Thursday, January 27, 2005

More on the Creative Life

Not all of us will be Picasso or Einstein, but I feel that almost everyone has the capacity to find a fulfilling and creative life for themselves. I'm influenced here by books like Do What You Love and Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway and How to Find the Work You Love.

The basic point boils down to this: find what you love and are passionate about in life, then do the hard work to incorporate it into your day-to-day living. The trick is that it isn't easy; in fact it's really fucking hard. Most people are lulled into a work/life that they're minimally contented with. Finding and maintaining a creative life is a monumental task with monumental rewards.

This doesn't mean that everyone should give up working at Modell's or WalMart and become an artist. But it does mean that if you love hockey or boating or nature or sculpture, you can find a way to make what you love an intrinsic part of your life.

As Woody Allen put it: 90% of life is showing up. That can also equate to showing up in front of the canvas, PC, amp, newspaper, journal, etc. Show up for yourself, and find what you need out of life.

Then go get it.


Anonymous said...

well said.


Eric Berlin said...

Thanks for your thoughts, Kyle!

birdwoman said...

However, there are some of us who have no love... just several likes. I find that my likes ebb and flow as hobbies of the moment. They always come back eventually, but I can't have them all right now. So, right now, I'm into blogging and six months ago I was heavily into genealogy, and before that it was knitting and before tha music. But it all goes in cycles.


Eric Berlin said...

Welcome to Dumpster Bust, Bird Woman, and thanks very much for your comments.

I think it's fine to several likes -- that's most often how I describe myself, in fact. I think you're way ahead of the game if you give yourself the opportunity to explore your many different likes. I found blogging to be a great way to explore mine: I get to write about whatever happens to be on my mind at a particular moment. Like you, my likes also go in cycles, which you'll see if you stick around here long enough. I'll talk about politics for two or three days, switch over to media, television, music, you name it. Right now I've got a lot going on in my "real life" so I've taken to just kind of chronicling it in as interesting a way as I can... and I'll just kind of see where it goes!

Strude said...

Thanks for that.

I actually needed to hear something just like that today.

Eric Berlin said...

Glad to be of service, Stude. Come on back anytime, y'hear?

Diana said...

I can so relate to the cycles thing. I ride waves of interests all the time. Immerse myself in exercise, charting lofty goals of physical achievements and pounds lost. Then something else (I call them my "shiny objects") catches my eye and I drop the exercising and dive passionately into the next thing.

Actually, it wears me out. I wish I were the kind of person who could moderately do a few things every day instead of total absorption (ok, obsession) in one thing for a month at a time...

Eric Berlin said...

Welcome to Dumpster Bust, Diana.

This topic actually kicked off at, and I was surprised by how many people are like you and I. For a long time, I shared your desire to "chill out" with the switching from one thing to another, or I wished I could pick one topic and become really good or really learned at it.

Over time, I came to the realization actually boils down to about six or seven major themes for me (writing, music, books, movies, television, politics, and sports, the latter of which is falling behind the others more and more each year).

Blogging has actually been very helpful in having a warehouse for all of these thoughts and interests. Writing is really the one thing that I'd like to be very good at, and this way I can talk about whatever obsession-of-the-day is brewing up well in my soul's kitchen. It's also resonated well for the fiction I'm working on. The old maxim is that writer's write, and it's true: writing begets more writing. It's like a muscle group, and the more you do with it -- and the more varied the exercise -- the stronger you become overall.

Anyway, hopefully you'll come to a place where everything sort of fits and makes sense to you with your "cycle." It's certainly an ongoing process.

cw said...

very well said.

I came to the realization that at 32, I am already done with what career path I have found myself in. Unfortunately, I also came to the realization I have at least 33 more years of it to go before I can legally retire.

I was an art major in college, and I still tell people I am an artist by heart, computer nerd by brain. Unfortunately, the brain makes all the money.

Thanks for reminding me to keep the faith.

You do it too.

Eric Berlin said...

CW -- Thanks very much and welcome to Dumpster Bust.

I don't think your job necessarily has to define who you are. It's an important part to be sure, but there are many avenues to finding a balance for work, creativity, and all of the other parts of your life.

Finding that balance might mean taking active steps to carve out time / space (physical and mental) to do what you need to do to be fulfilled. That could mean taking a class or having work space in the basement or issuing an edict that from 7 - 9 pm weeknights is your time and spouse / kids / relatives / friends should not bug you unless there's an emergency, etc.

VERY few people get paid to do what they really want to do in this life. The trick is to make the time for yourself and balance out the paying gig and the self-fulfilling one.

Eric Berlin said...

I'm pleasantly surprised at the great response this topic has received. As Dumpster Bust evolves, I may talk more about how creativity plays a role in my life and how that might apply to others.

Please keep the great feedback coming,

~ EB

Adam Shpall said...

Eric- I enjoyed reading your comments on finding the work you love. It is true that most of us settle for far less than we enjoy and are capable of. One of the tricks I've read about is that you should set your goals really high and create a vivid vision and desire to get what you want. The mind's belief in that vision will help it become a reality. ...and never listen to the skeptics!

Adam Shpall

Eric Berlin said...

Mr. Adam Shpall -- excellent to see you aboard, and thanks for your comments.

Another thing that occurred to me was an anecdote I read about years ago, that went something like this:

The person who finds the right job for them on the first go is akin to winning the lottery. The point is that it takes an awesome (as in grand) struggle to look within yourself and to the outside world in order to determine where you best fit in, and how to get there. Of course, there are always other factors: marriage, loss, kids, finance, hardship, and on and on. But within those parameters, I believe it is in everyone's best interest to take that path.