A Day in the Life of Two Multipotentialites

1 Jan

“I’ll whip up some dip if you wanna cut the carrots.”

“Good.  You got nuts?”

“I got mixed nuts.”

“Great. And what is this, cheese?”

“Yeah. Oh, let’s go get a bottle of something, too.”

“Nice, should we get two?”

“I don’t know, do we need two?  Let’s do one and then another when we’ve got some work done.”

“Ok, one now and one later…”

 

I’ve never been so excited about a spread of snacks.

This is our sustenance for the night.  That and numerous bottles and cans of liquid inspiration.  Cheap (but relatively good Chilean) wine and cheap beer.  Whiskey if it’s a sleepover.  We’re in our 30′s and we’re still doing sleepovers.  But it’s not as bad as it sounds.

 

Tonight we’re the writers, actors, musicians, producers AND craft services for our own production.  I couldn’t think of a better way to spend a weekend night.  To anyone on the outside, perhaps peeping in through a window, we might just look like a couple of childish men wasting their time.  After all, we’re adults, shouldn’t we be sitting and watching something on a Tv with our families?

 

To us, this thing we do on the weekend is what keeps us going during the week. 

We have created a world and we can do anything we want in it.  We can even destroy it, if necessary and build a new one.  It’s our podcast night, and I have two ideas -one for a commercial about a ridiculous computer that talks to a boy in uncomfortable ways, and another that I just scribbled down as “Tan & The Jazzhands”…

 

Chris has lyric ideas for a song about a girl who huffs glue and a melody for a beat I made, staying up late one night this week.  We just met up, it’s Saturday afternoon and already we have three new ideas born out of our random joking.  We record a basic sketch of the idea into the iphone and move on.  Our ridiculous ideas are flowing like things that flow.  We can hardly get them down fast enough.

 

What we’re in is the ‘flow‘ state they all talk about. 

Is it just because our time is always limited that we work this furiously in this flustered state, jumping from idea to idea?  Or is this the only way we can keep up with the unleashing of our ideas, the reservoir that has built up during the week?  Would it be different if we had every weekday to work on this?

 

That dream keeps us going .

We have fought and wrangled with that elusive inspiration and our superstitions about “muse” and “vibe” to try and master our flow.  So that when we get together, all we do is make stuff.  That’s how we like it.  When it goes well, it’s like being on a drug.  When it doesn’t, it’s a bummer.  We’ve been through all that.  No matter what, we only have five or six hours to make stuff, that is the constant.  I have a wife and kid and he has a girlfriend.  So we’ve become scientists in the science of engaging flow, specifically in a collab situation.  It’s been hard.  We’ve fought with each other’s bad habits, even almost given up at times.

 

But we always come out the other end a little wiser about how to keep making stuff work.

And it’s ironic that now, when I have the least amount of freetime I could possibly have, that I am the most productive I have ever been.  I think about the friday nights and weekends and months I’ve spent going out, meeting women, dating, walking around parks with them, drinking into the night with friends and talking, shopping, going to barbecues, going to shows that I’m not even into.  All of it feels a bit wasted, a bit forgettable, less significant than what I do in these five little hours on the weekend.

I do have an issue about wasting time

It’s just that what others see as leisure, as hanging out, spending money, going out, as fun -I see as kind of a waste of time.  I always have.  It’s only now, at 32, that I am able to refuse the part of my  imagination preoccupied with the idea that I could be having more fun ‘out there’. 

It’s not that the desire to create suddenly became stronger, it’s that I realized how much life it was sucking out of me in my 20′s to constantly be out seeking social thrills.

 

All that time, I really wanted to be at home, or in a studio making something.

Or better yet with a friend, collaborating, writing well-crafted, detailed pop songs about total nonsense.  Songs that sound like some genre you’ve heard before, that hit you with a weird punchline, but not in an obvious way.  I’ve always wanted to be sitting there, with a friend, thinking of ridiculous ideas just to get a laugh out of each other.  Getting a little buzz off a bottle of wine and taking a break to talk about our plans and our process.

 

That is the closest to real living I could imagine, to “the burning point of life” as Nietzsche put it.  All those long nights standing around in basements at parties, noisy clubs, houses of strangers in my 20′s must have repressed my creativity so much that now I am driven to regain that time, I’m dying to steal every free second just to make an idea happen.

 

And it’s never enough, and I love that. 

It means I never get tired of it.  I still have desires.  Namely, I want freedom.

 

Freedom = free time.  

I don’t care about wealth or fame with what I make, if it means I can’t have free time.  So I have to find a way to make what I do into something that supports me.  Not just freelancing, but something meaningful.

For now, sitting down to record a fake public access Tv show starring two new-age religious cult weirdos is about the funnest thing I could imagine doing.

After posting the video we made that night, we get the comment “Is this a joke?” which to us means we’ve been successful.  We like that ambiguity.

It’s a joke we’ve decided to take seriously.

So this is what I’m doing on a Saturday night, and not much else matters to me, how about you?

4 Responses to “A Day in the Life of Two Multipotentialites”

  1. Amber January 1, 2013 at 1:27 pm #

    “And it’s ironic that now, when I have the least amount of freetime I could possibly have, that I am the most productive I have ever been.”

    I have had this experience so many times: I remember the first time I realized this – in my first year of college, I procrastinated away the whole year until the last month, when I had run out of money so I picked up a part time job and suddenly didn’t have time to procrastinate anymore. I constantly had to use all my minutes wisely, or risk failing classes or losing my job.
    It’s also true right now – I am on vacation & have nothing i HAVE to do…and therefore I find myself wasting a lot of time. When I start back at work next week, I will have quite a bit less free time, but I guarantee I will be far more productive because that’s when I can’t afford to waste as much time!
    I think every once in a while you have to let yourself relax and waste a little time though.

    • Joshua Lundquist January 4, 2013 at 12:48 pm #

      Amber – You’re right, you do have to let yourself relax, and for me that means to *stop* thinking. I’m always thinking “What should I do next?” and if I get a good idea, I’ll do it. That’s also why when I saw your comment a few days ago I took your advice instead of writing a response! But I’m back, now ;-)

      It’s funny how I look forward to vacations and the weekend as the time to get the stuff done that I’ve been thinking about all week at my job. I’m kind of grateful for my job, in that it squeezes my free time down to a few concentrated hours. Much like you mentioned.

      This time crunch is what has made me such a fan of refining a process, one that still allows you that freedom to experiment and improvise (which is essential), even to waste time, and try new things -new mediums and software, without major setbacks. By setbacks I mean disappointment -getting discouraged when the learning curve isn’t what you had anticipated.

      That’s funny to hear about your experience in college, I had the same thing. I was on an independent contract my very first year, and procrastinated like crazy. I wish I’d known in my freewheeling college days what I know now -namely to just do the work and keep going. Too often I wasted time being upset about how I wasn’t making progress, how I didn’t know what to do next.

      Really the problem was that I was letting little setbacks affect my attitude, instead of conquering that fear. Eventually I beat it, but not before it beat me up.

      • Amber January 5, 2013 at 2:10 am #

        * just do the work and keep going * YES
        I wish I had learned this way earlier – I spent a lot of time unaware that just because my first attempt at learning or creating something didn’t come out as what I was aiming for, it doesn’t mean I should give up. But I so often did give up, or ‘set it aside to do later’, because I felt like it was worthless the way it was, and I would walk away from it, thinking that I was silly for even bothering with it!

        It has only been in the last year, that I have begun to truly learn this, and I have to remind myself that it will take several tries to get it right, especially with learning new things!

        • Joshua Lundquist January 10, 2013 at 2:37 am #

          I hear you, with the ‘setting aside’ things, as a sort of passive way of giving up on a new thing without really admitting giving up. Which is fine, I’ve set aside things for months and then they come back. So it’s important not to be hard on yourself if you do give up.

          I’d like to think in the past two years since starting a podcast and sticking to making & editing video and audio for it, writing story lines & cutting & rewriting that I have gained a little wisdom in seeing what is worth the several tries and what is best set aside / dropped. Either way, I know if we keep working on it, it’ll get good, but if there’s a good idea that requires less effort, then we’ll use Occam’s Razor on it.

          I try to streamline my interests as much as I can. For awhile I was trying to learn Javascript, then I took on jQuery, then PHP and I didn’t get far beyond beginner with any of it. I’ll probably never go back to that world, and I’m glad I stopped banging my head against the rigid walls of coding when I did, as they were just fleeting interests with no real endearing desire behind them.

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