Creating is imperative

I’ve come to realize that my whole thing, my reason for getting out of bed in the morning, my soul, my whatsis, my very dealiewhopper, is to make things. Doesn’t matter what: writing, music, sculpture, philosophies, drawings, web pages, programs, bad jokes, sandwiches, wooty noises on my theremin. If it has no practical value, I’m there, baby.

Meanwhile, I’m loath to get rid of anything with sentimental value. Just ask my wife, as long as you have several weeks to hear a litany of her discontent. I’m not, you know, to “intervention” status or anything. There’s still a path nearly 18 inches wide between the stacks of newspaper lining our living room. I even caught a glimpse of the kitchen table under the mountain of unwashed Burger King cups. We’re good for now.

My house is already chock full of memories, yet I keep making new ones. In this way I’m connected all the way back to my origin by an unbroken strand. If I were any more anchored I’d have Panamanian registry. If I were any more grounded I’d be Braniff International. If I were any more rooted I’d need to be watered twice a day. (Alternate joke: If I were any more rooted you could run any app on me at all.)

But then the argument pops up: Do people need to be rootless to grow? Do you have to drift to create? How can you know the world if you haven’t been out in it?

These questions are indeed relevant … for a certain value of “the world.” But beyond this world of hate and love and crime and justice and matter and energy is another one, a much larger one, still unformed. Many people seem to think this area is bleak and frightening, but I visit it often and do so without fear because I’m always anchored. Not stolid, not steady, not stagnant: anchored. Though the winds of this outer universe may blow me where it will, I can always return home by following the slender golden chain which I have forged in life.

Every creative person in history has led a full life outside of their books and paintings and symphonies. They define their works, the works do not define them. They are human; they scrape their shins and feed the dog and need to pee. But all of them track the formless void of creativity. Some of them wind up in sanitariums or rehab or the gutter. Their anchors fail them.

My true roots are in my family and my pride of self. Without them, I could not travel so far or so boldly through the recesses of creation. The things I retain are reminders of these. If I didn’t travel so far and wide, I would have less desire for these beacons to guide me. They make it easier to come back, shake off the chill, sit by the fire, and set about to record where I’ve been.

Another word is written. Another note is played. Another image is drawn.

Another link is forged.

One Response to “Creating is imperative”

  1. Mark Vice Says:

    Great post!