Ideas Grow Up

Ideas are fun.

They scurry about your brain like a pack of preschoolers bouncing off the walls, full of energy and potential. In their youth and exhuberance they carry with them unrestrained potential and freedom. To be around them is exhilerating and the experience reminds us of the endless potential that exists all around us.

But ideas, like people, are not meant to stay kids forever. As cute and fun as ideas are, their impact is limited.

Ideas want to grow. They need to mature to realize their full potential. In order to serve their highest good, ideas need to live and interact with the world to figure out where and how they fit.

This is when your ideas become teenagers.

They are no longer the cute little ideas you remember. They are moody and beligerent. They demand independence and attention at the same time. Oh, and they need to be fed…a lot.

They have faults and cracks. Their skin is changing. Their voice is changing. There are parts of that child that exist but more and more those parts are buried underneath a new identity. You wish they were more like you and you wish they were less like you.

Most terrifying of all, you’re not sure if they’ll make it in the big bad world.

This realization tends to coincide with finding reasons why your ideas will fail, why they are not good enough, and why you should keep them inside.

But just like a 27 year old living in their parents basement, what kind of life does an idea have locked in your head?

Ideas don’t do you or the world any service by existing as a sacred object protected in the walled garden of your mind. Your ideas only serve their true purpose in the world, connecting with people. Even if it means they will ultimately fail.

Like children, ideas do not come to serve us and our sense of accomplishment. Ideas come to serve the world. We’re just here help them along.

To play with them…
To walk with them…
To let them fall…
To lift them up…
To brush them (and ourselves) off and try again…

In as much as it is our job to shepard them, and idea’s job is to get us out into the world doing what we we are here to do (right now).

They live so we live.

They become what they are so we can too.

Time for both of you to step out into the world.

Writing a bike

Pushing the bikeI want writing to be like riding a bike when I was a kid.

You rode your bike as a kid because it was fun. You didn’t think about the work involved in pushing the pedals of a single speed bike up and down the neighborhood. In fact you rode up and back and around and around until you were exhausted. After a quick trip home to grab a drink from the hose you got back on your bike.

On a good day the breeze gently pushed at your back and made you go faster than ever. When you turned around, the wind blew against you but it was a fun challenge to see if you were strong enought to meet its push.

If you felt daring enough you pedaled your hardest to the top of the local hill even though your legs felt like sandbags and your lungs burned with each gasping breath.

But if you didn’t make it to the top, no worries. There was no shame in getting off the bike and walking it the rest of the way because a crazy ride down the hill waited for you at the top. Legs out, eyes wide open, and loudly screaming you flew down the hill, uncontrollably at times, until you hit the bottom and coasted as far as your momentum carried you.

You kept riding and riding and every day went a little farther than before, a little faster than before.

And even though you didn’t have anywhere to go, you kept peddling because it didn’t matter where you were going. What mattered was that you were free.

Free to do what you wanted.
Free to do something you loved.
Free to choose your own path and go as fast, or as slow, as you wanted.

When mom called from the porch you pretended you were out of ear shot, maybe even rode out of earshot, to have just one more moment of the wind in your face and the freedom of sailing in the world on your own.

Free from rules.
Free from boundries
Free from parents.

So it’s all the more interesting that the older we get the harder it is to be creative (and in my case write). We finally have the freedom we so longed for as a child. We can go, be, and do whatever we want, whenever we want. There’s no two block boundry, no checking in with mom every hour, and no 5 minute warning when the street lights come on.

There’s just us. And that is scarier than anything we ever faced as kids. When it’s just us we have all the responsibility to be and do what is “right”. We worry about all the things our parents worried about for us while we carelessly zoomed around the neighborhood.

And that’s the challenge to being free creatively. To just be in the moment of doing without worry of anyone’s expectations. We get in our own way by worrying about what “should be”. There is no “should’ in creativity. There is no “right”. There is only you, on the bike, riding wherever you decide to take yourself.

No worries. No apologies. Just be.

And that can be terrifying.

Unless you think about riding a bike like you did when you were a kid.

Riding a BikeYou just have to get on the bike and go.

Don’t worry about if you’re good enough, if people don’t like what you make, if you make a mistake, or any “what if” that pops in your head.

You just have to get on the bike and go.

It was and always is about the ride. It’s about putting pen to paper, brush to canvas, strumming your guitar, or doing whatever it is that you are burning to do.

There will be wind and sweat and hills and falls along the way. There will be coasting and jumps and wheelies too. They’ll be times you have to come in and times you sneak out when you’re not supposed to.

But in every moment you practice your craft you embrace your right and choice for freedom.

Freedom to do what you want.
Freedom to do something you love.
Freedom to choose your own path and just go as fast or slow as you want.
Freedom to be YOU.

So get off the screen and write or draw, or sing, or do whatever you do. Go as fast as you can and as far as you can. Don’t worry about WHERE you’re going and just GO. Enjoy the wind in your face, the sweat on your body and let out a howl or two of excitement. And always remember the love you have for what you do. Just have some fun.

You just have to get on the bike and go.

Are you The Egg, The Chicken, or just a little Cracked

This is scary, this writing stuff, this making stuff, this putting yourself out into the world for everyone to see.

Am I an writer JUST because I write? Or do I need to write a certain amount before I AM a writer.

Chicken, egg. Egg, chicken.

Every artist faces this question. It’s something I’ve been thinking and reading and writing about (privately) for the better part of 8 years. The longer I’ve studied things the more I belive that this struggle isn’t exclusive to artists. It’s part of the human condition. It is the question that anyone who seeks to create something new in their life asks themeselves.

Am I a wife?
Am I a father?
Am I a techer?
Am I an accountant?
Am I friend?
Am I healthy?
Am I happy?

When are you ready to be and do the ideas that dance around in your head? When is it time to walk out on the stage and be who you want, do what you want? When are you ready to claim the title? Or does the mere boldness of committing yourself to an endeavor bestow upon you the crown?

When are you ready to make the jump from egg to chicken?

The answer is never.

Because you’re not the egg OR the chicken. You’re in a place we don’t talk about much (but we should).

You’re just cracked.

You’re brimming with the energy of change and it wants out of the shell. Bad. It’s potent stuff. Oh, and it’s really volatile. It can sooth one moment and burn the other. It’s tangilble for a moment, then slips through your fingers like smoke.

Above all though, it wants to be free.

We want it to be free too. Immediately. But energy moves at it’s own pace and I guarantee it’s never at the speed we want .

Here’s an even crazier part.

Sometimes you feel like the egg is inside you and the enery is brimming and simmering and smashing against the shell trying to get out through the cracks.

And other times you feel like you’re inside the egg and it’s getting real crowded in there. You want out, you want more, and you feel trapped. You know there is something better on the other side of the shell that surrounds you and you can see it through the cracks.

But as much as you want out, it’s scary to break through. As badly as you crave the release of the creative energy that’s bubbling inside, you have no idea how it will change you once it’s coursing through your veins.

That’s the tension of creativity and change. We always see the end of the journey, not the path. In that period of birth and newness there is always tension. It’s hard work being born. Just ask your mom.

Things will be different when you accept who you are.  And different can feel uncomfortable.  Maybe you decide it’s time to pack up and move across the world.  Maybe you don’t hit snooze on the alarm and instead get up and excercise.  Maybe you don’t get to sleep in on the weekends because your kid gets up at 6:30am.  Instead of going to lunch with friends you sneak away with your note book to pound out a few words for your next story.

In every case though, you’re where you supposed to be. It doesn’t feel like you’re the chicken, fully formed and prancing around the yard. You’re surrounded by pages of half started blog posts and stories. Pages and pages of ideas in your sketchbook. You have a tired screaming kid with piles of dirty laundry and a sink full of dishes. You’re tired and a little cranky as you put on you’re sneakers and head out for a run. Each of those moments is another break in the shell…another bit of you coming free.

This is the practice of being who you are.

And maybe, just maybe, you’ll never be the chicken. Maybe you’ll always be a swirling bundle of energy that’s always changing, always growing and evolving in reaction to what you experience everyday.

Maybe, we all just a little cracked.

Analog Time

The calligraphers’ tales point to reasons for this lettering renaissance, beyond its suitability for Instagram’s square, aesthetically pleasing frame. The first is flexibility. Designers want to keep their hand in the game physically, learning from the old letterforms that remain the base for new fonts, logos, and applications that take the scrolls off the page and into the environment. “It’s nice to slow down, take a deep breath, and go back to doing things in analog mode, be it drawing, knitting, sewing, or calligraphy—something that has been done by our parents, our grandparents, and many generations before that,” Yoshida said. “And we know that it won’t be outdated or expire in a year because our gadget du jour couldn’t keep up.”

Via The New Yorker