There are a few places I feel inspired and “at home”:
1. College campuses
2. Good concert
3. Film festivals
4. Some conferences
My experience with the later two is macro enough to not be jaded by any of the politics involved. My time in college was the last truly free thinking time in my life. The classes and the people allowed that. Since then the focus has been on becoming more focused – on closing doors – on growing up. I know a concert is good if I leave feeling excited – giddy, almost. I think to myself, “Why am I not a part of this more often?”
It would be amazing to find something that allows me to experience this creative satisfaction and inspiration every day. Maybe that is what people feel when they say they love what they do. Finding the right mix of people, events, activities, and then stepping up to the plate yourself is the tough part.
There is a massive clash between the work I will end up doing as an attorney and my desire to be creative. Sure, many have bridged the gap, either (1) by finding creativity within the law, (2) by being satisfied to explore their creative interests outside of the law, or (3) by leaving the law to be creative — whatever that means.
#1 isn’t really the creativity I’m talking about. No matter how brilliant one’s ability is to view the law, it does not become art. In fact, if the law became art at any point, I think we would all be in trouble. There is already far too much room for interpretation in the law without it being subjected to the massive number of quandaries tossed around at art museums and shows. If law became art, law school would be irrelevant, lawyers would be useless, and there would be anarchy. There is no institution overseeing the creation and interpretation of art like there is the law. That just sounds absurd.
#2 is what most people do — they turn their dreams into hobbies. This is the sad reality of having to make a living. The opportunity cost of wanting material things, having a family, and living comfortably means saccrificing your dreams for most people. I do not dream of being an attorney. I see it as a way to make a good living. A way to support a family. A path to security.
#3 is what I would do if money were no object, and I hate that it comes down to money. I say that and I think of my friends that have corporate jobs. I think of the job I had at an Internet start-up. I think of the foolish demands to which we subject our precious time. I think back to my time in undergrad reading about Ponzi schemes and the “castle in the clouds” where as long as you can get the next fool to buy into your foundationless story you’ll be OK — never mind that what you are selling has no value if the next person doesn’t buy into it. That’s what life feels like at times — not that it’s valueless, but that we’re all doing something because it fits in the grid — because it propagates the masses — because it’s what was done before.
These thoughts are far beyond creativity. Creativity is the antithesis to work for me. The time I spent writing fiction, nonfiction, or pure gibberish when I was younger is the exact opposite of what is considered productive or successful now, yet it was freeing and inspiring. Although writing was far from easy at times, I loved the idea of it. I loved the blank screen — the blank page. I still love blank journals — I just bought a new one and plan to fill it with unproductive gibberish and stuff. Just stuff.
I’ve been thinking about all of this for a long time — years.