This month, I've been celebrating my first year as a contributor to Intravenous Magazine.
Writing for this online zine delights me.
It forces me to reinvent myself every month, and takes me out of my writing comfort zone.
I write lyrics, first and foremost, and then I also write stories.
Eventually I got my own website, and my own blog, and eventually I stopped caring about certain things I'd write in my journal being too personal to be shared with the world. They were things I cared about, and it mattered more to me to share what I had to say, than feel uneasy about people`s reactions.
As I'll be developing further on in this text, people's reactions is not something one can control, as a creator, and should therefore be taken with a grain of sea salt. You release a creation out for the world to see/feel/read/experience, and there's a part of you that waits, anxiously, for people to express their reactions (or not). You'll actively listen to every word uttered about your creation, and watch people's body language in response to it. And then there's also this part of you that ultimately Does Not Care. This is the part of you wherein lies your pride in your accomplishment, and the reason why you started to create in the first place. This part of you will make you rise regardless of what people may or may not say about your creation, and the part of you that will make you Keep Creating, whether it's the next day, or the next month, or 10 years later.
After a few releases on my personal blog, I realised most people who follow me rather enjoy my writing. They send me private messages about their reaction, or they share my post with the people they know.
It makes me happy to write, and even happier to connect with other people through my words.
And so, last year, someone who's known me for quite some time now eventually convinced me that writing, another avenue than music, is something I should consider more seriously as an eventual career. So I figured I'd pitch out to a bunch of online magazines, and the most positive response I got back was from Intravenous Magazine. The fabulous editor told me he thoroughly enjoyed my writing, and suggested I would write editorials for his zine.
That was a year ago.
I do plan to reach out to more online magazines. Also, a dear friend of mine, together with her wonderful husband, have convinced me to write a book. I'll get to all these projects eventually, but right now, in between everything else in life, and a day job, and my monthly contributions to the site you're reading this from, I'm producing my second album.
Writing for Intravenous Magazine, as mentioned above, requires of me to get inspired every month to write a decent enough amount of words about Something (Anything) related to culture. As a lyricist and a storyteller, to write editorials requires me to draw inspiration from another part of the real world than the one I'm used to. It's mostly a growth experience, and allows me to explore my own perspective and opinion on matters I wouldn't necessarily have otherwise paid much attention to, but truth be told, there are times when I'm more inspired than others. For example, my November 2015 post entitled To Be Goth was written in response to an event that had happened a few days before. Sometimes, a writer gets gifts from Life like those -material presented on a silver platter.
And then there are times, like this month, when no matter how much I tried fishing out to any/all matters of culture, or subculture, I just couldn't hook anything up.
Original Game, my second album, has been taking my entire time and energy and focus, and maybe my head's just too deep in it, and I can't think of anything else.
So I'll share what I've been going through with this project over the past few weeks, which I know is something all creators eventually go through, at the border between the end of front line creation and the beginning of official execution.
The point in time where you're making executive decisions about the direction of your creation, and where you know that the people you're working with or for might actually get angry if you back up and change your mind again.
I'm sure this will touch all of you artists reading this -whether you're visual artists, or writers, or musicians, or film directors, or even jewellers. And for those of you who aren't, well, here's some insight into a very specific part of what is called The Creative Process.
I figured this was still about culture. If anything, it's about the culture within the culture. Or perhaps the culture of the culture within the culture.
As stated above, we creators proceed with our endeavours with the purpose to share them with the world. As we proceed, we first and foremost do so hoping that people will understand what we have created (and why) and secondly, that they will enjoy it.
We approach the release with the dichotomy of the two aforementioned perspectives: that we Deeply Care from the bottom of our hearts and yet also that in the end we do not care about other people's reactions that much, for in the end to each his own life, and one might as well do whatever one wants to do with it. I write We here, but I should really write I, for I do speak of my own personal experience of the past few weeks, but then again I know not to be the only creator with this mindset.
We dread a negative feedback. We dread not being good enough. I dread, above all else, Failure. But the facts remain that taste, in all things, from music to fashion to people to food, is extremely arbitrary. You will ask someone on a particular day whether they like a certain thing, a their response will be levelled on a series of various circumstances: how they feel that day and why, what happened in the hour prior to your question, whether they've recently eaten or not, their degree of fatigue, and so forth.
As it is, everyone is passionate about something -at least one thing. For example, if you've experienced over the past few months or years a very bad episode of food poisoning, it's likely that no matter what the circumstances of your emotion at the moment of inquiry, you will say a firm enough "No" to the question "Do you like [insert particular food name here].
People do have somewhat defined tastes. But when it comes to releasing a product or a work of art, or a certain meal or dessert or cocktail, to a certain level, the only taste you can trust is your own. If you like and are proud of the product you are releasing, then people's opinion is somewhat irrelevant.
Of course, when we create something and release it out into the world, we want as many people as possible to embrace it. But you can't please everyone, or force people to like something. Yes, publicity has its way of tricking you into believing that you're supposed to buy X product and that it'll make you happier, so of course you should get it and of course you're gonna like it. That's when an adequate sense of judgement and parsimony should come into play.
The fact remains that you can't please everyone, and the criteria on which you can gague your own level of pleasing are very fickle indeed. It is best, therefore, to settle on your own level of enjoyment, and then to trust one to maybe 4 or 5 other opinions -opinions you can trust that are given for your benefit, and from people you actually respect.
Remember, though, that the more opinions you get, the wider your perspective will spread, which, when it comes to exposing a creation to the world, is not necessarily good.
For example, if you're like me, that one negative comment will make you question everything you've just done, along with the purpose of your existence. It will also make you obsess over your project even more, and have you revisit every single detail and figure out a thousand ways of making it better, or so you'd think.
You'll deconstruct and reconstruct, and in a moment of clarity, you'll stop and say Waddam I doing.
Or you'll say OMG yes.
In all, make what you will of criticism, especially in the context of the production of a creation, but remember that in the end, if you're pleased with your work and you know it in your heart and your gut that you've created something positive that will bring about some form of evolution to humanity, in some way, as well as for yourself, of course, then that's the only opinion that truly matters.
We are what we create, after all.