Creativity requires fuel.
The less refined the fuel – the better.
There’s nothing stimulating about sterility. Nothing thought-provoking about safety & consistency.
The muse craves the muck & grime of the world… the pain, sorrow, & all the grossness that we’re so prone to pretending does not exist.
The injustice, inequality, hatred, ugliness etc… it makes you think.
Makes you compare & contrast. Look at things in a new light & dimensionalize your life & everything in it.
7 or so years ago, I was gallivanting around New York City.
It was late – 2am or so – and I needed to catch a train to Brooklyn to the couch I’d been offered to sleep on.
It was me and another young white guy, standing on the subway platform. In my memory he was wearing a suit – though why he would be in a suit at 2am, I couldn’t tell ya.
I had a ukulele (I carried it everywhere & played constantly).
The subway pulled up, screeched to a halt, & my fellow commuter & I stepped through they sliding doors into what looked like an empty car…
Right into a wall of hot putrid stench. The smell of (unhealthy) human feces.
Immediately, we saw the source of the smell at the same time – an old black dude, clearly homeless and clearly not in his right mind.
He rocked back and forth in his seat, eyes wide & staring at nothing, chanting a mantra I’ll never forget…
“Fuck, ni**ah, fuck…
Shit, ni**ah, shit…
Shit, ni**ah, fuck…
Fuck, ni**ah, shit…”
…on and on and on.
The other white dude instantly changed cars, before the train even started moving.
I took a seat, watching the man. Basking in the smell of his illness & the sound of his incoherent, manic babbling…
& I started to play my ukulele.
Soft and sweet. A stark contrast to the scene I’d walked into… & together, this man and I created something strange & beautiful & terrible & sad & stinky & joyful all at the same time…
something no one else has ever created. Something no one else will ever experience.
Slowly, his babbling quieted. He stopped swaying. His eyes regained some focus… and a little smile formed on his lips.
We rode like that for 10 minutes or so. Me playing. Him listening. Training rattling. Robotic lady voice informing us of each stop. Doors sliding open occasionally to let in fresh air, and no more passengers.
He never spoke a word or acknowledged me. When we reached my stop, I stood and wished him a good night, and went my way.
Perhaps I could find some moral to this story for you… but I honestly don’t know if there is one.
The point is – it’s a story. A bizarre & experience I will always remember & find new nuances of meaning in for years to come…
& that I can now share with you…
Yet, my counterpart in the suit wanted NO part of the experience – thereby robbing himself of the thoughts, the feelings, & the memory that I now cherish.
Life isn’t supposed to smell like air freshener. There’s suffering all around, & it’s ours to share…
& even though it may be scary to face it head on… more often than not, it’s not going to hurt you.
It’ll only make you feel more ALIVE. More HUMAN. More CONNECTED.
It’ll make you think & truly FEEL in a way that no dramatic portrayal or documentary ever will…
& that true depth of FEELING will inspire you more than anything you’ll ever find in the safety of Normality.
Your Muse likes it RAW.