It shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes to figure this out, but it has, and I haven’t still. I walk this same road every day, the same road, but always different. I keep thinking I’ll catch the tail of an idea that’s out there, but I can’t even get a feather. I think about Neil Young, how he wrote so many great songs, how he wrote three of them while under a fever, and I want to believe that any of us could do it but the truth is, we can’t. We “could,” but we don’t, and that’s the road in between.
So I walk this ugly road, ignored, uncleaned, a no-name road for the homeless and others on the edges, like me. I think about the band Modern English, how they wrote one hit song and that was it, and that’s okay because it’s more than most will ever do. It should be enough.
And so this process to create something feels like playing the lottery, feels like spinning a wheel or a prism and catching the right angle, stopping on the right number, spinning round and round. Like a scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark: excavating, digging at the wrong site. Lining up the jeweled staff to catch the sun at the right angle on the right day, to expose the right spot to dig, for the Ark. There’s no app for it and no manual, and that’s the beauty and madness of it.
So not all of us will do it, and for you to follow another who’s fumbling their way along, it can only make sense if you see yourself doing something similar.
They say when we dream, everyone else is really a projection of ourselves, just wearing a mask: a prism spinning “us” in some nonsense-setting that feels real in the moment and might mean a lot more, but when it’s over we’ll remember feeling good or bad or scared at best, but that’s about it.
So what’s the meaning of it? Different if you’re a suicide bomber, different if you’re in assisted-care, or an eight year-old on summer break. Different if you believe in an after-life or you’re a screenwriter trying to get a job as a temp so you can write at night and maybe make it, some day.
Time and space compress or release our existence: that means something to me, and something to you. And that’s another road, in between.
Note: these last three posts this week have each been inspired by some of my favorite songs: