“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?