Why make art? Why do we bother to make things that nobody needs? You might find yourself asking yourself this sometime- And the way society is wired up now, it’s easy to get confused about it. We can make lots of songs, write lots of poems, paint lots of pictures, make beautiful films- but the products of the creative process are not what it’s about, in my opinion. And it’s not about the admiration of others- You can be totally forever alone and still access the joy of art. Because it’s more about the moments during the creative process in which we kind of block out the outside world as we try to give physical form to the ideas. Like that story from Beethoven- where he was drumming out the parts of last movement of the Appassionata, after his walk with his student, Ferdinand Ries. In that story, Ries mentions that during the walk Beethoven was humming crazily to himself, and that immediately upon returning played out those ideas for a whole hour, totally forgetting Ries was even there. -That’s not polite to forget your guest, but you understand what I’m saying here, Beethoven went into that “other world” for a time. And it is the light of that other world that we are going for. The act of making stuff, constantly, and learning and studying the art forms- this all prepares us for those brief moments when we finally get dropped in there. If we are sharp and honed from practice, which comes from making stuff, then those moments of escape, those glimpses of some other realm, become fruitful creative experiences. But it’s not the fruit itself that makes it worthwhile- it’s actually the trip in to get it. Chasing the light of the other world, finding its source, to bask in its billions of watts. Knowing it is real. Being there.

I need to add to this that the trip in can be a shared experience, as I have experienced it many times. This is what makes being in a great band or being a great actor in a play or any other creative endeavor involving a team that practices together- this is what makes it such a transcendent experience. And then, if you are able to be a part of that, with others, then you can talk about it for years. It makes it that much more real. Not only do you come out with artifacts (albums or whatever) but shared experiences and friendships.

Phil Simms Jersey