Longevity And Creativity

I used to think that if I didn't have some eternal—or even just long term—purpose for a project, then it would falter creatively. I had a hard time seeing the role of making things that wouldn't last.

A couple of years ago while on the road with my buddy Jonathan Reuel, we stayed with Toby and Denice Hazelett (Denice is now my manager). Relevant to this story was that they had a Buddha Board in their bathroom.

The board is quite simple: it's a white board that turns black when wet. Below the board is a dish with some water and a brush in it. You paint on the board with water. But whatever you paint fades quickly and dries within minutes. 

I was hooked immediately. Something shifted in how I approached making things. It didn't matter if this was good or bad, it was not permanent. I was free to paint with no expectations of anyone else seeing it again—myself included.

I've tried out a few other mediums like this. While on the chilled Lake Michigan beach with Courtney I filled in a 3'x3' square with designs. I figured someone might see it—but probably only a couple people before it disappeared. After that I made a small sandbox that sits on my front porch. Daily it gets scribbled over with new patterns. I even create designs by putting my coffee cup down in a new spot each time while I'm sitting there. 

 The current layer of indents. 

The current layer of indents. 

It is joyful work.  

Its effecting other things as well. When I write a song I try to explore as if each one will be thrown away and never heard. It gives me freedom to try new things. I can bother later with deciding  whether it's worth showing or "fits" what I'm currently trying to do.

My reasons for making things musically or otherwise are mixed. Part of it is because my own existence, my relationships, my faith, has been enriched by all sorts of people brave enough to show and tell. Part of it is because I need it. But I've found that at least starting as if it's just a silly little drawing gives it the best chance of becoming something bigger. 

 

-Grow Like Trees