We have been living in a van for nearly six months now. Our journey has been quite pleasurable yet very difficult as well. The point of this whirlwind adventure has been to explore ourselves and put ourselves in new situations that might make us uncomfortable or history people. Songs kill enlightened beings with underwear popsicle uncles. Please don’t just open jello on my nano-mustard oven. I often ski without pants on, but rarely do monday mornings get nail biting languages. Justify it if you will. I just want to glue my trunk to everybody’s pinstripe pelvis.
* the above (and this) was (is) a creative exercise of Kim’s left hand & Steven’s right, working together like two hands normally would operate a keyboard, only without telling each other what we’re trying to say.
Steven: I’ve been thinking about creativity a lot over the past year and a half. What does it mean to “create” something or to be “creative?” I consider myself to be a creative person. I make music. I write. I solve problems creatively. To some extent, thinking about creativity has been helpful. It has fueled more powerful moments of creation and has helped me explore my creative process. However, I think thinking ABOUT it has ultimately gotten in the way (I think). Today I started reading a book called The Dude and the Zen Master. It is a dialogue between Jeff Bridges (the Dude) and Bernie Glassman, a – you guessed it – Zen master. Chapter one sums up the creative process quite succinctly: “Just throw the fu**ing ball, man!”
Hence the exercise above. One of the reasons we don’t blog as often as we’d like is we run into “writer’s block,” a condition that describes one’s unwillingness to just throw the ball. So we sat down with our ice cream and our blankets and threw the ball. Usually, at the beginning of the process, my brain is thinking, “Who’s going to hold the laptop? Who’s going to start typing? What are we writing about? What’s the point? What message or story, if any, do we want to convey?” Tonight, instead of caving in to those questions, I said, “How about you be the left hand, and I’ll be the right hand?”
Kim: So we started typing and a few sentences in I’m thinking “Where is this going? How do we write something like this that’s worth posting? This is fun and all, but shouldn’t we just write like we normally do?” I brought this to Steven’s attention and he convinced me to just keep going with it. And I’m glad that he did. Otherwise I never would have thrown the ball.
Steven and I are both thinkers. We think and think and analyze and calculate until we think we know exactly the perfect way to throw the ball. And then it comes time to throw it and we think about it some more. This is a great asset sometimes. And a big black hole other times. Like right now. Because I’m writing about thinking and I’m thinking way too hard about it! JUST THROW THE F***ING BALL, MAN!
SteveN: So that’s today’s lesson. Let go. Just do it. Stop thinking about it. Stop planning your next move. Okay, don’t ENTIRELY stop thinking about it. Don’t ENTIRELY stop planning. Use the tools and muscles you have. Just find new ways to use them and exercise them. Our first paragraph may not mean anything at all. At the very least, though, it opened up our minds to a new way of creating and got some ideas flowing.
I would recommend other people try this experiment: find a partner and sit down at the computer. One of you is the left hand. One of you is the right. Without speaking to each other, just type. See what happens. You might come up with nothing but gibberish. You might lock into a groove and make something awesome together. It could be the lamest thing you’ve ever done. OR it could be an insightful and illuminating experience. Whatever you come up with, you can post it in the comments section or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to read it.
I don’t know about you, but I could totally use some ball-throwing practice.
kim: Ready… GO!