Here’s another 100 Word Story based on an item from the Police Blotter of my hometown of Burlingame, California. Blotter listing and link to the listing on the web follow the story. Enjoy.
By Grant Baciocco
“Four thousand dollars?” Samantha asked raising an eyebrow.
“Yes.” Roger replied. “Four thousand dollars.”
“How is that even possible?”
“It’s all about the microfibers.”
“Yes.” Roger replied, holding them up. “These tiny microfibers are state of the art. They promote sweating and, in turn, weight loss.”
“Couldn’t you just put on an extra pair of sweat pants?”
“That’s the point!” said Roger, slamming his fist down on the table. “Because of these microfibers, you don’t have to!”
“But $4000?!” Samantha yelled.
“It’s all about the microfibers!” Roger screamed. “Didn’t you hear me say they are state of the art!”
When reading about artists and creativity, I find you often hear mention of famous writers hanging out together. J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, Truman Capote and Harper Lee, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Louisa May Alcott, just to name a few. In Hollywood, we hear about actors and directors who enjoy handing out with each other. Just look at the fun J.J. Abrams and Zack Snyder are having poking fun at each other while directing the new Star Wars and Superman/Batman films. If you follow Weird Al Yankovic on Twitter you will see pictures of him hanging out with Seth Green or Thomas Lennon. For a few years now I’ve listened to the Nerd Poker Podcast which features a bunch of comedians hanging out playing Dungeons & Dragons, something they had done for over a decade before starting the podcast. These are just a few examples, I’m sure a much longer list can be made.
So, why is it that famous creative types seem to gravitate to each other? Is it because they are part of the famous elite and only hang out with other famous people? While that could be the case in a few cases, I think it is more likely because creative people gravitate towards each other and they especially gravitate to other creative people they find inspiring. I certainly know that this is true with me.
When we were in the heyday of Dr. Floyd, it was creatively inspiring to hang out with the shows co-creator, Doug. A simple meal or hour spent playing Nintendo 64 or other some such hangout would undoubtedly inspire future episodes of the show or funny lines to throw in here and there. Currently hanging out with puppeteer and puppet builder Russ Walko will inspire funny ideas for projects. I also find that hanging out with Patrick Bristow, Chris Sheets, Alison Mork, Brian Clark, Vanessa Whitney, Kevin Bertnson or any of the other fantastically funny founding members of Improvitorium with inspire creativity and fun.
I think that, as an artist, it is important to create for yourself a nest of creatives you can hang out with and who will inspire your own creativity. Creative friends you can laugh with, bounce ideas off of and receive input from with no expectation of credit or ownership. Build this nest with care so that you have people you truly be your creative self with when you are with them. These are people who aren’t competing with you, they are people who are there to support you and you, in turn, support them.
And because of the marvelous age we live in, they don’t necessarily have to be people who live close to you. I have several people who I would consider are in my ‘creative nest’ that live on the East Coast and we use all the wonders of technology to keep in touch. Author Mur Lafferty lives in North Carolina and we communicate via text and Twitter often. Singer/Songwriter Carla Ulbrich lives in New Jersey and we often chat via email or text. Musician John B. DeHaas lives in Florida and we talk almost daily via the Voxer app. With technologies like these, not to mention Skype or Google Hangouts, it is quite possible to have a creative nest that spans the entire globe!
Be thankful for the support and inspiration your creative nest gives you. And if you don’t have one, begin building it today! It will only make you a better artist.
Do you have a creative nest? If so how long have you had one and how did it help you? Let me know in the comments below! Have a great week!
Mistakes. As an artist, you constantly strive to make your art as perfect as can be. We want what we produce and release into the world to be free from any flaw or error. This is a very noble cause and one you should strive for. If you aren’t happy with something, do not release it just for the sake of releasing it. Keep working on it until you get it to where you are happy with it. NOTE: You may never be happy with it, but we’ll talk about that at another time.
Striving for perfection is a great goal but you have to understand that, if you are like me, a piece of art you put out will never be 100% perfect. Striving for perfection is fine but if you keep striving for it you may never release your art. Working on one piece of art for the rest of your life chasing a certain Ideal may be fine for some but not for me. Did you know that Michaelangelo’s statue of David isn’t perfect. A flaw in the marble prevented Him from sculpting one of the muscles in Davids back. Instead of spending years trying to find a way to work around the flaw or get a new piece of marble and start over, he finished it, put it out in the world and then got busy working on something else.
When I listen to early episodes of Dr. Floyd I cringe and wish I could go back in and edit out mistakes. Tighten up the dialogue and pacing. But, as IV said on here before, the goal was to just keep making more episodes and in the course of producing over 150 episodes I learned how to tighten up the dialogue and pacing. And that’s why the later shows are cleaner. I made mistakes early on, learned form them, and used them to make the stuff I was creating better.
Mistakes you make while creating are, more likely than not, be extremely frustrating. That’s fine. The key is to learn what to take away from making that mistake and how the lessons learned there can help you improve your art.
You should never be so obsessed with never making mistakes that you don’t allow yourself to make them. Why would you want to make mistakes? Because sometimes those mistakes can make you look at your art differently and lead you to creating something even better than what you had originally started out to create. Mistakes sometimes open doors that give you a new view of how to present something. Or a way to change something to make it even better than you thought of before. I cannot tell you how many times a fumble in dialogue while reading a line has lead to a new and even better line for the project. That’s not always the case but sometimes it is and if I was obsessed with getting every line down as exact as it is on the script I would never have stumbled upon something better.
The other note I want to make about mistakes is that you can’t be so afraid of making them that you don’t pursue the art that your heart is leading you towards. If you want to sculpt (or paint, or write, or…whatever) and you are afraid to get going because you’ll make mistakes, you’ll never begin. Learn now, mistakes are going to be made and you’re going to learn from them and become better because of them.
We are humans. We are going to make mistakes. That’s perfectly fine. Be open to them. See if there’s something you can learn from the mistake to improve the piece you are working on or the next piece. See if there’s something about the mistake that makes the current piece even better than it was before. See if the mistake leads you to something new that you didn’t even think of before.
Do you have an example of a mistake that blossomed into something better than what you had planned when you started out? If so, tell me about it in the comments below.
Back in the early weeks of this blog I wrote about going to see Joel Hodgson’s show Riffing Myself gave me a lot of ideas for posts in this blog. Looking back over my notes I found one more that I think deserves mention here.
Joel spoke on how one of the things that really captivated him growing up were the album covers of Roger Dean. Roger Dean is an artist who designed album covers for a lot of different bands when Joel was growing up, and still does to this day. He is probably most widely known for his ‘far out’ designs for the band Yes. He also came up with the, sort of interweaving, logo the band has used for decades. When Joel was younger, Roger Dean collected a lot of his designs in a book called Views and it became a big inspiration to him. He mentioned that not only were Dean’s designs in the book, there were also pictures of the design in process. Starting with rough pencil sketches to the finished project. Joel said this really clued him in to the idea that really great art isn’t just made instantly. There’s a lot of trial and error to getting something right.
Looking at Dean’s work gave him the idea of, “If it’s not perfect, it’s not done.” Dean would labor over something until it is exactly the way he wanted it and this process is all laid out in Views. Joel adopted that in his work in creating. He realized in order for something to be done, it had to be perfect.
I agree with this. I whole heartedly agree that is there is more work to be done on a creative project, it should get done. But there’s also a very dangerous side to this philosophy. It’s one we will delve into again in the coming weeks but, if you’re constantly striving for perfection, you’ll never release your art. You’ll get mired down in getting the current piece so perfect, you’ll never release it.
I don’t think what Joel is talking about when he says if it’s not perfect, it’s not done is that you constantly work on something until it can’t be perfected anymore. I believe he’s saying until your piece of art is the way YOU want it and YOU are happy with it, it isn’t done. Now, I don’t know Roger Dean personally but I think if you asked him, and he was like most artists, he would tell you that there are little pieces of the Yes logo that he wishes were different. And maybe he even changed those things in later revisions. But he worked on the design until he felt it was perfect to show the band and then release.
If you are working on a piece of art and there’s something bugging you about it, change it. You need to be happy with what you release. Don’t release art that doesn’t please you. But don’t spend the rest of your life chasing that perfection. There’s got to be a point when the project is done and you move on to the next one.
I’ve heard it said that writers write books for just one person. I think that can be applied to all fields of art, not just writing. A painter paints to impress one person. A dancer creates a dance to please one person. And I think that person, should be, you, THE ARTIST. If you aren’t happy with what you’re making, do not release it.
If it isn’t perfect (meaning makes you happy), it’s not done.
Do you wait until you are happy with a piece of art before you release it? Or do you fall into the trap of always wanting to tweak it and never let it go? Let me know in the comments below. Have a great week!