Blog No. 90
TV and movies have introduced me to the idea of drugs. Other than a few past friends, I have no personal experience with anything harder than alcohol. I’m not going to bother getting into why, it’s just my decision, but everything I know, I learned from outside sources. I am lucky enough to be friends with a lot of talented people. Mostly they are artists of one kind or another, but some are gifted in business, athletics, or cooking. In talking with all those people (not necessarily at once) the idea of the feeling you get when you are perfectly in tune with your art (or craft) is ubiquitous. Whether it’s scoring an amazing goal in frot of a stadium of people, making the perfect dish for friends and family, or playing a show where everything comes together and the audience is completely invested, there is a feeling that everyone experiences.
I’m no chemist, but there is probably a really simple explanation with different secretions and receptions in the brain and body that adrenalin, endorphins, and whatever else, is released in the body at those key moments. Maybe it’s all in our heads, or it’s a spiritual thing – I have no idea. I just know that every artist I know has had his or her own special experience (or many) in the act of creating or performing. It’s probably the same thing that happens to doctors and nurses when they save a life. It’s a high that radiates inward and out that can change you and influence others. It’s where euphoria and excitement and possibilities and desire all collide and it’s a driving force that makes people push forward when things seem bleak or hopeless. I know artist definitely need that high to continue in a world where economics and reality bear down all but the most dedicated and lucky.
The chances that I am going to get anywhere with my writing is slim. I have a lot of learning, experience, and hard work ahead of me before I get to a place where I can even break even. I have to accept (especially given my age) that writing may never be more than a hobby for me. My highest goal is to make a living with my writing, but even that is lofty. More realistically, I just want to write the stories that clog my head. There would be no way I would spend the time and energy (and money) I do now if it weren’t for the feeling. The moment when I pushed through the lack of desire to work and get a thousand (give or take) words into a writing session and everything is coming together. The initial idea I had is mixing with the words coming out of my pen and I’m transcending my ability, pushing my limits. I am not sitting at a table writing, I’m in the story, I’m the characters and the scene and the words. I’m on autopilot, just along for the ride with brief moments of lucidity to drive the story to a place I want it to go. (Or not, and the characters run off without you and all you can do is run after them, trying to transcribe what they’re up to).
My brother has had some incredible moments on stage. He’s a musician who has traveled the hard road with compatriots, playing empty bars and full venues. He had the opportunity to play The Fillmore to a sold out crowd. (You can read my tag along experiences here: https://benwltp.wordpress.com/2013/01/31/finally-the-fillmore/). His band is Inoke Errate and I am a legitimate fan and think you should go give them a listen. He has a great description of being on stage in front a of 2500 plus screaming crowd. To paraphrase, he said he couldn’t tell you what time, day, or place he was. It was all about his music, his band, and the audience. A moment in time shared by friend, strangers and a feeling.
I don’t think I’ll ever have than kind of a moment in my life. The feeling I get when I’m really connecting with my writing is amazing and I strive for it now, but it’s a solitary thing. I hope that it will translate to readers and can make a connection over the void, but I’ll never share it. I, (like all the other writers, artists, and professionals I know) will always be chasing the dragon (to use a movie term). The feeling I get in the moment and the feeling I get when I finish a story. It’s become as important to me as getting the damn things out of my head. I’m going to be searching for it for the rest of my life.