N O B O D Y
tells this to beginners. I really wish somebody had told me this. All of us who do creative work … we get into it because we have good taste. But there’s a gap. For the first couple years that you’re making stuff, isn’t so good. It’s really not that great.
It has potential.
It has ambition but it’s not quite that good.
But your taste — the thing that got you into the game — is still killer. Your taste is why your work disappoints you.
A lot of people never get past that phase - they quit. Most people I know who do interesting creative work, went through a phase of years where they had really good taste and they could tell what they were making wasn’t as good as they wanted it to be — they knew it fell short, it didn’t have the special thing that we wanted it to have. Everybody goes through that. If you’re going through it right now, if you’re just getting out of that phase — you gotta know it’s totally normal.
The most important thing you can do is do a lot of work — do a huge volume of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week, or every month, you know you’re going to finish one story. Because it’s only by actually going through a volume of work that you are actually going to catch up and close that gap. And the work you’re making will be as good as your ambitions.
It takes a while, it’s normal to take a while. You just have to fight your way through. - Ira Glass
Once upon a time, when I used to go the clubs as regularly as the post man goes to the post office, with my make-up consisting of baby powder and lip gloss. When no one cared about my eyebrows or whether my face was contoured and my cheekbones highlighted. The days when lipstick was synonymous with matron ladies. I would dance the night away. At this club, the music was good but the execution was horrible. The transition from one song to the next would offend your eardrums, your epiglottis, your capillaries, your elbows, even the new outfit you bought for this party. Your senses would frown in disdain. Your body would stop and freeze because all you heard was noise.
Annoying noise with succinct scratches.
It reminded me of what my cat Dior did every time I went to the bathroom or when the tv channel lost signal. Sometimes it would sound like a loud boom followed by a scratch akin to fork on a pot. It sounded like
Boomclong claaannggpngala.... pang twiffftwaff..... SCreeeeeech!!
My face would scrunch up while my eardrums wailed in agony. The next song would resume but it would take you a minute to find your rhythm.
Rhythm was at the door asking for the coat!
The dj would keep on as if nothing had happened. Smiling. Head nodding, headphones between his head and the right shoulder, eyes directed to the computer screen. His hands going back and forth on the turntables adjusting the knobs and such. He was lost in his own world where his mixing was in perfect harmony.
My friends and I celebrated him, supported him. At one point, I kept on dancing to the scraping as the beat switched to the next. He kept having parties, I kept attending them. Regularly.
Then something happened.
The music started flowing like a river downstream, in constant harmony. It was gradual then slowly discordant and screeching transition stopped. He got confident on the mic. Hyping us to eternity. When he said OH! we said YEAH! OH - YEAH!! OH- YEAH....
The dancing would go on and on and when you wanted to stop and rest or grab a drink to parch your dry mouth, the music would not let you. It had woven its semi quaver like vines on your body. Rhythm was helping you dab your forehead. You were the instrument, every beat had your body moving to the sound. It was as if you were paying a debt. To the scrunchy faces you made, the glares you gave, the frustration you had for having your vibe killed while doing the Stanky leg. The dj became the mixmaster. Master is the key word.
When I walked into the fabric store a couple months ago, I heard someone yelling my name. It was loud! This random fabric with the most interesting print kept could not stop calling my name. A few minutes later it was being rang up.
When I got home, we stared at each other trying to figure out what to do. The fabric had an aversion to skirts or dresses. I thought it was too loud to become a jacket. Being the master, I went for something big and tent-like. Loud prints love attention. Not a skirt, somehow pants. We settled on culottes.
That is what became of the fabric that yelled my name.
I posted the quote you read in the beginning on my Instagram last night by Ira Glass. He is a radio personality, radio and tv producer who was talking about the creative process back in 2011. I go back to it now and then when I feel like my work is sloppy or when I need to dose of inspo.
In the past, I had done pieces that were never completed. Pieces left of mid process because I foresee the evolution of crap. Some never came to fruition. The creative process is marred with doubts and discontent. It is nerve wracking and painful. Your work will be crappy and so horrible it will make your eyes water, and like the dj, assault your ears.
Then one day, things will start having rhythm, the music will flow like a river down hill, fabrics will yell your name, and eventually rhythm will come to you. Some might not get it, others might not understand it but you LOVE IT. You love your work, that is all that matters. It is what keeps you up at night, what you think of when you wake up. The things you are passionate about are not random. Sing, paint, dance, sketch, paint, sew, photograph, tell stories...whatever your creative work may be.
Please, never stop creating, do not give up.
Cardio session yesterday was a beyond amazing. The mix I was listening to made me think of his my dj buddy. No one was born a pro. Shoutout to dj/mixmasters that keep us dancing. I appreciate you all.
Knit Top: HM
Pants: Roshie Anne (Coming soon)
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