Disclaimer: This is a free write. I'm in one of those moods where I feel like creativity is afoot and I need to channel it into something. If nothing else, that's what this blog is for. Usually I start out with some kind of idea about what I want to write or some message I want to get across. That's not true tonight. I'm just going to start writing and see where it leads me. Follow at your own mental risk...
There's something undenaibly awesome about exhaling a load of smoke right in front of your face, clouding your vision and irritating your eyes just a little bit. It gives a mystical quality to everything that you look at for those few seconds. Then it fades away into reality. Nothing is really different, but the perception is changed for just a little bit.
As I'm writing this, I realize how absurd and pseudo-intellectual that sounds. But there is some type of truth in it. It's a cool feeling that I love. Half of the fun of smoking a hookah, or anything for that matter is exhaling the smoke. The more, the better.
I get this weird feeling that I need to be creative. It's like I want to force the creativity. There's nothing specific that I want to write about, nothing specific that I want to play, but there's an itch that I can't deny. Like something is dying to come out, but I can't figure out what it is. I don't even know where to start. I'm hoping by spilling out writing I can find it.
The most important life question is this: what are you passionate about? Above all, it's all that matters. It gives your life guidance, some sort of goal or direction that you can strive toward. It reminds me of a website I was told about, where a guy formed an art project where he asked people one simple question and had them display it in a photograph or other art form: Why do you do what you do?
It seems like an easy question to answer. But I've found it's not so easy. Right now, off the top of my head, this is the best answer that I can come up with: Because I desperately need something to inspire and motivate me. I'm happy, I have good friends, I have led a fairly successful life up until this point. But I feel as if there's something I'm missing. Not that my life is lacking, but I have this nagging feeling that I haven't found something important, and that this something will change everything. This is related to the important life question. Here is my best attempt to dissect the question and find an answer.
I love music. A pretty general statement, but I've always felt like it is supposed to play an important part in my life. But what role is it supposed to play? I dig for music like it's going to disappear soon if I don't find it first. It's an insatiable need that I don't think I will ever fufill. I always want to hear more, know more, see more, but I don't think I have the time to wrap my head around it all. At the same time, I've always enjoyed playing music. I still play around on guitar, learning random songs and even writing my own stuff. I have always enjoyed coming up with my own songs more than learning songs that have already be written. The creative process has always been my favorite part of being a musician, not just simply recreating what someone else has already done. So where does that leave music in my life? Should I just be focusing on listening, analyzing and consuming as much music as possible, or am I meant to be performing? What role does love of music play?
I've always loved writing (obviously). In high school I started writing poetry/songs. They were terrible, but I would like to think that over time they have improved. I'm not sure if this is true or not. When I was even younger, I would write "books" on an old electric typewriter. They ranged from ghost stories (in the vein of Goosebumps) to war stories. I always enjoyed the idea of writing a story more than writing the story itself. I would get the inspiration to write, but get bored halfway through writing the story and cut it off early. This still happens. It happened to my NaNoWriMo story. It happened to a story I started in my philosophy class. The idea is so much more attractive than the actual execution. I'm a journalism major, so obvoiusly I plan on writing for a career. I would love to be able to make money by writing. I read Hunter S. Thompson and wish that I could make a career out of going to random places, meeting random people and writing stories about my experiences. That, to me, is what journalism is. It's not writing a daily news article about a school board meeting. That's mechanical, not art. I want my wirting to be art. I would love to write non-fiction, long-form stories about my experiences. I want my stories to be something that I researched for months. I want to be fully involved in them, not just the outside observer. So what will I end up doing with writing? Will I end up at a daily newspaper, or will I get to do the writing that I dream of doing -- the writing that I really respect?
Recently I've become very interested in movies and the art of film. I've never thought of myself as a visual artist, but I love the film medium. It's so dynamic and exciting -- a mix of visual art, writing and sound. It brings together every type of art into one medium that is easily accessible. I would love to make a movie, or to just get a camera and take it around and film things that I find interesting. I can see how my life would play out in the scene of a movie, and I want to capture that. Unfortunately I don't have the equipment or resources to do that now. So are movies just a random obsession, a branch off of my love for music? Or is it something that will actually play a larger role in my life? Should I pursue it, or continue to enjoy it as I do now -- as an observer -- and see what happens?
Or, finally, is it a combination? I could combine my love for music and my love for writing to become a music journalist. This is one of my dream jobs: spending my time checking out new bands, going to concerts and interviewing artists so that I can spread my love for music to others. That's very idealistic, but it would be my goal as a music journalist: introduce the public to bands and help inspire them with my passion for music.
I could combine my love for writing and movies to become a screenwriter. I have no idea how I would start doing it, but I don't think it's out of the picture. I have stories to tell and I can tell these stories through film. I could also do it through writing books and novels. There's no telling where that path will lead me.
I could even combine my love for music and movies to become a music supervisor for movies and TV shows. Picking the right song to set the mood for a scene or to add meaning to a shot is a difficult task. When I hear a song I get a certain feeling, and I can link that feeling to a vision: what I see when I hear a song.
All three of those jobs sound amazing. But how will things really work out? Which one is the driving force in my life that will decide what i do? I can't pick one out. I can't decide what my passion is. Maybe it's just expressing myself or informing others through art. In general. The form is irrelevant, the expression is where my passion lies. As long as I can do that, in any of the ways I mentioned above, or even some that I haven't even thought of, I will feel like I have succeeded.
I've been writing for an hour now, and I have no idea what's going on anymore. I don't know if I actually solved anything with this writing. I don't think that I'm really any closer to a solution than I was a few thousand words ago. But maybe it helps that I've put it all out there and at the same time given myself a chance to think about it. The problem is that I have just over one year of college left, and then I have to start making decisions. What I do can change even after that, but it's not as easy as it is now. I guess deep down I just want something to strike me and make me realize exactly what it is that I want to do. But even though it's scarier, maybe it's better to be leaving college with such an open mind and several dreams laid out in front of me. I won't be locked in to any career and can do what I want: what inspires me. I just wish I could figure out what that is.
If you're still reading at this point, I'm in awe of your dedication. You just went through an entire random thought process that I'm not even sure I understand. I can't imagine what it must look like to someone outside of my head. I'm kind of scared to reread it because I don't even think it made sense. Maybe I'll read it soon, but I don't think I can handle it right now.
In a way of closing this rant, I want to quote the late comedian Mitch Hedberg. When I first heard this joke, I didn't think a lot about it. It was typical Hedberg randomness that made me laugh. But when I think about it, especially in the context of what I just wrote, it makes a lot of sense: "I'm sick of following my dreams, man. I'm just gonna ask where they're going and hook up with them later."
In the meantime I'm going to enjoy the trip and not worry so much about the destination.