Happy New Year, Creative Person!
Be not alarmed by the strange notebook sitting on your breakfast table. After twelve months of watching you struggle to produce anything meaningful, I’ve decided to give you some ideas. How do I know it’s been that long? You have a brand-new calendar, and once again it’s filling up with things that have nothing to do with your art.
I wonder if you realize how poisonous this document of chores, appointments, and deadlines truly is. All those obligations to other people — interlopers who decimate your attention and reorder it to fit their needs. How could you create anything after surrendering precious hours to them? If only you could see time through my eyes, as something I own, a “dream river” that flows to the horizon, delivering the oar to my outstretched hands, changing course with me, revealing its shallows and depths, murmuring words of encouragement whether I steer clear of the rapids or plow right toward them. This languorous space between now and now is where creativity lives. Not the noisy tyranny of someone else’s present.
You like that? Go ahead, borrow it. You’ll find many other gems in these pages. You don’t have to credit me, thank me, or acknowledge me in interviews. Just take what you want and leave the rest for the next person. And do have enough faith in my magic, and yours, to finish what you started. There’s nothing worse than accepting a gift only to waste it. What’s that?
Silly question. I’m able to help, so if a person wants it, I should help.
Ah, better question. Since you bothered to ask the real why, what motivates me to visit people like you, I will bare myself a little more. I am so, so tired of bad art. By bad, of course, I mean unfinished. Not living up to its full potential. And I’m right there, offering support, but fewer and fewer creators bother to listen. It’s as if some famous critic announced Byron’s “Farewell to the Muse” should be taken literally. The results speak for themselves: aborted art, miscarried metaphors, stillborn symphonies – the detritus of those who dared and then defeated themselves. A onetime genius on his knees, dirty and drunk, is ripe for exploitation. This is usually when an “entrepreneur” introduces himself, sees the half-baked projects, and announces there’s a market for them. I’m sure you know plenty of examples, and the names attached to that “art” are anathema to you. I swear, if one more businessman promises riches at the expense of reputation, I will strangle him with his necktie. The only thing holding me back is, I’m not entirely sure who’s the villain in these cases.
Ach, more questions. What do I get from this? I don’t know — can’t an ethereal spirit indulge in a bit of hero-play? I’m giving you something. Learn to accept. All I ask is that you finish the work. And burn your calendar.
I should be clear this is a one-time opportunity. If you ignore my help, or fail to complete your masterpiece, I will never return. And don’t bother stumbling through some meadow or forest, crying after me. I am relentless in my flight from those too stupid to accept my help. Just ask Miley Cyrus.
Have fun creating. When you’re done, just close my notebook and I’ll retrieve it when, at last, you fall into bed for that much-deserved rest. And if you dream of further help from yours truly, I might accept your invitation. But only if you really want it. And only after I return from another sojourn down my own river of inspiration.