Getting to Work or Waiting for Creativity?

Black Haired Guy thinks about what is more important: creativity or determination and hard work?


Sometimes you hold a certain set of beliefs about the world and upon inspection realize that they’re contradictory.  Both views sound good enough to be taken as fact but together they don’t make any sense. I’ve recent ran into a set of these contradictions upon thinking about goals, success, and “getting somewhere” in regards to long-term dreams. I want to be a writer, a blogger, or something along those lines. As you can guess these take a certain about of blatant creativity as well as dedication to keep working on goals and remain determined. On one hand I believe in the “sacredness” of creativity and how you simply can’t force it. In the strictest sense if you have no ideas for a story or a song (or whatever artwork you do) and you sit down and try to “force it” I think it will turn out to be shit. Like if I forced myself to write a blog post without having any inspiration behind it it will be shit. Take this for an example. I’ve been thinking of this topic for a week or two and I’m not “forcing it.” My other mantra is something about hard work being required to get somewhere, and not just hard work but that determined focus on goals and an insatiable appetite for working towards them. Trying to do anything means getting shit on over and over again and this requires some determination to keep going despite the shit. Taken separately they sound pretty good and I can give examples for both. But taken together? “You can’t force creativity but you need to fucking keep going and remain determined.” What?

That leads to some really shitty times where you’re sitting down wanting to write a story or a blog but not being inspired to write. You end up sitting there and staring at the computer or paper and just getting angry. According to my first mantra if you’re in this state you shouldn’t sit down and try to write some uninspired bullshit because it will suck. Obviously if you have an idea then you need to work on it but what the hell do you do if you aren’t inspired? Force yourself to write shit?

I think what started me thinking about this was some Stephen King quote about writer’s block being bullshit, or was it Jerry Seinfeld? Fuck. I’ll try to find it now…

Fun fact: it’s both. Seinfeld said in a Reddit Ask Me Anything thread that “Writer’s block is a phony, made up, BS excuse for not doing your work.” and Stephen King said that “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” They meant that, yes, there will be times where things don’t come easy with art where you aren’t inspired but that it is no excuse: the second mantra of hard work and determination is more important that being inspired. They use the term “writer’s block” but we know what that means; it means not being inspired. Confronted with that information from actual successful people who are considered experts I’m inclined to nearly abandon the first mantra of creativity not being able to be forced. I suppose I still think of it that way, but you can’t just sit around and wait to be inspired. Perhaps by working on something you will get your mind active and thinking of ways to be creative. Either way it seems the “hard work” part is more important and must outweigh sitting around waiting to be inspired.

Have a blockquote too. I never get to use them.

Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.

-Stephen King

BIG GOALS and tiny details

Big Goals are made up of tiny, individual struggles. They can wear you out, and how to perhaps manage the struggle.

Goals are really easy. Think of the “big goals” and the crap you tell yourself when you’re a kid that you’ll do as adult. Become a doctor. Go to college. Travel to Europe or Asia. Have a family and a few kids. Start a business. Or, crazily enough, perhaps start a personal blog. I mean they’re easy because they’re basically straightforward goals. You just have to make progress towards the goal. But the strange and really crummy part is there is little to no glory chasing your dreams on a day-by-day basis. These dreams and goals that are wonderfully glorious in and of themselves are really made up of a bunch of tiny and mundane things that are where the actual work and struggle exists. Big dreams are easy, but they’re made up of hundreds and thousands of tiny, boring, and mundane struggles which is where things can become difficult.


A Blog Example

As I’ve stated in my last post, this site, theblackhairedguy, has been rather derelict for the past half year as I’ve started a new blog over at EverythingSucks. And as stated, that blog has more of a vision than this one does; theblackhairedguy was always meant as an introductory experiment where I actually learned what the hell I was trying to. Having sort of accomplished that, I wanted to move on to a blog with a vision and try to be very professional about how I went about it. I had a well-defined goal finally.

And I found that, duh, the primary goal of “Making a Successful Blog” really had a bunch of other smaller goals that make it up. You might even call them “Intermediate Goals” because even if they are more specific than “Make a Blog,” they still are rather general. My point here is that you can’t just “go out and make a blog” anymore than you can just “go out and get a doctorate in quantum electrodynamics” (well you can but it will probably be shit). Here’s a quick list off the top of my head regarding some intermediate goals to making a blog:

  1. Find a good blog name
  2. Find a good domain name
  3. Format the blog properly
  4. Find a decent logo or banner to represent yourself
  5. Write good posts
  6. Make a Facebook page
  7. Market the Blog
  8. ….
  9. Blog is Successful!

What you’ll probably realize is that these steps are still too general to pick away at and that they still become complicated as you try to chip away at these smaller goals. Take step number 4, “get a logo.” It sounds easy but once you get at it, you realize that you now need to account for image sizes: Facebook has a square profile so the logo must be square for that page, and the WordPress banners dimensions vary based on what design you go with, so immediate the simple “logo” step is complicated by image dimensions, formatting, and the like. Facebook also has differing image dimensions for cover photos for mobile and desktop. How do blog post banners format when you share them in Facebook? How do you make sure you can keep the same colors? Does the program you use use hex code colors? What the hell even is hex codes? If it doesn’t, can you convert to RGB colors to keep things the same? Does the banner and logo even look nice? Even if it’s formatted properly you can’t have it look like shit. Here’s a list of all the crap I ran into when designing logos and banners for EverythingSucks:

  1. Have your sister make a logo because she’s better at design than you are
  2. Discover Facebook cover photo dimensions and proper formatting
  3. Ask sister to make new banners and logos in the correct dimensions
  4. Sister is kind of a slacker and doesn’t follow through
  5. Ask sister what program she used to make the images (Phonto)
  6. Attempt to reverse-engineer original banners to create my own
  7. Take image ratios and find proper pixel dimensions
  8. Use online program to find colors in hex code
  9. Discover Phonto doesn’t do hex code colors
  10. Convert hex code into RGB colors by using some website
  11. Finally succeed in making banners, logos, and cover images that are up to par!

Obviously that was really complicated and a pain in the ass. That’s my point though: these intermediate goals are filled with some total bullshit that you’d rather not worry about. What started as a general goal of having a blog somehow led me down the path of converting hex color codes into RGB and downloading Phonto onto my Samsung phone. It was challenging too and I thought about giving up a bunch of times. When I started off on the blog creating journey, I wouldn’t even think that I’d spend days trying to reverse engineer a perfect logo and become frustrated with how little blogging I was doing in trying to make a blog. But a decent logo and banners are still really important and I had to pick away at it.


Getting Bogged Down and Managing It

What you can probably guess can and will happen is that you’ll sort of get lost in the woods on these tiny small steps. Making a logo is a pretty important aspect of having a blog and a brand, so you want it to look nice. But if you get too carried away at it you’ll never make any progress! There’s a perfect balance to be found between the small mundane goals and your primary goal: you can’t half-ass the tiny goals and have a successful primary goal but you also need to know when to move on with the smaller crap. Think of a road trip: you have to focus on your destination and not get bogged down visiting shitty tourist traps along the way. But that’s a shitty analogy anyways so whatever.

I take inspiration from Elon Musk here I suppose. In case you don’t know who he his, he’s the CEO of SpaceX, Tesla Motors and did some stuff with PayPal way back in the day. Here I’m going to talk about his vision for Tesla Motors. You can imagine how difficult it is starting and running a successful car company, but he made a “master plan” of sorts with regards to Tesla Motors. The link is to the “part two” master plan, but details the first one. If you don’t want to use the link, it says:

  1. Create a low volume car, which would necessarily be expensive
  2. Use that money to develop a medium volume car at a lower price
  3. Use that money to create an affordable, high volume car
  4. And…
  5. Provide solar power. No kidding, this has literally been on our website for 10 years.

This company has been around for over ten years and step 3 in the plan, build an affordable high-volume car, has basically just been accomplished this week as the first Model 3 vehicles were delivered to customers. If you’re aware of the company, you might know that step 1 is the Tesla Roadster, and step 2 is the Model S. My point here is that he made a master plan with 3 (4 or 5?) steps that was his basic outline for the entire company for a decade. And while the plan hasn’t been smooth sailing at all points in time, you have to admire how well it has been followed with me able to name the exact vehicles that satisfied the steps! Now remember how terribly complicated it is to manage a company and admire the clarity of the plan…

I think this technique would work well in almost all areas with the only downside that I can see is if your “master plan” has flaws that aren’t realized yet. An example would be going to college for a career that would soon be in decline; it’s could be the most detailed and well-executed plan ever, but if you deliberately end up in a shitty field that’s you’re problem and not the plan’s fault. So the plan should be somewhat flexible and open to new ideas, but it should also be your guideline to follow when you start to get bogged down in the minutiae of daily bullshit challenges. Imagine if you’re going to college for the first time. It probably sounds really complicated when you get down to the details, but in reality all you have to do is find a school, apply, take classes, and pass the classes! Easy, right?! I’m just saying that when you’re trying to figure out how to schedule an entrance exam or figure out financial aid or finish a research paper, it sure would help to have a big, golden “GO TO COLLEGE AND FINISH A DEGREE” plastered on a wall in your room, or even mentally in your mind to keep your focus. That’s how it’s been with blogging, and apparently with every remotely complicated goal ever in life. Keep your focus and make it through the daily challenges!

It’s Been Awhile…

Black Haired Guy reflects on the state of his derelict blog.

It’s been nearly six months (or so?) since I wrote my last post on here, and it was sort of an easy post to just toss out there; it was something fairly safe and typical. And I haven’t written a damn thing for this blog since. It makes me feel kind of sad looking back on it, as apparently I have quite a few followers and have had quite a bit of views; things were actually starting to look up for me on here and it’s sad to see how I’ve let it all sort of drift away and fall apart, especially since it was my first attempt at blogging. But maybe all of that negativity isn’t actually necessary quite yet.

What really happened was I started a new blog titled Everything Sucks that is over at the wonderfully titled ( I put the effort into an actual domain name!). I finally figured out a theme I could run with that sounded good, and could churn out post after post that were all related to a common theme: everything in life sucking. You see, this blog here, theblackhairedguy, was my first blog and was meant as an experiment; as you all know, you need to start every journey somewhere and starting is always an awkward and painful experience. And so that’s what this blog is. Like I said in the about page, I never had much of a plan and always intended to work things out as I went along, and that’s exactly what I did. Many of these posts had a common theme — a sort of reflection on many various facets of life — and while they varied quite a bit, I think there was still something underlying them all, even if I can’t exactly put it into words.

As I said, I have this new blog over at Everything Sucks and I think it is a much more professional job and that things are tidier over there. I even have set banners for blog posts! I’m working from a single theme — everything sucking — and this naturally keeps things coherent as all posts must be from a certain point of view. Check it out and follow if you’re interested! Despite this project that I’m proud of, there are some things I write that are more reflective than statements about life and how it sucks…like sometimes you need to just think aloud write about things instead of always trying to prove a point. There seems to be certain things I write that seem to fit this blog’s perspective on things rather than showing how they suck, and while they do suck, I tend to think that this might be a more introspective blog than Everything Sucks, and that they may be able to coexist.

My main problem is that of time; it’s hard to focus on two blogs as well as the bunch of other random shit I do in my life. But coming back on here has left me with a realization that I have plenty to write about on here away from the purposeful pessimism of Everything Sucks. While I’m not promising anything, I might have to start posting some things on here again. And if you happen to read this, well, thanks for taking the time, especially since it’s been quite a bit of time since I’ve posted.

Video Games are a Waste

Everyday I wake up and tell myself that the day will be different: that I’ll get up and do something. I don’t really know what the do something is, but I think we all sort of know what it means. Usually we wake up, cook breakfast, take a shit, go to work, get the kids off to school, and whatever else it is that we do. It’s what we do, and we do it mindlessly. It’s the idea of routine, the regular, and the mundane that we usually occupy our lives with. So when I say to do something, I mean making something special of the day. And I usually fail miserably at it.

There’s these things called video games that are sometimes (usually) the bane of my existence. The problem I have with video games is that they’re sort of productive, but not productive in the way that I actually want to be productive. They’re a shitty middle ground of productivity, nothing notable in the grand scheme of things like finding a new job or applying for college but notable enough that I feel my day wasn’t a total waste of existence.

Life is short, we get old, and we die (I’m starting this year off in a great mood as you can tell). We all know this. But in the day to day scheme of things, we act like we don’t really care about that fact. One of the most hated things to me is passive TV watching. You know, where you turn the TV on, plop down, and just watch whatever it is you can find on TV. You might not even like the damn show, but you’ll watch whatever just to pass the time. I hate this with a passion, because like I said, we’re all going to die and sitting watching TV seems like a terrible way to use THE ONLY LIFE YOU HAVE. Let’s do something notable, alright?

I want to wake up, write a story, get it published, and help change other people’s lives for the better. Or get rich and build a homeless shelter. Or install rain barrels for people. Ya know, the proverbial something. Or at least fill out a couple of job applications. This is the optimum productivity I’d like to achieve, but this level of dedication is pretty hard. People are lazy and scared of the future. When everyday that you live seems so typical and ordinary, turning one of these days into a day where you act on your future dreams is really scary. Like of all days, what if today is the day that I write the story that will finally get me published? What if today is the day that I realize I’m really good at something? That’s terrifying. Terrifying in a good way, but still scary. As boring as a typical day is, at least it’s a boring that I’m used to and comfortable with.

But back to the video games. I differentiate them from TV watching because they are interactive and tell a story. And sometimes this story is a magnificent story that rivals that of some movies. You actually have to make an effort to beat a video game, and it seems quite a bit more productive to do this than to veg out on the couch with whatever-the-fuck is on TV. The problem with this is that it really isn’t productive at all. Yeah, you’re making progress, but you’re making progress in a video game that will have no bearing on your future at all. When you die, you’re not going to say, “Wow. I sure am glad that instead of starting my own business I played Bioshock: The Collection. I mean at least I didn’t watch TV!” It’s lame.

So that’s my problem with video games. By playing them, I feel like I’m making progress in the world, and I am sort of, but it really doesn’t matter. I’ve had an Xbox 360 for years and got all sorts of achievement. But guess what? I have a PlayStation 4 now and those achievements are all for nothing. For all purposes I could’ve just taken a fuckton of naps throughout the years. On a scale from 1-10 where 1 is watching mindless TV, and 10 is starting your own business, video games are like a 3. Or maybe a 4. Or maybe a 2 when you consider that the sun will consume the Earth in a few billion years. I don’t hate video games, and I hope no one thinks that because I really do love them. That’s kind of the problem. It’s just that when I don’t do shit in my day and plop down to play Minecraft I feel like an unproductive piece of shit. Maybe it’s just me though.

Hey, at least I wrote a blog post about it though!

The Biden Memes


We’ve all seen them: the Joe Biden and Barack Obama memes. They’ve been around a little bit earlier if I remember correctly, but seem to have been hiding in relative obscurity until that certain thing happened a little while ago. And you also know what the hell I’m talking about: the election of Donald J. Trump to the office of President of the United States.

I think it was a shock to most people. Most polls prior to the election had Clinton with a notable advantage, and as the night wore on things became bleaker for the Clinton camp. Eventually history was made and, well, you know. I don’t want to do a recap of it because I’m pretty sure everyone knows what happened and has plenty of their own opinions on the matter. I’m still trying to fully process what has happened myself, and I’m proud I was able to get some sort of post out within a week.

So what’s with the Biden memes?


What is a “Biden Meme”

Here’s one. 


Most of them show President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden doing something. They’re usually mundane photographs from some point in the past 8 years that show the two interacting. (Like the previous picture. Obama is on the phone, probably on speaker, and Biden is listening intently.) Or Biden will be looking at a paper with Obama pointing at it. Or he will be relaxing in a chair while Barack has his hands clasped over his face, looking rather exhausted or deep in thought. The pictures themselves aren’t anything fancy and would fit properly as a photo to any typical news story.

What makes them a meme is the silly-ass dialogue that occurs between the two. Confronted with the prospect that the unlikely Trump will soon be moving in, Biden (usually) is seen plotting against the new president in hilarious ways, with Obama (usually) acting like the adult and telling Joe that he can’t follow through with what he is plotting. Biden is a playful, revengeful, teenage-esque character with Obama acting as an adult figure, or maybe an accessory bro to the prank. He might not approve but he does little to prevent Biden from following through with his plot. These include leaving fake birth certificates around the White House and changing door knobs to cats, all of which are hilarious throw-backs to various things Trump has said on the election trail the past year and a half. Some also show Joe being very petty and simply wanting to punch (“offer him a ‘knuckle sandwich'”) or insult Trump/Pence, or him wanting to booby-trap the white house ala Home Alone style.



Why, of all things, Biden memes at this point in time?

Despite initially running against each other (and a bunch of others) in the 2008 primaries, they actually are rumored to be best buddies. Check out this tweet from Biden:

Isn’t that cute? It’s from Biden’s official twitter page too.

It’s this camaraderie that the memes speak towards: Biden and Obama really do seem to be best buds with a relationship that many other Presidents and VPs probably don’t share. Can you picture Bush and Cheney in these memes? How about McCain and Palin? Hillary and Kaine? No way. I mean maybe you can picture JFK and Johnson being bros, but Trump and Pence….no way. It’s a serious matter between those two. To quote our future president: Sad.

The memes aren’t true, of course, and this is where they turn bittersweet. I doubt that when Obama and Biden leave the White House in a few months they’ll hang out on the weekends or watch Netflix together. Maybe they’ll visit each other occasionally, but they’re not actually roommates, contrary to the memes. We’d like to pretend though. It’s cute to think they really are the best of buds, even though they likely aren’t as close as portrayed. And sadly, they really won’t prank Trump or Pence. Biden won’t really say “A loser say’s ‘what?'” as he blocks the door to the White House.

And we are talking about Barack Obama and Joe Biden here. Imagine a president who is set to lose all the policies he enacted in the past eight years, perhaps immediately. Is he worried about his legacy? Is he angry? Regretful? He still act’s respectful, but you have to imagine the man screaming inside. The first African American president who will be followed not by a female in the name of progressiveness, but by Trump. The same goes for Joe, too. The man lost his son not very long ago, and was the reason he himself didn’t run for president. Some of the photos in the memes are from right after his son died. The man was grief stricken, and you have to give him credit for staying as strong as he has been in his position.

And this is where the memes get their strength: they reflect the current situation between these two men who have been in the White House for the past eight years; they capture their humanity even in the highest office in the land. And even though they acknowledge a Trump presidency and their own legacies look to be lost, they take it in stride by simply wanting to prank them as they leave. They’re happy, carefree, and not worried about the future one bit.

The memes are literally a coping mechanism for something that is hard for a lot of people to grasp. Harambe was another popular “tragedy” that has been memeified. The gorilla, shot and killed over something he was unable to comprehend, was an unsettling thing to think about. It was a nuanced issue: did the ends justify the means? Would the kid really have been hurt? Were the parents to blame for Harambe’s death? It just doesn’t seem fair how the entire thing ended. We were affected as a people, and we turned to memes of Harambe to laugh, to cope, and to help us get by. Now, when we reflect on Harambe, instead of the confused grief we originally felt we can smile as we imagine “dicks out for Harambe,” and how the poor gorilla has been enshrined in our cultural lexicon as a meme and a way to make people laugh.


So here we are: people are terrified of Trump, his rhetoric, and what the next four years will bring. Imaging yourself as a child of an illegal immigrant family, or a Muslim, or anyone else Trump’s rhetoric has targeted. Maybe you’re dependent upon the Affordable Care Act. Maybe you are a proponent of sustainable energy and science. You’d be very pessimistic of the next four (and possibly eight) years. Those who didn’t support Trump, or who feel they might be future victims, are terrified and utterly powerless now that the election is over. It’s a scary prospect for them. So what do we do?

We make memes of Joe and Barack as they prepare to booby-trap the white house. We laugh, and secretly we cry. It’s a way to cope with our fear and how our voices didn’t count this time. It’s how we mourn for the two leaving the White House. We have nothing else to really do–what’s done has been done–so we nervously laugh and smile. We share and others like them on facebook, and we don’t feel so alone. There are people out there laughing at the memes and we’re united in creating, liking, and sharing them. Even though it’s all pretty silly and futile, we’re enshrining Joey and B’Rock into our cultural lexicon. When we recall the past week to our kids and grandkids, no matter what happens the next four years, we’ll still have the memes and memories to put a smile on our faces.


Things I Learned From Running #1: Mediocrity

When I took up running three years ago I wasn’t attempting to be good at it. I would run as a hobby and just sort of do it. I guess in the back of my mind I expected to become better at it, and maybe even really good at it, just because if you do something a lot you get better at it. I was a new and naive runner, and I thought that practice makes perfect.

I had signed up for my first 5k run ever, and was browsing through the past race times form the race from previous year. The course record was around 17 minutes? Or maybe even 15 minutes. Either way, it was down there somewhere. This translates out to around a 5 or 6 minutes mile pace: yeah, down there. For you metric people, I’m sorry, I know. The imperial system is shit. This 5 or 6 minute per mile pace might not sound like much to the non-runner as there really is no reference point. And to myself years ago, this didn’t sound like much of an issue either; I didn’t really know what sort of pace I ran because I’d just go run. First place was that time, so maybe if I did a 5k in 20 minutes that’d be okay.

I was curious and set out to discover about what my pace was. I went to the bike path, which had markers every eighth-mile. Whatever time I could do in an eighth, I could just multiply it by eight and that would be my rough mile pace. I set set my timer, bounded off running, ran faster than usual but not too fast, and checked my time as I neared the first marker. 1 minute. It didn’t take much effort even with as tired as I was to realize what that meant: an 8 minute mile. A 24 minute 3 miles. A 25ish minute 5k. I was going to suck. It was a mediocre pace.

Now a 25 minute 5k isn’t bad in the big picture of it. Walking this distance would probably take 50 to 60 minutes, and a 10 minute mile pace would be 31 minutes, so 25 wasn’t bad. And maybe with hard work I could improve greatly on that pace?

That year I ran my 5k in 23:49. The next year I ran a 5k in 22:30. And this year I ran one in 22:19. I’m sure you can see where this is going: I’m getting better, but ever so slightly better each year. There are no large jumps of three or four minutes and I know I’ll never be in the mid-teens when it comes to a 5k time. Physically my body isn’t built that way. There is a limit to running and it’s determined by genetics and I’m near what is possible. You can get better up to a point, but then you need to go back in time and have new parents.

What Did I Learn From This?

I’ve ran a bunch of races of varying distances since that first 5k, and each tell me a lesson over and over again: I’m pretty mediocre. Since I like data and math, I like to analyze exactly how I do in these races. I do okay, meaning that I’m in the top 10-20% of all the runners. Accounting for just males, I’m in the top 30%. Age group puts me in the top 20% but this varies based on how small the sample sizes are in these races. Anyways, I don’t want to get bogged down in data but to show that, fairly regularly, I finish in certain parts of the field. I always look ahead, to the people that beat me, and get slightly upset. No matter what I do, I’ll never be able to keep pace with them; they’re on a whole new level than I am on. Sometimes it undermines your will to actually run and compete. Why run? You’re not an olympic athlete and never will be.

Realizing you suck is a crummy thing. I don’t think anyone should feel happy that they suck. But there is a silver lining to this. By knowing you’re not that good, you can take a little pressure off yourself to be the best. It’s okay to just be okay. With running, that can be taken to mean that you shouldn’t run to be good, but run because you actually enjoy it. By realizing you suck, you stop being so hard on yourself and can take it easy. You can enjoy the scenery or the weather when you run, and you can be at peace. It’s nice in a way. The same goes for any other hobby: art, music, writing, as well as running. Once you quit being so hard on yourself, you are free to actually enjoy you pursuits.

The nice thing about mediocrity is that you’re probably so mediocre that you’re not even notable by being the worst! This automatically makes you not suck too much; you don’t finish last and there is always someone behind you. This is nice because you don’t have to be too hard on yourself: you’re not the shittiest person ever. You can still take pride in being a decent runner and don’t have to give the sport, or hobby, up all together. Most people, just by what the definition of most actually means, are normal and average. If you consider the middle 75% the normal field, you’d only have 25% of people as the outliers: most are normal by how the word is defined. You won’t be the ultra-best at something, but this also means you’re likely to not be the worst at it either. Being mediocre means you can blend in with things and be comfy. You don’t suck, and you aren’t the best.


Writing as a Reflection

I truly believe that art in its most basic and general form is a window to the soul. The mere act of creating something, even if it is mundane like “creating” a freshly-mowed yard, shows the world something about yourself. This happens outside things that are usually considered the arts; I feel the only requirement for art is some form of creative input. This means creativity is in all walks of life, and you could consider many things art. And these things all say something about the person who created them.

I do think some forms of art are more obvious windows into the artist’s soul while others are more abstract – like a foggy window – that partly reflects upon the one viewing the art. Mowing the yard probably doesn’t reflect too strongly on what sort of person you are even though hints of it are present. Maybe you mow the yard in a messy fashion showing that you’re a messy and scattered person. Maybe you mow in complex geometric patterns? I’d bet your artwork would reflect the same tendencies. The visual arts and music are closer to pure art, and while they do reflect upon the soul, they don’t do it with as much clarity as writing seems to do. Even if they do, they offer much more abstraction that can make the message difficult to see and interpret. Writing seems to get down to the nitty-gritty of the soul, and that is what makes it unique.

Music does say something about the musician, but it has a chance to not be a pure form of expression. A person with only their instrument is likely the most obvious and pure form, and still this has it’s own flaws. Music is universal, but how you put all the elements together can be very subtle, complex, and not immediately obvious to what the musician is thinking or feeling. There is a lot of self-interpretation which by letting the listener’s own soul reflect back through the music can be seen as a strength of the medium. Art can still be good even if it doesn’t directly show anything about the creator of the art and this self-reflection is what makes music great. Music can also suffer from having multiple people making a single piece of artwork be it a song, an album, or whatever. This will naturally dilute the picture of the single musician into a collective, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s just different.

The visual arts, by having a single artist create a work (usually), is a bit closer to writing. It still has the abstraction that music does, possibly even more. You can look at a painting or drawing and draw some conclusions about the artist or their interests, but you probably can’t get a complete picture about how their brains operate. Color, texture, composition, and subject matter are complex in how they play together (akin to the complexities of music), and it doesn’t allow for an easy reflection on the artist. You can tell Van Gogh was tortured inside, but as to why you can’t really tell by the works of art alone. Maybe you could tell, but it would take a bit more thought and observation. Art’s strength seems to be in having a single artist do the creating and the visual elements that can be inspected.

Writing is a much more direct reflection on the artist than the previous two I’ve mentioned. Since I’ve started writing I’ve learned a lot about myself. It’s strange because you’d think that a person should know themselves more than anyone else, but by writing I’ve realized there are things subconsciously that I didn’t know existed. I used to draw and to play music, but I never really discovered anything deep within myself. Or if I did, I already had an idea of what existed although it wasn’t very clear and specific. Writing seems to be a totally different beast allowing for intense introspection.

My writing so far seems to have undercurrents to them that tie all of the stories together. It’s interesting how a person can write 5 or 6 stories and during the writing process think, “Wow, I really write about that topic a lot. That’s strange.” It can only be a reflection of what is on the inside. For example, my last story, “A Comfy Sunday,” was about a fly that pissed off the protagonist and led to him destroying his perfect day. What is the theme there? To me, it is how a single thing can completely change your day and your life. You can call it the fly or the person’s anger which he has no control over. That’s the key point: things can happen that affect your life, and other’s lives, and no one has any control over them. A single fly can ruin your day; it’s a sad fact of daily existence although most cases aren’t that dramatic. Incidents that alter your day, and your life, happen thousands of times a day. What if you left for work a minute late and that led to a car accident that paralyzed you? The world is like a giant, complex machine that seems to be a dice-roll to everyone due to it’s complexity. I love exploring the idea of chance, or fate, and how it plays a part in everyone’s lives. I didn’t really know this until I started to write. I also noticed that all of my stories seem to feature alcohol. If that isn’t a huge red-flag warning sign about alcoholism I don’t know what is. It’s shocking to read what you’ve written and to see what you dwell on. It’s like looking in a mirror that shows what on the inside.

I love writing, and as fun as it is creating things with words it’s strange to see how this reflects on the author. I’ve noticed this in other writers and other artists in general. I don’t see how you can write and not subconsciously reflect what is inside your own mind. And if you do, it seems like it would cheapen the writing to an extent, but I’m no expert on it. Or maybe if you can escape from the prison that is your mind you can really blossom as a writer? This seems to exist in other forms of art, although I think it isn’t quite as noticeable as in writing. There are things about music and the visual arts that reflect on the artist, but they seem to be more abstract reflections that are more open to interpretation to others. These are not flaws in the other mediums, just difference that anyone should appreciate. Think of the artists, musicians, and writers you’re a fan of. Think of the ones you personally know. What do their works say about them?