Nov 3, 2010

Time is the Bastard.

Dear AAP-
I seem to have hit a wall. My creative life which consists mostly of songwriting and singing, but also a little writing is starting to feel like a waste of time. I guess my work is good enough - I don't get heckled, people buy my CDs once in a while and my blog gets plenty of comments (more than yours in fact) but I know none of it is going to make me rich and or famous. But even that is ok and something I've known all along I guess, but the problem is that none of what I have created seems like it'll last or amount to anything. Plus it seems that now, thanks to the internet, EVERYONE on the planet sees themselves as a musician or artist or writer of some kind. There are literally millions of us all generating new "stuff" so much so that it seems like no one is left to be a listening or reading audience. I feel sometimes like I'm just adding something to the noise and not really contributing something that'll make a difference or stand any sort of test of time. I'm wondering if I should just stop? - Songbird.

Dear S-
The truth of the matter is this: Unless you're building pyramids, most of what you do isn't going to stand any real 'test of time.' ...and even the pyramids are likely to last just a few thousand years, which is just the tiniest dot in the vast timeline of the cosmos. I know this sort of information/perspective won't exactly lighten your mood, but it is the truth. Nothing lasts and ultimately none of 'this' is important to anyone but yourself. The GOOD side of that seemingly negative outlook is this: IF what you're doing does seem worthwhile to you, then that is all the excuse/reason you need to keep doing it. You don't need a stamp of approval from anyone else. Sure applause is nice, and getting the occasional check would be even nicer, but at the end of the day, and by that I mean the end of the FINAL day, you'll look back and feel either satisfaction or dissatisfaction with how you spent your blink-and-you'll-miss-it time on this earth.

As members (enthusiastic or not) of this particular time and society, sure, most of us have to spend a good deal of time doing things we don't necessarily love to do... but we do it for the money, or the prestige or the security. These are the deals we make with ourselves as civilized members of our particular civilizations. It is a compromise sure, but it is a necessary one. Does that sound 'un punk rock'? What about 'Anarchy'? Maybe, but you wanted the truth.

So what IS this all to you? You said you always knew you wouldn't get rich/famous from your artistic endeavors, but is that really true? Is that 'wall' you're hitting just artistic burnout? Believe me, I understand how the artistic desire can ebb and flow... and how tempting it is to wish that you didn't WANT or possibly even feel compelled to 'create' things... How much easier life would be to just conform and establish some easy, brain-numbing and (ultimately) soul-crushing existence... but how would you feel looking back on THAT kind of life on your last day? I'm guessing pretty shitty.

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