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How can we create in a world of hits?
Why bother writing music or making pods when the odds of fame are so against you?
Two nights ago I went to bed having just finished watching Get Back (I know, I know, but keep reading. Sorry for being like every other newsletter.)
I was feeling the weight of existence on my chest as I lied there. How can I breath when the Beatles broke up, then started dying, and I haven’t even tried to make something as lasting as their music? And, as humans, how can we even stand it that only 4 in a million people make something as creatively important as they did?
What’s the use?
It’s heavy. And certainly these thoughts were all the heavier because I lost a friend this year to an avalanche. A musician who played better than I ever will whose music will never be heard by most people.
So how do we create? How do we breathe?
I’m a good sleeper, so I fell asleep easily and these thoughts were replaced by a focus on the day ahead when I woke up the next morning.
By evening time, I felt a compulsion. I needed to go to the piano and play a Beatles song. It’s cliché. Even in the comfort of my own house with my own family I felt embarrassed being the guy that plays the Beatles on the piano after watching Get Back.
Cautiously at first, I fumbled through the song Get Back, then Strawberry Fields, and then I decided to play Let It Be. For that last one, the caution slipped away and I started belting it out. It felt SO GOOD.
I finished, and my daughter, who blessedly is not yet a teenager, said, “Dad, you sounded like a professional musician.”
And I felt the world get lighter. And this short story popped into my head. It doesn’t matter that I’ll never write a song as popular as the least popular Beatles song. It only matters that I feel what they felt when I play their music.
Flip that around. We can see while they wrote their music that they didn’t feel any sort of 10X or 1000X more powerful feeling of creative mastery than you do when you work on your novel, write your song, or edit your pod. It’s documented right there in Get Back. They felt the same human joy at creation that we all do.
And when we want to be inspired to enter that world of the mind and make something, we can listen to our favorite artists or watch their movies and be inspired. And if we’re lucky enough to make something that reaches the entirety of humanity, we can be perplexed at why, and get back to doing what we love.