My Creative Life
I make things. I always have. It’s instinctual, like breathing and almost as important to me. But it’s not just the making of the thing that keeps me doing it. It’s the sharing of that thing with someone else, the connection that is established that makes us both feel less alone and more understood.
I’ve always made up stories, for as long as I can remember. Eventually, the stories turned into songs and I sang them. When I needed to figure out how to pay for a new transmission, groceries, an engagement ring and diapers I had to channel my making things into a vocation that earned more than gas money. So, I learned how to design things on the computer which led to building web sites (a new thing at the time) which led to programming applications which led to a career that allowed me to support and be close to my family.
Now our boys are mostly grown and don’t need me so much, at least not in the same way. I have more time, longer stretches of quiet when I’m not working. In that quiet, I have taken to writing longer stories, novels even. It is some of the most satisfying work I’ve ever done. Though it lacks the immediacy of a four-minute song played in front of a live audience. the connection is the same and deeper I hope.
My work has changed too, outside of my creative life. I don’t program anymore and rarely design much these days. I spend more time solving the problem of what needs to be made, what is of value to people, what would make their lives better, more interesting, more efficient. Some days I do miss just being responsible for making a thing without having to worry about if it should be made, if anyone will buy it, but I accept that my value these days is in my experience. Having made hundreds of things before and gained some understanding as to why some succeeded and some failed is important to the team and adds value to the process. It is how I can be of use now
I will still make things. I’m working on a third novel now and I’ve been tinkering with a new album for some time, but there’s not a hurry. There was a time I thought I would set the world on fire and that anything short of that was a failure. I don’t believe that anymore. It’s about enjoying the work, enjoying the process, enjoying the collaboration.