An open letter to creatives

My brothers and sisters, I want to leave you something today that I hope will guide you throughout your days. It is the truth about those of us enabled with the blessing and curse of creative sensitivity. Most of us simply mask it as best we can, for the others around us simply don’t — or should I say can’t — understand. To them, we are “overly” sensitive. We get our feelings hurt easily. We’re “out there” or just plain weird. We’ve never fit into their world, and believe me, they run things with their math, logic and processes.

While I’ve written of this before, I feel a strong pull to summarize my thinking today, so that you can see if it matches your own experience, because if it does, I have an important message for you.

The Lesson of the Garden Hose

Garden HoseIn Richard Adams’ wonderful little book “The Unbroken Web,” he logically explains that the source of all creativity encircles the earth and rotates around it. Sensitive people touch this plane of existence, which explains why identical ancient stories appeared on different parts of the planet before intercontinental travel. I believe this is true, which is why nobody really “owns” anything they discover while touching Life’s Unbroken Web. I recall interviewing Bill Monroe many years ago, and he explained to me that he never wrote any song. He said he “just heard them first,” which was his way of explaining his touching the Unbroken Web. Bill Monroe made a decent living, but that was not his reward.

So let’s assume this is true. If so, then we can apply the lesson of the garden hose, which is this: opening the spigot to bring fresh water into the hose is meaningless, unless the other end of the hose is open, so that it can become a conduit for spreading the water elsewhere. This is the lesson of all Life, for we humans want to keep for ourselves that which we obtain from the spigot, but we seldom get more, unless we give away what we get. This is why being in love “feels” so good. We give away love to another, and it is replaced from the source of all Love. Likewise, among those of us fortunate enough to touch the source of all Creativity, we must give away that which we find in order to touch it again, or to have it flow through us to others.

Unfortunately, this is not a life of great profit, but that has been the way of artists from the beginning. The prophets of old were the creatives of their time, and they had nothing except the surety of their flow and the absolute conviction that they would be cared for, as long as they kept their channel open. This, however, takes a form of faith in Life that few exhibit today. Nevertheless, it is our way. It really is. Culture, I believe, owes us, but that is another story for perhaps another time.

As I survey all that is fresh and new around us today, I marvel and am hopeful that one day touching the source of Life will be seen as virtuous and not as a pathway to profit. I think we’re going to have to get this right in order to do something truly meaningful with copyright, for the logicals of the world have turned the act of creation into a profit center, and this is where justice runs into conflict with Life. I do not mean to suggest that those who touch Adams’ Unbroken Web should be denied a comfortable living. God forbid! But attaching oneself to the source of Life for creative purposes is a powerful end unto itself, as only those who do so can attest.

And for me, I’d rather be there than in any mansion on earth.