Wednesday, October 24, 2018

One step ahead of the hangman.

I write this blog a day or two or three days before I post it. Usually, I have a post or two in the well, but there are times, like today, when it’s almost three o’clock in the afternoon and I have nothing for the next day.

It has nearly everything to do with my own neuroses that I feel compelled to write every day. In fact, I try to post most mornings by 8AM—earlier if possible. That means that on occasion I feel a tremendous amount of pressure to have an idea when I have none.

Fortunately, over the 11½ years I’ve been doing this, I’ve found a few safety valves. I have my stories about my Uncle Slappy and his Slap of the Week. I have my tales of the Tempus Fugit and my baseball stories from my long season down in Saltillo, Mexico. And I have my semi-irregular “Nobody Asked me but…” When I’m in a jam, I can usually bang out one of those posts.

It takes a lot, I think, to write as much as I do while still holding down a full-time job. But I’ve learned to write, during my career and through my blogging, by writing. Writing, in short, begets writing. I wish I knew how to say that in Latin—because to my ears it sounds pretty wise.  Something like: auctores scripto facit.

There’s a notion in the world today—you hear it, heretically, even from the highest precincts in our industry—that everyone is creative. Let’s suppose for a second that I agree with that. Here’s a distinction I would make, however.

Everyone is creative—but to be a creative, well, that takes work, and training. It takes dedication, persistence and even more work. And it takes the ability to take feedback while remaining true to your original vision. 

You can be creative. And not be able to be a creative. They're vastly different.

That is to say, that anyone can have an idea. “Let’s do a remake of ‘Citizen Kane’ as a musical-comedy.” I suppose you could argue that that idea is a creative one.

However, actually remaking Citizen Kane is much harder than just having a notion about it. Saying something and doing something, in other words, are not the same.

I can watch YouTube videos on changing a filter on my kitchen’s expensive plumbing, on replacing the transmission on my 1966 Simca 1500, or even open-heart surgery. I can conceptually do any of those things. I can do heart surgery, I suppose. But I'm not a heart surgeon. Of course, I can’t, with confidence and intelligence, do any of the aforementioned.

I guess if I were Hegelian, or believed in the Cartesian dialectic, I’d call that a subject-object split. But I’m neither of those things.

And what’s more, I have a blog to write.

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