The common advice to “kill your darlings,” leave the frivolous stuff out and focus only on what matters, is likely very wise. It’s good to get to the point. But those fleeting fascinations might sometimes reveal meaningful truths.
Longer posts, often written in collaboration with other artists, can be found here.
Those of us who stand out as exceptional artists tend to be those who work the hardest on improving our craft. If you’re paying attention at all right now, you’ve heard of Amanda Gorman. Watching her recitation on Inauguration Day and her subsequent interviews, it’s easy to see the amount of hard work she put into her poem. And it’s that work ethic, that breadth of research she conducted, that resulted in such a phenomenal piece of art. She isContinue reading “Dedication to Craft”
My gosh, is it ever tempting. I’ve got a lot of critical thoughts about a lot of things. And when I’m ticked off I tend to quickly make it obvious. My first instinct is always to speak out against any harm with which I’m met. But I’m learning to focus that anger into more productive channels. Social media gives the illusion of a shared understanding. A genuine connection might actually exist in the real world, but it’s nearly impossible toContinue reading “Dipping Down to Pettiness”
I’m thinking about the amount of work that has to go into creative success, no matter how you define “success” for yourself. And across the board, in my opinion, quality work means extended deep focus. Such dedication requires a removal of feigned personalities. Pretending to be someone you’re not is utterly exhausting. If you’re met with obstacles to our own authenticity, whether they be externally or internally imposed, your mind becomes consumed by the role playing. The focus you couldContinue reading “Werk Authentically”
I can only hope I’m always this naïve. Isn’t life so much better for those of us who lean in to our ignorance? No one can know everything. To pretend otherwise is to dig yourself an inescapable hole and miss out on all the fun. Projecting an image of unwavering confidence means turning a blind eye to all the small delights of discovery. There’s a delight in fumbling: awkward questions and missteps open us up to new and interesting revelations.Continue reading “Naïve Discoveries”
I’m noticing a trend in my circles that makes me feel icky. Artists do not need to be “productive” to be good artists. We don’t need to be churning out viral videos, TV pilots, or reams of great poetry to be deemed worthy. I’m seeing a number of people (including myself) feeling uninspired or overwhelmed these days, and for good reason. This restlessness can be exasperated by a self-imposed pressure to “use this time wisely” and present completed, polished projectsContinue reading “Delight in Just the Thought”
Well, this was a failure. Not in its entirety, I suppose… While I didn’t write every day this year, I did write some, and the pressure I applied to myself to form better writing habits did prove to be somewhat useful. But the project continues, and I thank you all for coming along for the ride. I hope you found some connection with these words: some idea, big or small, that resonated with you. As it grows, decentre will becomeContinue reading “Open with Questions”
A common theme in my creative efforts these days is granting myself permission. For example, I grant myself permission to hold two opposing concepts as true. Yes, I’ve been easily distracted lately. But I’ve also been writing interesting material. I may not be dedicating a lot of time to perfecting what I make, but I am making compelling stuff. Great leaders and creators take the “both, and” approach to problem-solving: These two seemingly contradictory ways of thinking may both beContinue reading “This Too is True”
I couldn’t begin to tell you how much junk I’ve accumulated. I don’t mean physical stuff, though maybe I should examine that as well. I mean the overflow of words that didn’t make it to their intended projects. Many notes are piled on top of each other, virtual and otherwise, each containing thoughts and ideas that couldn’t find a home. I doubt I’ll get back to much of the excess, but I keep some of it around just in case.Continue reading “Dumpster”
I can’t possibly know everything. Yet I catch myself pretending I do all the time. One thing I’ve never quite understood is people’s (read: my own) lack of curiosity when they encounter contradictory information. We tend to get a bit too set in our ways, don’t you think? Of course it’s one thing to argue for what you know to be true (and perhaps we should avoid debating facts…) but such arguments are always much more effective when you’ve listenedContinue reading “Tell Me More”
I’m learning to be easier on myself for having particular needs during the creative process. I find I write best on Saturday nights, usually after 10pm. I love this quote from President Barack Obama, pulled from a recent New York Times interview. He’s also a fan of late-night writing: “I find that the world narrows, and that is good for my imagination. It’s almost as if there is a darkness all around and there’s a metaphorical beam of light downContinue reading “Rigid Needs”