I’m a firm believer in the notion that a vast majority of art is inspired by, and created through conflict. Perhaps the sappy love songs, portraits-for-hire paintings, and commissioned sculptures are exempt from this rule, but when I look at the most powerful works, regardless of medium, I think the theory is validated.
I know a lot of talented people who seem to thrive creatively during times of personal turmoil. Someone once told me that a song wasn’t going to be a good song unless you bled for it. I don’t agree– I think that someone has to bleed (and before you jump on me for supporting violence, allow me to point out that I’m using it as a metaphor) it just doesn’t have to be you. I think if you give my catalog a quick listen you’ll find that I tend to write a lot of sad songs.
I’m a happy person– the inspiration for a lot of that stuff has come to me through conversations that were either meant for me or meant for someone else– I just happened to be within earshot.
When I sent my friend Wright Thompson a few copies of Wide Listener (he and I wrote Gainesville together) he asked me if I was doing okay, which I took as a clear validation that blood does indeed need to be metaphorically spilled to create something of weight. I was able to truthfully tell him that I was fine, but I also pinned a feather in my cap while doing so.
So yes, someone has to bleed… but do yourself a favor if you’re an artist: open up your ears, write down your ideas, and let someone else do the bleeding for you. Your relationship and your overall psyche will thank you for it.
time: 1:56 PM
date: Monday, April 28th
place: home, New Braunfels, TX