April 16, 2014 by musehick
Do you vacillate between self-love and self-hate? Or are you not insecure? I am going to assume you are insecure because you are, like me, prone to the vicissitudes of everyday life, and if you are of an artistic bent you most likely don’t have a leathered outer exterior.
Do you wonder if the interesting initial spin of a work is set in motion by whichever feeling is in the ascendant? Does it matter? No, it surely does not matter – why? Because the end result is the thing we keep our eye on, isn’t it? Except not – people expect access to under the hood … why does the vehicle run so nicely? This is the legacy of “how to books” and DVD extras. Anyway, we hope that if someone shows us how they did the magic trick then we will be able to replicate the magic trick.
Here’s the great thing about creative ventures in my opinion – even if I show you the magic trick a billion times you will fuck it up. How do I know this? Because the writers I read showed me a billion times and I still keep fucking it up. Why is this good? Because every single writer since the first guy who sat down has been fucking it up and that is what makes them interesting. Kerouac tries to write like his heroes and screws up and ends up writing Kerouacian. T S Eliot wants to write like his heroes and fucks up and writes The Wasteland.
Play your standards, breathe funny, find a melody you didn’t see before – and you have a jazz variation. Glitch glitch glitch, and the dirt in the mix, and there you have your fix. A willingness to run with the unexpected direction, to celebrate the mistakes, that is where the artist lives and breathes.
This is why how to books don’t work. I want to write “How You Might” books – loose jazz blueprints and jumping off points, nothing concrete … it was the genius of Oblique Strategies, of my favourite idea (Harmalodics), and it appeals.