Sunday Candy Issue #10
It's None of Your Business
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It’s None of Your Business
I don’t like it.
These four words are my ultimate creative kryptonite.
They may be yours, too.
There have been times when I’ve created something, or I was in the middle of creating something, and for whatever reason, decided that I don’t like what I made. I’ll stop, abandon it, throw it away, delete it, whatever.
Bottom line: This is a mistake.
There’s this story cartoonist Lynda Barry has shared about when she was working on a panel for a comic strip and how she looked at what she drew and decided she didn’t like it.
When she told her teacher how she felt, she received the perfect response:
“It’s none of your business.”
She made the drawing already so her opinion didn’t actually matter. The drawing existed, it was here.
Lynda didn’t know it then, but the characters she drew would go on to live for 30 years in Ernie Pook's Comeek.
"Liking and not liking can make us blind to what's there. In spite of how we feel about it, it is making its way from the unseen world to the visible world, one line after the next bringing with it a kind of aliveness that I live for."
Lynda Barry could have disregarded her teacher’s wisdom and easily said fuck it, and tossed her drawing into the trash. Who knows how that would have affected the trajectory of her life and career.
Instead, she learned how crucial it is to go beyond liking and not liking, and that it’s necessary to give what she makes the right to exist.
Whether we like something or not isn’t the most important part of making things. Our opinions of our own creations are dangerous when left unchecked and can keep us from seeing the possibility that exists within them. This is true for all types of creations.
When I find myself confronting the I like it/I don’t like it trap, I try to remind myself that my mission isn’t to have an opinion about what I create, it’s simply to create. And to minimize whatever I make to just “I don’t like it” is a betrayal to the very opportunity I have to make things.
This brings to mind John Keats and his poem When I have Fears That I May Cease to Be.
When I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has glean’d my teeming brain,
Before high piled books, in charact’ry,
Hold like rich garners the full-ripen’d grain;
When I behold, upon the night’s starr’d face,
Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
And think that I may never live to trace
Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance;
And when I feel, fair creature of an hour!
That I shall never look upon thee more,
Never have relish in the faery power
Of unreflecting love!—then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
Till Love and Fame to nothingness do sink.
Keats explores all that he will miss out on experiencing and accomplishing when he dies, including creative aspirations. To die without doing all that we dream about is something you may think about just as much as I do.
But it isn’t just death that keeps us from fulfilling our creative aspirations, it’s our own opinions, too.
Knowing this helps me. I know I’m not going to like everything I write, or create. That’s impossible. But I don’t have to like any of it.
I’m constantly relearning this lesson and working on making things and letting them live in the world because they have the right to exist.
And whatever you make has that same right, too. So when you find yourself looking at something you made and think I don’t like it, remember this:
It’s none of your business.
Things That Get To Exist
Here’s two things that I’m choosing to let exist, and share, despite my brain screaming that it doesn’t like them:
This is a song off Argentine artist Kevin Johansen’s album Tú Ve. The album itself is a collection of new versions of his own songs, as well as, songs by other artists. It’s a super collaborative album and I think the song Tú Ve is a great example of how someone can breathe new life into something old and make it better.
The song is originally from his album Algo Ritmos, but this version with Mexican artist Natalia Lafourcade feels more robust and dreamy. Natalia Lafourcade’s voice is forever sprawling with magic and hearing their voices together is incredibly delicious.
I always appreciate black and white photos and video, so this simple little video of the two brings me delight.
[ I do have to give a shout out to another song off the album that I love: Last Night I Was Dreaming With You. It’s an English reimagining of Johansen’s song Anoche Soñé Contigo that features David Byrne. Also very very tasty. You can check out the video for that here. ]
That’s all for issue #10 of Sunday Candy!
Thanks for reading, friends.
Until next time,
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