Jted v2.0?

I am bored with myself. And I don’t get bored very often. As a matter of fact I think there is only one sin: to find yourself boring. I remember being in highschool and talking to my brother, who was 2 grades “below” me. He didn’t watch TV. He taught himself how to draw really well (through practising) and how to write really well (through practising every day) and I just sat and watched the evening sitcoms by myself. When something funny happened I would laugh and turn to share the moment with… nobody. My brother made it really hard for me to enjoy television at home.

So I made a point of watching my favourite shows socially. Twin Peaks, Kids in the Hall– these shows would be watched with my friends. And as I learned about who killed Laura Palmer (sort of…) and how to make people laugh by “crushing your head” between my thumb and index finger, my brother was becoming a bonefide artist.

I remember being angry about his fanaticism. It was anti-social! It was annoying! It didn’t benefit my social agenda! We couldn’t talk about empty pop culture, or what Homer had done to his family this time, or what Depeche Mode was up to. If the TV was on when Mike walked by, he would actually shield his face as if to protect his mind from some kind of rotting radiation. This always pissed me off, because I took it personally.

In one rare and unforgetable moment, the two of us were in the same room talking about ‘stuff’ without the television on. I mentioned how boring something had been to me when Michael made an absolute statement that I have never forgotten: “I don’t get bored.” Of course I laughed. “Yeah right,” I chided him. I was worried. What if it was true? He proceed to explain to me how and why it wasn’t a possibility. And the more I listened, the more angry I got. And the more angry I got the more I realized he was right. And of course that made me more angry.

Boredom is caused by one’s own lack of imagination. I considered myself to have a fantastic imagination, and the idea that I could shut it off and settle for the default bugged the hell out of me. I stubbornly made a vow to never be bored again. And I have to say, it has definately worked in my favour. I’ll write more about boredom later.

Fast-forward to today. My site is just like a million other blogs: it has links to interesting things I have found on the internet. These things were found at other blogs about interesting things other people found on the internet. There is nothing going on here that actually differentiates me. I am link churn. **yawn**

This, again, bothers me. It’s like my brother is sitting beside me on the couch, and I’m itching to watch the Simpsons, and he’s just writing another amazing song with a complicated picking pattern on his guitar. He’s been practicing. He’s been creating while i’ve been consuming. That’s another thought I’ll get to later: Creators vs. Consumers. But the point is, I need to practise writing. I like writing. I feel a need to communicate. But that means I need to have personality. That means I need to create. And not be boring or bored.

I can see your eyes are glazing over, so without being too self-conscious about it, I’m going to wrap up this post by saying: there’s more to come. And I’m going to make damn sure that it’s interesting to at least one person: me.

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2 Responses

  1. I read this post with interest, as it describes the past behaviour of someone very near and dear to me: myself.

    As an adult, the hard edges of my zeal (or fanaticism, depending on how you see it) have slowly been worn away. The stresses and pressures of “taking care of business” are partly to blame; another factor–one harder to acknowledge and adress–is self-doubt. To put yourself–without reservation–into the Creator camp, you have to believe in what you’re creating. You need a kind of crazy faith that what you’re doing matters, if only to you.

    When I was a teenager, I had that faith; now, it is intermittent at best.

    I would like to get that faith back, but I’d like to nurture it with less eye-shielding fanaticism. Today, I’d enjoy MORE time discussing pop culture with my brother. I could happily spend every Sunday evening watching Animation Domination on Fox Television with my bro, laughing at the silly antics of Homer and Peter Griffin whilst quaffing a frosty Duff.

    Balance? Zeal without intolerance? Creativity without inflexibility? Discipline with affirmation rather than exclusion? Is any of this possible?

    I’m still trying to work it out, but I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one.

  2. Right now my daughter is setting up a Farmers’ Market in our livingroom. She’s 3 and a half (almost) and spent the morning painting, cutting out coloured construction paper, drawing with markers, and generally being creative. The television lies black.

    She has taken a picture that she drew of some olives, a green bean, and a piece of “Chuck-E-Cheese… I mean Chedar cheese”, and put it on a pedestal. Then she took some flash cards and a fake credit card and put them into a little pink purse. Handing them to me, she said, “This is your money.” Then she sat down at her little cash register and asked what I would like to buy.

    I said I was interested in getting some green beans because they looked nice. She looked at her drawing and earnestly stated that she only had one.

    There’s a fine line between between creativity and reality, between being a Creator or being a Consumer. But to your point, Mike, I think you can find balance. It requires inspiration.

    Self-doubt is a handicap most children don’t suffer from, but it needn’t cripple your efforts. Some of my favourite artists, like Charlie Kaufman or Chris Ware are filled with self deprication and self doubt at every turn.

    Inspiration is something you can build up, like rubbing your feet on the carpet in winter. How do you build it up? Start creating something. Right now. Anything. Think small, and finish. Then share it with someone that is guaranteed to appreciate it. Like me for instance, and use that as a springboard.

    Also, you may need a website, so that a small niche of people with similar interests can find you and support your efforts. You’ll also get lots of email and comments, especially from online casinos pushing poker products…

    Anyway, for all of you out there (i apparently have about 4 readers at the moment): just keep at it. Create because it will make you feel better, because you have to. You may get addicted to it and find your faith in the midst of the action.

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