The only thing worse than writer’s block is having it after a long period where you don’t find the time to try and be creative; as soon as you do resume, and the the juices don’t start flowing at one, you soon risk finding yourself in a sort of existential crisis.
Creativity is like a pot of gold. It is what makes us human, not computers or beaurocrats. It is expediated by inspiration, which is something so ethereal that one can’t help wonder about the existence of a god or some other sort of enigmatic divine dharma-like life energy. It’s lesser cousin, inventiveness, evident even in other animals like dogs, apes, octopii, but also protists and molecules, rocket scientists, etc… can claim the same. However, the latter is inspiration in the face of problem solving; the former lacks concrete goals.
All the same, both are borne on the winds of that beautifully inexplicable inspiration. Inspiration. That one could just bottle it… what an ironically trite cliche.
It is a scientific fact, said my guitar teacher Billy Phillips when I was eighteen, you’re only inspired for three minutes maximum per month. I never exactly saw him walking around in a white labcoat, mind you, it was the second half of the speech that he meant to hit home: craftsmanship is what ties it all together. By craftsmanship, we mean a mixture of method, experience, and good old-fashioned mental elbow grease.
This statement was echoed time again by my composition profs at Belmont. A prime example given would be the notebooks Beethoven left behind. He started with a tone row, wrote it backwards, upside-down, then both upside down and backwards. Then he began to catalog a dozen or so variations or embellishments for each. Then, he started to compose. I myself don’t have it in me to be that meticulous in my creative process, but I did take a half page out of that book and keep my notebooks and tape recordings. Without those, I would never have written more than half of what I did in the last few years.
Then there are those who despite their vast prolificity do worship inspiration at the source of their choice. Young Bach, the little sparkplug who ripped around Germany to wail on one organ after another, whose name is synonymous with toccata (essentially meaning improvised composition–both an oxy moron and a redundancy simultaneously) became resigned to the life of a public servant, expected to constantly crank out new jams. It is said that on many of his original drafts he wrote at the top an abbreviation meaning “Jesus help me”.
Anyway, sometimes I am most creative in class, which brings me to the only idea I’ve had in the last three months:
Fahrenheit and Celsius — Temperature Cops
Two incompatible cops: one rather