“But Really I Just Don’t Care”

How many of us never start something, because we’re afraid of the ending: will we succeed, or will we crash and burn, looking the fool. Fear is healthy. Fear keeps us from jumping off cliffs (without the right safety gear), acting out the way we want, sending us to hangout with a crook named Ernie behind bars or in a cozy padded room; it keeps us from losing that which we love. But fear sometimes is just a toothless shadow, that keeps us from trying new things, living life to the fullest, and pursuing our dreams.

I think of myself as a rebel, someone who doesn’t give a f*ck about what people think, but really some days I’m scared. Like really scared. Scared to death of failure of making the wrong choices, and missing out. I’m afraid of not working hard enough and so will fall short of my dreams; I’m afraid of looking like a crazy idiot “in front” of all these people that know my chosen career path. And so begins the cycle of not taking chances, because I don’t think I’m good enough, then hating myself later because I didn’t take a chance, ending me up in a mental bog of anxiety, frustration, and more fear. A bog like, you know, the one in the Lord of the Rings when Frodo falls in because he followed the lights and Gollum gets to have a heroic moment.

Anyway . . .

About a month ago, I made the pilgrimage to the Black Sheep a divey music venue in Colorado Springs. I want to go to more live music shows and so my goal this year is to visit as many of the small venues in the area as possible, without becoming completely broke. Brick + Mortar a two piece band from New Jersey was the band I was seeing that night at this legendary venue.

During their set, they shared the story behind their song “Bangs” (I love when artists do this.) The lead singer and bassist (I’m always impressed when someone can play bass and sing.) Brandon Asraf shared that like many, he was afraid of not making it. He was afraid of looking like a fool. He said that the road to the stage had been long, hard, and not traveled without perseverance. He said this is what their song “Bangs” is about: it’s about the contradictory voices in an artist’s consciousness. One day the voices will say “This piece you are working on is the absolute sh*t, you’re the sh*t!” (“This is awesome! You’re going far, kid. Woohoo!”) Then the next week or next day the voices will say “Wow, you’re sh*t. This is sh*t.” (You really think you’re going somewhere with that crap? Wow, you’re crazy and delusional. You’re going to end up living in a box, and no one will remember your name, because you’re an untalented weird, crazy turd.”)

Asraf ended his story with (paraphrased), “You know, eventually I decided not to give a f*ck, because I love making music, and so I don’t have a choice. I have to make music whether I ‘make it’ or not. Do what makes you feel alive and don’t give a f*ck.” The song began and the room was alive with an energy of hopeful rebellion:

I know I’m never gonna make it anyway
I think I’m gonna make it anyway
I know but really I just don’t care
I think I’m gonna make it anyway
I know the things that I just can’t say
I think I’m gonna say ’em anyway
I know I think I’ve finally found my way
I think I’m gonna make it today

I don’t know about the other people in the crowd, if they were artists or had big dreams, but I felt a giant weight lift off my shoulders. I felt like I could breath again. I still care about “making it” and making a career, but I was reminded why I create: because I love it, because it makes me feel alive, because I can’t not create. This attitude took the focus off “making it” and the fear of living in a box and no one remembering my name, that my writing would become recycled for commercial toilet paper (the worst of all toilet papers!); to focusing on the actual art I’m working on and loving on the actual piece instead of cutting it, stretching it, and manipulating it into something that I think the gods of the commercial universe will deem acceptable. I am a screenwriter so I understand the importance of the commercial properties of a work, but for my own sanity I needed to stop thinking about that part of the process.

Being an artist is really great. People think you’re cool and thoughtful, and mysterious. They talk about when they will say “I knew you when.” But being an artist is also hard. Often times, I feel misunderstood. I feel frustrated when people wonder why I don’t have something done. Granted, I have my own problems of finishing things and really struggle to order my life around writing, versus hoping that I’ll have some time to write. (The universal struggle of creating: balancing all of life’s and art’s demands.) I also struggle when I feel like I’m sacrificing things for reaching the end goal and the end goal feels so far away.

But that’s why it’s really awesome when other people with similar goals share how they felt or are feeling about “making it,” or the struggles and pressures of being an artist. We remember we’re human and we’re in it together with a bunch of other humans who are trying to make something of themselves and share a piece of their souls. And we see them when they succeed, and remember to work harder and we succeed. And they will see us when we succeed, and they will work harder and succeed.

It is like we are all in a world of perpetual darkness, each person carrying a torch. Sometimes our torch, our dreams, our passions, who we are dims and goes out. We are discouraged and we question everything about who we are and what we are doing. We don’t care, and we feel like giving into the current of what “everyone else” is doing. But then we hear a song like “Bangs,” or read about someone’s story of perseverance, or someone gives us a kind, hopeful word, our torch is re-lit and we stand up tall once again, and continue walking our path, perhaps re-lighting the torch of someone else. We can be like Samwisw Gamgee helping carry each other to the top of our own mountain. (I really love Lord of the Rings. Can you tell?)

Seriously, though . . .

We underestimate ourselves so often. We can. We will. But who really cares, because we’re living right now.

 

Love&Hate

It seems you can’t have the Mother Theresa’s without the Adolph Hitler’s. I have often heard some variation of the phrase “I hate people.” People are annoying. They get under our skin, and we want to punch them in the face. Honestly though, I question the human race’s ability for goodness when I read demeaning comments online. I question society’s future when I hear of one of my youth group kids being bullied at school: her artwork being ripped up and thrown on the ground like garbage.

But yet, I still hear stories of people who gave all they had for another. I have experienced the simple kindness of a stranger buying my coffee; it’s a “small” act, yet still has meant so much to me that day. I have seen someone give to another simply because they wanted to. An unsolicited compliment or encouragement can be medicine for the soul.

The beauty and horror of the human disposition and action lies in each person’s free will to make conscious choices. Yes, we are all affected by our environment, upbringing, the things that have been done or happened to us; if we are honest with ourselves, we would realize that we choose where we go, what we do, and who we become. How else would stories exist of those, despite all odds, reached out and touched greatness? They gritted their teeth and made a choice each day, each minute, and those seemingly small insignificant choices propelled their entire life.

We live in a society of victims. No one seems to want to take responsibility for their actions. Everyone is offended by someone, and everyone is apologizing for something. I wonder what the world would look like if we all took responsibility for our words, for our actions, and if we also had a bit more grace for our fellow man, who like ourselves is flawed, affected, and mean, but ultimately desperate for love and acceptance.

What we do and how we respond to life, eventually becomes who we are.  Who do we want to be?

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one, wild and precious life?” ~ Mary Oliver

Wax Candle Girl

They found you, the purest vanilla diamond

They gave you all, made you their “it” girl

It all felt right, it all felt good

You were all your own

You were all theirs.

 

They stuck you with needles and syringes

Stretched you out naked

Dissected

Picking, pulling

“Keep quiet little girl, don’t break from the script

Bury that little heart under our smoke screen.”

 

And then they left you, their most Holy Prostitute

Biting and gnawing on you when they were hungry for real meat

Your sister, a digital canvas is their daughter

They hate you

They love you

They are the crows.

 

Years later I saw your wax candle likeness

So real

So perfect

They lit it on fire

And I watched it burn

Screams filled my ears

But I was too mesmerized by the dancing flames

to care.

 

~

 

© Kristen N. Rea and WildFire Dreams, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Kristen N. Rea and WildFire Dreams with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Oak Tree Heart

I hid my heart in a box under an oak tree

Later, I went back and buried all my shame

Then I jumped inside

Hiding deep in the dark

Away from your wandering eye

I stayed there listening to your foot steps

Afraid to open my eyes and see my own skin

The roots dug deep and I was sucked into the tree

The tree cradled my bones

and you forgot.

The tree grew for a thousand years and died with the earth and all its fears.

~

© Kristen N. Rea and WildFire Dreams, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Kristen N. Rea and WildFire Dreams with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Sonic Highways: Creative Power

I’ve been watching the Foo Fighters’ Sonic Highways on HBO. I’d heard about the show from a few people, that it was inspiring, interesting, but didn’t really know what it was about. Then I saw the new Foo Fighters’ album of the same name appear in the iTunes store and decided to check it out.

And I’m so glad I did. I am on a high of inspired creative energy and pursuit.

To create their next album, the Foo Fighters decided to travel to a major city known for its music and record a song influenced by that city’s musical environment, musical history, and the faces of that musical history; focusing a great deal on the underground punk scenes of each city. They also talk about significant recording studios of the area and record there. Their reason for this was rooted in the idea that one’s surroundings, atmosphere influences the music that they will create. They wanted to mine from each environment and create an album of those inspired moments.

This idea resounded with me, because I have definitely experienced the power of environment on one’s creative powers, not only on a micro level (being in an inspired place or building of historical significance), but also on a macro level as well. Since moving from West Hollywood to suburbia, I have found myself having more difficulty creating and feeling less inspired, less creative energy. The area I moved to is surrounded by artistic influence, but I have found that I have had to be more proactive in simulating an environment that can help and inspire my creative efforts.

From watching this show, I have not only been inspired incredibly, but I have also come to the conclusion that learning about another art form’s creative process is beneficial and perhaps essential to one’s own craft. Not only do you learn about new ways of creating that you may be able to implement into your own creative process, but you hear the stories of more creatives and how they got to where they are today; maybe you can invent something new by combining your craft with an aspect of another.

I would suggest you watch this show, or at least a few episodes, if only to be reminded of the reason why people create, why you create, and that you can do it. Only you can create the song or story you have inside. Yes others may have a similar idea, but it isn’t yours. Why not join the chorus of creative voices and create something new. Maybe you will be the first and inspire those who come behind. You could change, maybe even save someone’s life. As creative people, I think it’s easy to down play what we’re doing, or creating, at least some of the time: ask the question “could I, little me, do something great or make something worthwhile.” But, why not you? Hiding your talent, the light inside of you is robbing the world of seeing a piece of beauty and I believe God’s glory.

All that being said, before I started watching, I was not a die-hard fan of the Foo Fighters. I don’t connect with their music as much as I do with other artists, but I am definitely more interested in what they do, and may even check out more of their music. I definitely have so much respect for Dave Grohl and may even have a co-creative person’s crush on him. Haha! His story is inspiring. Anyway . . .  I posted the promo trailer for the show below. Enjoy!

Jim Carrey Makes the Case for Your Dreams

Saw this video clip of Jim Carrey’s speech a few months ago. It adds to the amount of evidence telling that a life well lived isn’t really a safe or practical life, but it’s a digging down into your heart and figuring out what you want out of the time given here, and pursuing those desires and dreams the best you can.

Why not take a risk and work at what we love? We only live once: let’s “YOLO” the hell out of this day, and the next, and the next. . . .

Untitled

I may never fall in love

I may never climb the highest mountain

I may never be famous

I may never swim the depths

 

But I will climb my mountain

And know my depths,

the cracks in the caverns of my heart

I will be known and loved by the butterfly hearts

And when my eyes close and my sun sets

my heart cry will echo in the canyons

 

I will kiss and kill death

my lover and my shadow

I will set this body ablaze

burning even when this house is gone

burning forevermore.

 

© Kristen N. Rea and WildFire Dreams, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Kristen N. Rea and WildFire Dreams with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.