I’ve been making music, playing games, writing games, programming tools, and writing stories since I realized I could. Not all at the same time. For years it was music, then games and music, and now writing. For a while, I feared myself a creative dilettante. I assure myself that music is something I can get back to. I tell myself I’ve made some interesting music already whether I do go back to it or not. I don’t need an identity as ‘a composer’ or ‘a writer’ because I have already made music and written some stories and they have made me and a few others feel things. I still get neurotic about it, though.
Out of morbid curiosity, I skimmed some articles about ‘creative people.’ There’s lots of contradictory information about what makes such people different. Here’s my generalization:
Creative people will go mad if they try to suppress the urge to make something. The things they make are motivated from some internal wonkiness that creates chum that they have to vomit up. Some of this can be shaped into things that they will share with the world. The majority will not.
I think creativity is on a sliding scale rather than having a binary value. Some people must spend hours each day doing their thing, and some can do it a few times a week or month. My creative output and hours are partially dictated by my energy, as I work full-time and don’t have the energy to do more than one thing at once. The flesh is weak, and that drags down the heart.
How long will I continue this spate of writing? I could lose interest or end up doing music or games with my limited time instead. I don’t know. I’ll ride it for all it is worth and see what comes together. I’m happy I took it up in January. Whatever happens, I’ll keep reading and reviewing. My consumption and urge to give back is a given.
Like many people, I look at a lot of websites and consume a great deal of content. On a typical day, I visit most of the following:
- ESPN and ESPN FC (soccer) for headlines about baseball, soccer, tennis, and Olympic sports. Most days this doesn’t take too much time unless something like the Women’s World Cup is going on. Then I read every single article, even ones about Thailand games. I don’t know who any of those Thai ladies are but I find them inspiring.
- The Replacement Level Yankees Weblog, for sabermetric data and Yankees talk. Did you know that baseball has numbers that are statistically significant and that Nate Silver started his projections with baseball? I am terrible at ProbStat myself but love to see the science and methodology behind all these projections.
- RPGamer for news on upcoming and current role-playing video games.
- Shopping websites for clothing sales. This can take two minutes or longer if I’m being picky about new socks or pajamas.
- The New York Times, which I’ve subscribed to for years and is still my major news curator. I’m told this makes me old-fashioned.
- SPL Overdrive, the Seattle Public Library’s ebook-lending engine. How close am I to items I have on hold? What’s new this week?
- Facebook if my brother, a community I follow, or a few close friends have posted something.
- My feedbin. This is the biggest time suck of all. I have a ton of clothing blogs, Cliff Mass’s weather blog, many writers’ blogs on their books and on writing, and some blogs of personal friends.
That’s just the web content I consume. Add some video games, a ton of music, and plenty of books, and I feel like a giant ravening maw that I shove stuff into. So many wonderful things, so little time and energy, especially because I work full time as a computer programmer. The desire to consume wars with the desire to create. If I am not making things up, just consuming them, I am unsatisfied. I can make web applications, I can write words, I can try to write music, I can work on creating roleplaying games. Which one I do is a daily question. I’m on a writing fiction kick right now, with a little bit of roleplaying games.
Tan Tan Bo, by Takashi Murakami (2001) is one way I try to explain my creative urge and process.
I’ve been trying to devote about an hour on weekdays to creation. Weekends are variable, because sometimes I’m not in town or am doing tons of social things. I’m still working on balancing creation and consumption and subcategories of both. Left unchecked, I binge on one or the other and end up feeling empty or uninspired. Perhaps someday I can expand the hours I can create things in.
My relationship with social media confuses me. I signed up for Facebook in college and now use it to look at pictures of my friends’ cats, see where people I’ve lost touch with are living and who they are loving. I ‘follow’ four people’s feeds: my brother’s, my best friend from childhood/adoptive sister’s, a close friend from college/former boss, and a friend who is local to me but posts good things about baseball, cats, and Hawai’i. I have twitter and tweet once a year in a twittish fashion, I follow plenty of people but only consistently read Devin Townsend’s posts. I use Google Plus to keep updated on my gaming acquaintances and friends from the Boston area. I keep a LiveJournal for my parents and some old friends and as a chronicle of my mundane life.
I’ve blogged for over two years about underwear engineering and construction. I still don’t really know how to write prose. I thought I would write about my vomit slime generating algorithms.
Last night I dreamed of a live-action role-playing game in which I played a fellow named Jack who had gotten lost in a space warp jump and landed in a galaxy a few parsecs off. People had Major Arcana but Jack didn’t have one either yet or at all. There may have been an Olympic coordinated gymnastics event somewhere in there, as well as some swimming races in lanes on top of an eight-story building. Or that might have been another dream. I love art and music and creative things. I also love you, though you terrify me.