When I was younger (like I’m so old now), I used to want to meet creative people whose work I appreciate, particularly Famous Creative People whose work I
appreciate follow obsessively. Not so much anymore. I’ve come to understand that a creative work (art, literature, music, etc.) is an entity unto itself, that once fully realized by a creative person becomes separate from that creative person.
What led me to this conclusion? A number of observations.
1) I’ve been to concerts by famous bands (Duran Duran, Dave Matthews Band, U2, Nine Inch Nails) and discovered that while the events are mostly enjoyable (except for the crowds), I never get as much out of the music as when I’m listening at home by myself. I commune with the music when I’m alone, rather than during a social event. Concerts are more about the social aspects of music, the volume, the crowds, the anticipation of attending a big event.
2) The vast majority of interactions between fans and famous creatives are lopsided, with the fan gushing and the creative feeling uncomfortable. It’s a stilted interaction wherein the fan feels he knows the artist because he has been communing with the artist’s work. Unfortunately, the fan doesn’t really know the artist because he doesn’t interact with her on a daily basis in regular life. The artists feels this gushing and senses it is out of proportion to her work (unless the artist has a big head and lives for the adulation). I’ve actually experienced this unnatural scenario from the artist’s perspective through the books I’ve written and it makes me very uncomfortable because …
3) The art (literature, music, etc.) is its own entity as soon as it is finished. As a writer and artist, this is what I experience. While I’m working on a piece, I’m in the zone – pretty much a daze of creation. This is when I, as a creative person, am communing most deeply with a piece, whether it be writing or art – the feeling is the same for both. Within the thicket of the creative process, I can’t be bothered. Really. Try having a conversation with me when I’m writing. I probably won’t remember much of it.
As soon as I’ve finished a piece, I’m done with it and on to the next thing. The further away in time the creative process for a piece gets from me, the less I feel the piece is a part of me. It’s another thing out there – its own entity. In fact, if I put a creation away, don’t see it for years and then stumble upon it later, I often say, “I made this?” I almost can’t believe the thing sprung from me and often don’t remember working on it.
The creative process is just something I do, a regular feature of my life that I don’t think of as something special. I don’t want it to be special or precious either. The nitty-gritty everyday-ness of it keeps me engaged and humble.
So, I’m no longer interested in having fan experiences with creative people. I’d much prefer to get to know them as ordinary peeps and, barring that, I’ll commune with their work privately.