I have been following the work of creative genius, cartoonist, writer, blogger, Hugh Macleod for sometime now. The rock’n white-hot-truth-teller, Danielle Laporte turned me on to him…so when I left for my West Texas adventure & mini creative retreat last month, I tweeted Hugh, who lives in Alpine a neighboring town to Marfa, and said we were coming out that way. So my friend Robin and I met up with him at Harry’s Tinaja in Alpine and this is where our adventure began…
The three of us pow-wowed on creativity, marketing, settling back in Texas after living all over everywhere, food, life living and love. Good stuff. Hugh also gave us a signed copy of his latest book, Ignore Everybody: And 39 other Keys to Creativity and I can’t put it down. Not only is it fresh & personal, gut-wrenchingly honest, both grossly cynical AND optimistic —so real, and from the heart, his cartoons are witty and barrel-laugh-out-loud-funny too. AND his Creativity Keys are in sync with the passion behind The Fire Tree Method…inspiring accountability and defying the inner critic of self sabotage in order to step into our power and claim our creative liberato! Just do it. I mean, really…what else are you gonna do with your life?
I am hooked… even shared bits with last night’s painting class… it speaks so well to the painting process here at the studio…like this excerpt where Hugh, when living and working in NYC, made the pivotal and heroic leap back to nurturing his innate spontaneous creativity:
“One evening, after one false start too many, I just gave up. Sitting at a bar, feeling a bit burned out by my work and life in general, I just started drawing on the back of business cards for no reason. I didn’t really need a reason. I just did it because it was there, because it amused me in a kind of random, arbitrary way.
Of course it was stupid. Or course it was not commercial. Of course it wasn’t going to go anywhere. Of course it was a complete and utter waste of time. But in retrospect, it was this built-in futility that gave it its edge. Because it was the exact opposite of all the “Big Plans” my peers and I were used to making. It was so liberating not to have to think about all that for a change.
It was so liberating to be doing something that didn’t have to impress anybody, for a change.
It was so liberating to be doing something that wasn’t a career move, for a change.
It was so liberating to feel complete sovereignty, for a change.
To feel complete freedom for a change. To have something that didn’t require somebody else’s money, or somebody else’s approval, for a change.
And of course it was then, and only then, that the outside world began paying attention.
The sovereignty you have over your work will inspire far more people than the actual content ever will. How your own sovereignty inspires other people to find their own sovereignty, their own sense of freedom and possibility, will give the work far more power that the work’s objective merits ever will.“
Ahhh, yeahhh! Genius, I say. G-e-n-i-u-s.
Freeeedom! Reminds me of my own liberating creative re-discovery while working in a .com haze out in Silicon Valley…life’s twist and turns, empty roads & locked doors, reeking with boredom and numbness… leading me back to myself. Back to truth. Back to the present moment. Back to purity. Once again and always… oh so gently (and sometimes not so gently…) back to pure creativity just-for-the-sake-of-amusing-my-spirit-creativity.
I love this book, gems from Hugh’s own personal journey, written with audacity and great grit.
Another sentiment from the book I felt inspired to chew on on is this:
“Nobody suddenly discovers anything. Things are made slowly, and in pain.“
Ok… the pain part…
While I know from my own experience…great growth and ideas are birthed as seeds that need to be watered, tended to, nurtured and care for in order to become fully open and developed—look at the evolution of nature in a flower…
Do you think the flower is in ‘pain’ as it is growing, unfolding and opening up to the sun?
I have come to realize that pain is definitely a personal choice and a matter of perspective when observing creative expansion. In retrospection, it is usually our will battling against the current of our creative life force that causes great friction in life.
So go ahead, Ignore Everybody. Trust your gut. Choose life, and expand your greatness out towards the sun. Even if no one is watching as you take that first leap (you won’t want to listen to them anyway…)