Sunday, July 24, 2011

People I like

I’m going to interrupt the interruption of my blogging to blog about my appreciation of blogging. Not all blogging of course. To say you appreciate blogs is like saying you appreciate books. You appreciate some, and not others; and blogging is even more varied because there is no hurdle of being considered good enough by someone to be published. The blogs I like best don’t simply regurgitate events: for instance I went camping last week, but I didn’t post about. I may in the future, but only if I have something to say about it. The blogs I appreciate most take the events happening to the writer, and dissect and analyze them, and comment on what the writer feels is important, interesting or noteworthy. I want the writer to take the minutia and the milestones alike, and create a narrative. It’s the creation that’s interesting.

I initially made this blog to complain about things. This is what I’m best at, and what I’m naturally inclined to do. But today I’m going to tell you something I like: creative people.

Something I dislike: people that call themselves artists. I think it’s very difficult to call yourself an artist without being pretentious. You can call yourself a painter or a sculptor or a graphic designer and that doesn’t bother me. But just calling yourself an artist, one who produces art, it just bothers me. If you work in mixed media and there’s no more specific term for how you earn your livelihood, well, be creative and figure out something else to call yourself other than artist.

So I don’t like “artists” but I do like creative people. And I don’t just mean painters/sculptors/violinists/writers. Again, if your creativity is your livelihood, I think that too makes you less interesting to me. I like amateur creative people. Blogging is to some extent an outlet of narcissism (my own blogging has been waylaid these last couple weeks because I have a limited amount of time allotted to narcissism and have been using it toward captioning pictures on facebook) but in its best form also an outlet for creativity.

So being a painter is fine, but I’d rather have you be an accountant that paints in your free time. Chances are much better that I’m going to like that person. And being an accountant that paints still-lifes in your free time is good, but even better being one that doodles. In Never Let Me Go, Tommy is mocked by the other students because he can’t paint or sing or write. But he creates highly detailed miniature doodles of imaginary creatures. And the fact that he created his own form of creativity makes him much more likable to me.

My friend Mark made a mixtape recently. I consider a mixtape in and of itself creativity. In this particular mixtape he took a story he liked by one of his favorite authors and inserted songs into the story that he felt emphasized plots elements, themes, and the feelings of the characters. Primarily he chose songs from 1967, the year the story took place. While I’m not sure if I’d call this art (there’s very little that I do) it’s most definitely creativity. The story was good, the songs were good, the project was great. And while there are other reasons to like Mark (he has a beard for one) his creativity is a pretty good one.

On Futurama this week Leela professed “Stealing is a form of creativity!” And to me (in some cases at least) it is. Mark stole the songs and stories of others and made it into something new. Bloggers take the events of their lives and of the world at large and create their own constructs. Tommy created what he felt the urge to create, without any personal benefit and without any potential audience. He did it for the sake of creation.

It’s hard to say who I’ll like. Sometimes I like someone that is generally disliked, for some little reason. Sometimes I’ll dislike someone generally found appealing, for no apparent reason at all. But I think an element may the creativity. Do they see world as a picture? Or do they see the world as a billion bits and pieces, waiting to be twisted and turned and stolen and combined. Do they, in some way, produce new and better and different things to be added to that world? If so, the chances are much higher that I’ll like them.

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