Greetings friends and Internet strangers!
I haven't posted anything in a while, mostly because every time I've sat and begun to craft a new post, I find myself getting lost in a tangle of words and notions and get frustrated and stop. Which makes it all the more hard to dive in and write something to completion. I mean, I've had plenty of lovely thoughts I've tried to put down -- revisiting familiar cities we once called home, the personal importance of art -- but nothing has come to fruition.
So, I'm writing this now just out of the faith that if I do write, the flow of words will start again. Because the always do. And because it has occurred to me that the reason things aren't flowing very well is that I've somehow fallen into my own trap of perfectionism and have been strangling the importance of every phrase before it can be birthed into a sentence, let alone a paragraph. I need to get out of my own way. Lighten up. Go crazy.
As I type that, a memory crashes into my brain: my evaluation from Brainstorming class after my first quarter at Miami Ad School. (Yes, we had a class in brainstorming, which was met with a ton of disdain and eyeball rolling from all of us new ad school students. Hello, we were trying to make it as ad creatives and ready to start making ads and not wasting our time inventing fake sports or products or music video ideas or day tripping around Miami for "inspiration." If youth is wasted on the young, brainstorming class was definitely wasted on a bunch of ad school brats.) Our teacher was a very talented, very smart, very awarded creative director from what was then arguably the best advertising agency in the world, Crispin, Porter & Bogusky, and I held his opinion (like I did with all my teachers' opinions) in the highest regard. I didn't know if I had what it takes to make it in advertising, but they did.
I was shaking when I opened the evaluation and quickly scanned his hand-writing, looking for proof of my eminent success/failure. It went something like this;
"[good good good great great good good great] ... you are very smart and talented, but you have a tendency to take yourself really seriously. Lighten up. Go crazy."
Lighten up!? Go CRAZY!? What do think I'm doing here, advertising dude? An improv show? This is my Life and my Dream Career and I'm not just going to lighten up and go crazy. To do so would be, um, actually crazy!? So, I ignored the "good good great" parts of his evaluation and ruminated on that line for weeks (OK, probably months) after, and then went back to doing what I did best: taking myself seriously.
But, I found as I went on to work at real advertising agencies, that while many ideas definitely were the result of some serious work and mental energy, it was often those moments where out of sheer exhaustion and exasperation, you and your art director or creative director dissolved into a fit of laughter over an idea that was really fucking stupid. So stupid it might actually ... work. Or (and this was a little more likely) it was stupid but if you made it just a little bit smarter it was awesome. And fresh. And fun.
So as I sit here about to hit save and publish, this hap-hazardly dashed-off post is me re-asserting that sometimes the only way through the block of perfectionism is to just bulldoze through it.
To lighten up and go crazy. Seriously.