The success of my agenda for the day sorta depended on me leaping up the moment I awoke and doing so many things so fast that I am but a blur to common mortals.
Yeah, that happened. (Not)
I’ve been awake for 3 1/2 hours and have had two large iced coffees, organized meds for the week, spent a long time on a site that sells canes (a sign that I am discouraged about chronic foot pain and am taking the family motto to heart: Panic early and often. Plus planning ahead for old age, as I am vain and do not want drugstore canes.)
I was out and about most of yesterday, meeting up with a friend for lunch, some store exploring and then dinner. I had a ticket in the evening for Ira Glass’s talk on story and radio. Two fantastic presentations on creativity in two days — not bad! Ira talked about the things that make up a good story and a good radio presentation, and one of the things he kept coming back to is a sense of movement. This happened, which led to this, and this, and this is what happened next. He talked about Scheherazade and the 1001 Arabian nights, and how it was narrative suspense that not only saved her life but restored her husband, the king, back to sanity, which returned when he began having empathy for the people in the story. Ira described Scheherazade as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which of course I loved.
One of the things he said that struck a spark was that you had to make your story, or creative endeavor, first and foremost to amuse yourself, or it would never have that power for others. I write for a living, and it’s definitely ephemeral material, but I do frequently amuse myself, and I’m grateful that I’m allowed to do that.
A fascinating fact from last night: Everyone knows the story of how Van Halen demanded in their concert rider that there be bowls of M&Ms in the dressing room, and all the brown M&Ms had to be picked out, and this is always used as an example of excess and diva-like qualities. Ira said this was in fact the opposite: that the band’s equipment is reliant on quick setup and teardown, but procedures must be followed to the letter for the safety of the band, the crew, the audience. Brown M&Ms are the band’s canary in the coalmine — if there are brown M&Ms in the dressing room, they know the venue didn’t read the rider or half-assed it, and safety measures may also have been laxly followed or not followed at all. LOVE that story.
Speaking of storytelling, I’m not sure I did that evening justice, but it was full of terrific info and cool counterpoints to the Elmo documentary. It’s great to load up on creative explorations at the beginning of this year-long project.
Now I have to go do some creative stuff. Be back later today with a project.
I leave you with a random picture, which I guess could illustrate creativity gone amok: a hot mess o’ angels from the House on the Rock.
Angelic Hot Mess: the House on the Rock