WARNING: This isn’t a revolutionary or innovative blog post.
But it’s been stewing for a long time and I need to put it out there.
CREATE – Disrupt – Inspire | The Slightly Modified Peppershock Mantra
A little boy comes from the playroom beckoning Grandma to come look at what he built. Some children play to escape the day to day and imagine they’re fighting crime, flying, living in secret bases. The greatest satisfaction for this particular boy was to show off his creation and see the joy it brought to his audiences’ face. The accolades. The satisfaction of acceptance. Feeling validated.
More than anything, that’s why I do what I do.
The freedom to create, share and be rewarded with praise. Yes, I know…it’s art and it’s subjective and not everyone will like what I create, but the process of taking an idea from some dream or deep recess and putting into a visual format is just as cathartic as the end product.
Having just read Maynard’s biography reignited that yearning to create. To be free. To release daily dramas and turn to more productive outlets.
A Perfect Union of Contrary Things is as much a historical account of Maynard James Keenan’s life thus far as it is a helpful guide to remembering why we create in the first place. My favorite line from the book: “Life is too short not to create something with every breath we draw.” – MJK
Maynard is not an angry, attention-fiend rockstar. He’s a rockstar with a passion for storytelling, for exploring ideas and musically guided therapy sessions for his listeners. He sings pseudo-satirically about L.A. falling into the ocean and needing to “learn to swim.” He sings of peace and river crossings and poses questions about the political state of our country…and country boners.
Life is a ride. Remember that and never leave out humor.
I’ve been feeling lost, unwelcome, confused. The standard, why am I doing what I’m doing? Why am I doing anything at all? And as I read Maynard’s story and continued relating my own experiences and feelings to his, it dawned on me what I needed to do. I needed to get back to being me and creating. Creating with meaning. Creating new. Creating things that make people go, “hmmm…” or maybe, “holy shit!” Regardless of the reaction, I need SOME sort of reaction. That will prove that what I put out in the world made someone stop and think. I’m less interested in exactly what they think as I am in the fact that I disrupted their day enough to make them pause.
Yes, this is my Maynard fanboy moment. I’m not the first, won’t be the last, but I’ve just got to say it; Maynard James Keenan is a smart man. He’s worked incredibly hard for everything he’s achieved. He set goals and never lost site of what steps he needed to take to meet those goals.
All this creation talk does relate back to our mantra of Disrupt, Connect, Inspire. It’s our goal to disrupt the routines in the lives of our clients’ audiences enough to get them to connect with the brand we’re promoting and inspire them to act upon our message. In this case of CREATE, Disrupt, Inspire…I’m referring to not being afraid. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Don’t get stifled because you don’t know where to start. Start by writing notes, recording a voice memo to yourself on your phone just to get the thoughts out of your head and let your environment, your materials, your skillset take it from there. You may need to record music, sculpt, produce an experimental video, write a poem…whatever it is, just start doing something!
And if we’re being entirely honest, creating and sharing builds community. Maynard has built a community of like-minded people who share his values, enjoy his art and wine and who can commune around his messages. He’s built an extended family by taking risks. I’d like to think that, hopefully most, but at least some, of Maynard’s fans are educated and inspired to explore. I’d also like to think, that on a much smaller scale, I can build a similar community. There’s definitely financial gain to be had with any art adventure turned commercial. And there’s nothing wrong with that. If you provide value, whether entertainment, educational or otherwise, compensation for that effort is acceptable and prudent.
Work to provide value to others in everything you do, but only after you’ve put your own personal energy into it. Make it yours and let the audience discover what it means to them. Maybe it means nothing, maybe it offends them (🦄💩those guys anyway), but at least you’ve done SOMETHING!
You can’t always blend. You need to express.
In the end, it’s just a ride.
Might as well enjoy it.