ON CREATIVITY, HOPE & OTHER JUNK
(originally published August, 2014)
As I’ve explored and gone deeper into the fantastic, inspiring creative community on Twitter, I’ve found myself thinking more and more about the nature of creativity. Nothing too heady (maybe), but I guess I’d say I’m often in awe at the things determined people have been able to accomplish in so short a time.
To say I "love" discovering such creativity would be an understatement. The sheer variety of ideas and ambitions (some of my favorites appear in this post) is staggering. And although you always hear talk of the “democratizing power of the internet,” my interactions on Twitter are probably the first time I’ve really bought into that idea.
Admittedly, the exploits of such speedy exemplars make me feel slightly inadequate by comparison, but as many of those same excellent individuals reassure me, any project is a journey and I got a late start. Sure, I work at a glacial pace, but it was a long, meandering night with lots of drinking, parties, videogames to stagger back from. Lots of confidence to recover. Lots of time squandered.
No-longer-secret fears of inadequacy aside, I sometimes wonder if I’ll ever "make it" as a “successful” author (whatever that means nowadays), and eventually figure that I probably won’t, but there’s maybe a shot. Most people don’t, despite their most fervent wishes, and some don’t achieve notoriety until much later in their careers. It’s fine by me whichever way it goes. That’s not really the point of all this.
As naïve and old-fashioned as it may sound, I just want to tell a good story; a story that matters enough to someone to maybe make their life a little better, their heart a little larger, their day a little brighter than it was before they heard it. I think everyone has a knight in them. A brave and chivalrous version of themselves just screaming to take charge. Some hear the voice loud and clear, others don't for one reason or another.
I think I’d lost my own way for a while, bitter and frustrated by the state of the world (still am, but to a lesser degree). It took me a long time to realize that my insufferable, vapid focus on the external was merely a way of deflecting my anger at myself and the years I've wasted doing... well, very little. A comfortable life is an amazing gift and yet my heart had hardened and my sense of wonder had evaporated. I was content to dwell on triviality and embrace complacency. But a lucky collision of influences and circumstances somehow managed to shock me back to life.
Other people, just like me, are doing. Others are creating. Why aren't I doing the same?
I like to talk about influences; the impossible-to-quantify threads that connect seemingly disparate works of art. Many – and I do mean MANY – stories and creative projects have profoundly influenced me over the course of my life, not to mention the thoughts and feelings of the friends and family closest to me. And although I realize creative works may not be The Most Important Thing Ever (trademark pending) to all of my fellow humans, I do sincerely believe that art makes the world go ‘round; what makes life worth living. A world without creative endeavor would be a boring, flat place for sure. The wonderful folks on Twitter have reminded me that I'm not at all alone in this belief. It is, simply, a joy.
So, I persist and toil away on a variety of projects, the most prominent of which being this website and the tale contained within. It was started as a way to put my lunch breaks to better use, but now I am constantly thinking about A Knight Adrift.
Sometimes this focus feels like a kind of mania. The Knight Aveline has become my spirit guide and has been for almost a year at this point. I’m thrilled to have met this imaginary young woman who started as an absentminded character sketch, but has somehow grown into so much more. With any luck, that last bit didn't read as weird as it felt to write.
I’ve never found myself so singularly devoted to a character or cause. I’ve had a lot of false starts in the past, some of which are still very dear to my heart and will likely be featured here at some point. But for the first time in my life, the solemn warmth I feel in my chest whenever I think about this project assures me that I’m maybe – just maybe – on to something here. Whether it’s the right path, only time will tell, but with any luck, I’ll take you, Dear Reader, on a wonderful adventure with me and Aveline. I do have you to thank for helping me find this path, so I hope to repay you somehow.
I often worry that my writing isn’t inclusive enough, but I hope you know how glad I am to have YOU as a companion. I want to hear your story. I want to hear your fears and hopes. I want to learn alongside you and Aveline that valor and courage and honor can change worlds. Without you, I’m just a crazy man talking to himself in the dark.
Thank you, friends, drifters, knights, for inspiring and joining me on this journey. I hope we can lace up our boots and walk together a while.