Creative: Stop and Start

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Sometimes, if I’m feeling less than normal, like after crashing my bike, I watch the Julian Assange dance video and then all is right with the world. I can’t dance, so don’t go thinking I watch this film to make fun of Mr. Assange. No, quite the opposite. I watch this video because it reminds me of what balls the guy has. Sure, he can release millions of documents shining a light on the global war machine, and for this he gets his due credit, but for me, the real guts emerge from that darkened room and flashing lights. All by himself, gangly and twisted.

Personally, I don’t care what you think of Assange, or what he did. Or that it led to countless other leaks and whistleblowers showering the world with nefarious data about world leaders, tyrants and illegal actions. You can form your own opinion. But Assange represents something that everyone, including you, should acknowledge. He’s odd. He is imperfect. He’s dangerous. But he goes people, he goes. Doing what he did isn’t easy. There is a level of dedication that goes far beyond what the average person must endure. Swimming upstream in deadly waters that don’t suffer fools. Personally, I don’t know anyone like him. And this is the key point.

Creativity is supposed to be creative, and yet we find ourselves in a world of creative conformity.

Fast food for the senses. Content. Good God, the tortured soul of khaki pants and the Toyota Camry. The soul-crushing thumb sweep and ticker tape of view counts, ensuring that only the most common, the most mundane, the most profitable for the mothership will ever see the light of day. This doesn’t work for me. I call bullshit, again.

What advice do you have Mr. Milnor? Stop pretending. Stop doing what you think you are supposed to do and start doing what you actually want to do. No, no, not what the algorithm tells you to do or your “flow” on whatever dimwit network you call home. You. I mean you, ya you. What is it exactly that you want to do? What do you believe? How do those beliefs make you feel? What actions do they force you to take. Are you the same person in private as you are in public. For those most successful in this plastic world of creative retreads, not likely.

I’m over it. The glimmer of light here people is that folks like Assange are out there. In all fields. They may or may not grab the headlines but they are out there and they are crushing it. They are creative destroyers. They cause dry mouth and armpit sweat in the rest of us because when you see what they produce it hits like leftover mayonnaise. Middle of the night, eyes open to check to clock, and suddenly there they are. Haunting. Reminding you the tip of your spear isn’t quite as sharp as you once thought.

You have two options when you encounter an “Assange-type.” You can turn and run, the modern social media reaction, or you can stop, acknowledge and then begin the long, slow grind of the learning process. Your shortcoming will be evident within a matter of minutes, but that’s okay. That’s the point. You getting better, more intelligent and more committed. And by the way, you can’t steal from these types. Well, you can, but the moment you do your career is over because those who already know these types will know you are perjuring yourself thinking you are still a bit smarter than you actually are. (Remember all the fashion folks in 90s who stole from Peter Beard. Seen any of them lately?)

Assange may drive you crazy. You might see him as a traitor, a war criminal, etc. I don’t care. But if you look at him and say “nothing to learn here,” you are missing out. Even if what you learn is simply a cautionary tale, or knowing the tech behind the man, there is always something to learn from someone who steps in front.