Begin at the beginning

The inimitable and incomparable William Fitzsimmons recently posted the following snippet on Facebook as part of a longer post introducing his new album:

When you feel you are on a wrong-headed path, the quickest way to get where you want to go is to turn around, head back, and start again from the point you went askew.

And so I did.

I returned simply to the things which have always brought me some measure of understanding, peace, and movement. I began to write and play music without “motive” or “goal” or end result in mind. The way that I wrote when I first began.

I’ve been a bit puzzled lately. I have so many cool things going on in my life, but there’s been this cloud of malaise hovering over me that I can’t quite seem to shake.

I was clearing out some digital documents today when I happened upon my 2011 effort for National Novel Writing Month, a 50,000 word piece of rambling focus that manages to collapse upon itself at the very end in a very “deus-ex-machina” manner.

But it’s my masterpiece of dubious and rambling focus. Something I created myself — something that I created out of nothingness. My little moment of playing God, giving birth to characters and plots and star-crossed destinies. I re-read the first few chapters and I was instantly caught up in the excitement of the plot, the tumultuous first discoveries of the main character that forms the theme for the rest of the story.

And in that moment I realized that I’ve been missing the act of creating. I’ve been so focused on the financial, temporal and social returns on the various efforts in my life that I’ve forgotten to experience the sheer joy of being creative. Of bringing forth something that matters so little in the grand scheme of things, but matters immensely to a very few people — and perhaps, to only one person. Me.

The reboot of (and the composition of this article) are my first little forays back into the world of the creative. The world of other worlds, where language, music, and imagination act as catalysts in the creation, destruction, and rebirth of things that matter to many people — and things that matter to only a few.

In creating, the only hard thing is to begin: a grass blade’s no easier to make than an oak.

- James Russell Lowe