Words on a page

You should read this blog. No, not this blog … this blog. Here’s a few random quotes:

I’ve never been a fan of those “Love Is” comics (you know, with the naked children with the big methed-out eyes and scary lack of genitalia), but I’m pretty sure they never published one that read: “Love is… giving him sponge baths and cleaning up his poop as he waits for the sweet release of death.”

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When you live in the same place for too long, the weird stuff starts to blend into the background. I doubt if a farmer has ever looked out on his back yard and thought, “Holy shit, look at all those fucking cows! How the hell did I end up here? Have I seriously not had a friend in the last decade who I haven’t milked?”

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At some point during the evening, they casually mentioned, as if it was the most normal thing in the world, that their home is haunted by a ghost who likes to play pranks on them.

“At least once a month, we’ll wake up under our bed,” the husband told us.

“Excuse me?” I asked. “Under the bed? As in… on the floor?”

“That’s right,” he said with a giggle. “We’ll open our eyes and we’re staring up at the bed frame, wondering how the heck we got there. It was kinda spooky the first time it happened, but after awhile we just got used to it.”

Check it out. Seriously. Good. Shit.

I must admit that it intimidates me a bit to read the work of someone who blogs this well. I know it’s stupid and pointless to compare my feeble scribblings to a professional writer with many magazine credits and no less than six published books, any more than it is to judge my crappy 80′s songwriting attempts by, say, Lennon/McCartney standards. But even though there’s no way in hell I can measure up (nor should I expect to), the same thought nevertheless occurs to me that I had back then, when I thought there might be a chance I could actually become some sort of musical “artist”: I am merely average; not terrible, but not great, and certainly not good “enough”.

I have long believed that every single person on the planet has emotions and thoughts bubbling around in our brains that can be expressed in some creative way if given the opportunity — whether it be painting, photography, writing music, poetry, or any other art form. But to me, two primary qualities distinguish “average” from “great”; one, of course, being the quality of the work, but the other being sustainability. For most of us, once we get those few burning thoughts out of our systems and are reasonably pleased with our efforts, we’re spent. Done. Pack it up, that’s all she wrote. We quickly realize that while we might have a modicum of talent or ability, we have no original thoughts or emotions that haven’t already been better expressed by someone else previously.* “Why re-invent the wheel?”, a potential artist might logically ask. If I can’t be “great”, then why bother at all?

Thank God everyone doesn’t think like this, however, otherwise there would have been no words written after Shakespeare, nor would anyone have attempted to compose music after hearing Mozart. Much of what’s called “the creative process” involves some form of imitation; after all, there are only so many human emotions. How many songs throughout history (or at least within the last 50-60 years) can be distilled, at their most basic expression, down to “I love my baby”?

Nope; I’ll keep on blogging, even though so many others do it better. Millions of average writers like myself will continue to spill our average words on the page/screen, in the hope that eventually one of us will create something truly original and noteworthy that stands the test of time. It’s human nature, and if we don’t strive for it, we’ll never achieve it. Thankfully, blogs like the one I discovered today inspire me to keep trying.

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*Musically speaking, to a certain extent this explains the “sophomore jinx” that many bands experience; their second effort being vastly inferior to their first, because they’ve already said whatever it was they had to say and failed to deliver on their initial promise. It is also for this reason that I think the whole idea of a “cover” recording of a signature song already well-done by a famous artist is patently absurd.

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