sort of buried truth, making me wonder, what took me so long to be able to express that? Then, as I looked around at my life, I realized that I’ve surrounded myself with people who follow a similar credo—people who live their art, or whatever it is that they love. Literally, in this diary entry, I began to make a list of anyone I know that I feel this way about, but shit got long real quick, so I’ll spare everyone. People who are dedicated, who are constantly making and thinking and engaging on a creative level…those are my favorite. I want to be one of those.
This weekend held an especially special example. There’s a band from home that I’ve been friends with for years now, called Night Beats. It’s a particularly fun relationship because they can claim many of my very important firsts: my first time getting stoned, first time cruising to another town with a band to see their show, first band to crash on the floor of my first apartment when I had just moved out, and other important milestones of my youth. I consider them very special buddies in this way, so you may understand how exciting it was to have them roll into town to play a show last weekend. But this was no ordinary gig: they opened for Roky Erickson, of the 13th Floor Elevators, the band essentially credited with pioneering psychedelic music. They are VERY IMPORTANT!! Roky is without a doubt Night Beats’ collective lifetime idol, and most obvious musical influence, as their sound is fuzzy and psych-y and wonderfully appropriate for space-outs when you’re driving through the desert or something. I’m pretty sure opening for him was their ultimate dream come true. Seeing their names on the marquee made me buzz with pride all night long. They tour most of the year, traverse the country to record with other bands, and participate in as many festivals and happenings as they can manage. It’s their full-time life, this band. They live their music, their art, and look where that shit got them. It got them to dreamland! I want to go there!
THE SHOW WAS SO MIND-BENDING AND EMOTIONALLY THRILLING THAT I DRUNK-TEXTED MY DAD ABOUT IT. I saw this song performed by the (now old) man who wrote it 50-some years ago…I mean!
I crave moments like that night, where it’s like I’m orbiting around these extraordinarily awesome people, creating and witnessing things and music and moments that are the stuff of magic. It’s possible that everything I do is an effort to fill my life with these moments, to create my place in this strange version of the world with its rock & roll and its art and its commitment to living creatively—to surround myself with everyone I can find who is inspiring and productive and doing something fantastic.
I have faith that my life can be lived for art. Watching my friends open for their hero in front of a sold-out audience was an affirmation that my faith isn’t entirely naïve or ridiculous. I’m going to throw in all the dedication I can muster to make this Magical Creative Life work. So far, it’s looking good. ♦