I love creative people and their creative souls. I love how crazy they are and how harmonically out of tune and off track they seem to be. I love how some of them are completely oblivious to inhibition while some are uncomfortable with even the most basic social construct that they shut themselves into a house that looks suffocating, but where they find an infinite universe. Creative people really do live in a world all their own. We all know at least one or two of them. They tend to be the ones we invite to parties so we can infuse a little oddity and chaos in what would otherwise most certainly be a complete bore. We turn to them and their creations in moments most in need of inspiration and in the moments when we feel a critical lack of self-confidence and the need to say to ourselves, “Damn and I thought I was weird.” Creative souls have the unique ability to inspire outward ridicule and inward envy, all at the same time.
I think the characteristic that I appreciate the most about creative souls though, is their all-in belief that their current idea, project, or revelation is the biggest and most important one to date. That paradigm does not come from an overabundance of confidence, but rather from an unbridled degree of passion. Even it were some straight up form of arrogance, the world has a way of bearing down on someone’s self-confidence over time, like the effect of wind or water on standing stone. So you have to at least start out with more self-confidence than you’ll need or you’ll come up short in the end.
Although writing and making music have been my mediums of choice, I’d like to think that I am a lover of all forms of creative expression. Well, that’s my goal anyway, but I’m not there yet. I have learned that I am less in love with the art than I am with the artist. There are creations and thoughts out there that in my weaker, more judgmental states, strike me as over-thought or under-thought, or just plain stupid. By the way, I would not begrudge the same descriptions about our weekly blog. But the heart and mind of someone willing to risk convention for creativity, well that wins my support every time, irrespective of my taste. I am fortunate to have known a multitude of creative souls and artists of all sorts. I can recount songwriters, authors, poets, painters, potters and sculpturers. I have crossed paths with filmmakers, photographers and artists working in mediums I still don’t quite understand. I have known medicine men, alternative healers, stand-up comics, and more than a few oddballs that may well be mentally ill, but I’m holding back my opinion, just in case that’s no the whole story. I don’t want to be that guy. You know, the one who says, “You’re nuts” to somebody and then they go invent the cure for cancer or a home-kit for time travel.
I guess my most compelling reason, and possibly selfish reason, for remaining as non-judgmental as possible, is that I am one of them. By virtue of playing in Runaway Home, a touring band at 47 years old, I am one of them. But I have always been one of them. My sense of leading a creative life has never needed much prodding, in fact if anything; it has needed replacement brakes at every turn. I have burned through more than my fair share of figurative yield signs, common sense buffers and flat-out boondoggles. Though others have surely grown weary of my endless stream of “great ideas,” I have been self-insulated from their irritation. Honestly, I think that we are all creative souls. But the difference is, the ones we label as creative souls, have just not gotten around to debunking the possibility of not being one.
I find myself these days with a renewed creative vision and the work ethic to go with it. Those two attributes have not always been simpatico. I also find myself increasingly pushing friends and strangers alike, sometimes obnoxiously, to follow their creative dream. I am preaching a sermon stuck on endless loop. “Turn your thoughts into actions, create at all costs and dare to be different in this growing world of homogeneity.” I’d like to think of it as my intensely supportive nature, but truth be told, it may not be. I enjoy the edge of the cliff and still feel the thrill from jumping head long off it, but I increasingly seek the company of those willing to share that wild ride down. I guess it the “misery loves company” concept in reverse.
Runaway Home is embarking on another record, a theatrical video to the upcoming single “Lille May” and a fresh, new year of touring. I am finishing my first book called “Starmount” and beginning my first documentary film project. So this is an invitation to all of you to start that creative project that you’ve kept sheltered from us all this time and most importantly, to finish it. If you are the type that needs a written invitation, well here you go!
You are cordially invited to jump down the Rabbit Hole with me on this hour and on this day, and for that matter, on each one to follow. Please RSVP.
Mark Elliott – Runaway Home
“It’s the Music That Makes Us Smile”