Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius, and it's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring. - Marilyn

Saturday, February 20, 2016

mad genius

Harper Lee, the celebrated author who wrote To Kill A Mockingbird has passed away, as I'm sure you've heard. A gifted and famed writer she was. A glorified one who's book we all were forced to read in high school. And it was a great book! A vintage, old saw that gave Harper Lee illustrious notoriety. 

But why not more? Why are we only left with one, no...two books by this praised author. WHY?!? And her second book was actually her first book entitled; 'Go Set A Watchmen', which is considered to be the 'To Kill A Mockingbird' first draft, which wasn't released until 2015. So, why not another book, or twenty more books by Harper Lee? Well, Harper Lee said it herself. When asked how she felt about possibly writing another book after obtaining such success with her first, she replied, "I'm scared... Because when you're at the top, there's only one way to go."

I have yet to reach the top, thus I have a constant tendency to write, or hunger-to better yet. Sometimes I don't have the time to sit down and do what I love (so tragic), and sometimes I do. I am on a mission to make the time and to make the time daily. And when I do... boy do I sense my own orbit in a whole new way. Oomph! Impulse, enthusiasm, zest, growth and a smile are just a few effects caused by creativity and my efforts to live beyond the fear it causes me. I'm afraid of not having enough time, which is a paradox because all I have is time. I'm also afraid of not succeeding and/or being praised for my work -- feeling special and important. You know, all those things we've all struggled with since birth. But, I'm not paralyzed by these fears, so I push forward regardless. Even if I'm pissed off, it passes. And much like Harper Lee, I too am afraid of not being able to "out do myself "one day. Why? Because I am well aware of the mad genius that takes over me and it's not me. It's something else and that something else wants to do great things through me. Big BIG things. This I know. And this is called confidence. I don't always have it, but it's there when I call on it. And it's that 'something else', that mad genius, that keeps me alive. Literally. It's why I'm writing this blog and it's why I know I can't stop writing, because, as my favorite author, Elizabeth Gilbert, puts it... "In the end, creativity is a gift to the writer, not just a gift to the audience."

"Just write anything and put it out there with reckless abandon." - Elizabeth Gilbert

"I wish Harper Lee had kept writing. I wish that, right after Mockingbird and her Pulitzer Prize, she had churned out five cheap and easy books in a row -- a light romance, a police procedural, a children's story, anything.You might think I'm kidding, but I'm not. Imagine what she might have created, even accidentally, with such an approach. At the very least, she could have tricked everyone into forgetting that she'd once been Harper Lee. She could have tricked herself into forgetting that she'd once been Harper Lee, which might have been artistically liberating. I wish someone had been able to convince Lee to keep writing for the entirety of her life, and to keep publishing all along. It would have been a gift to the world. And it would have been a gift to her, as well -- to have been able to remain a writer, and to have enjoyed the pleasures and satisfaction of that work for herself. And any other creator, famous or obscure, who ever vanished beneath the shadow of their own real or imagined reputation. I wish somebody had told them all to go fill up a bunch of pages with blah-blah-blah and just publish it, for heaven's sake, and ignore the outcome." -E. Gilbert

Writing more, producing more -- creating MORE is the hardest thing to do for some of us, including myself, because we need the idea first, and a great idea is like a balloon. It's filled with that which gives us life, but it's gone if we let it go. Poof! Into the sky it goes, and we get to watch it leave us from down below. Depressed. There's nothing more disappointing than being inspired and not doing anything about it. Now we need another new idea.

Better yet, we need a fantastic idea! And that fantastic idea MUST BE ACTED ON, or that fantastic idea is onto the next fantastic, creative person with an imagination to die for. It's onto the next artist with the power to create and a genius that can't be tamed. 

So take your ideas by the horns, and when you do act on them, give yourself a pat on the back but don't stop there. Create more. Write more, or paint more, or take more photos, build more breath taking landscapes, teach more people, help to heal more people. Keep doing whatever it is you do to live your life creatively, beyond fear.  The two are the same.

Be a mad genius, but don't take all the credit! There just might come a day when you do finally rise to that coveted TOP, that place they call the American Dream. That place you call SUCESS. And once you do get there, once you've published that book, or that screenplay, or that album, or that whatever thing you want to see succeed, you have to prepare yourself. Prepare myself for what? Well, like Harper Lee said... Once you're at the top, there's only one way to go. And going down hill takes some preparation. You have to make sure your heart "brakes" work because you're going to have to stop yourself from punching someone in the face when your next project flops and they tell you it sucked. You got to make sure your mind-engine is tuned-up so your thoughts don't turn on you like assholes during an ego induced crisis. Your thoughts have to be your friends, not your enemies. That could take some work, and maybe some yoga. You have to make sure your battery is charged so nothing stops you, even if you are on a downward slope. Who says going downhill is such a bad thing? Isn't that what we live for on the ski slopes?

I'm not a cynical person who thinks we can't have success without an accompanied failure or catastrophe. I just know with certainty that life is unpredictable and full of surprises. It could end at any time, and being scared really just isn't worth it. Welcoming your mad genius is.

I believe in the power of constant creation whether treading upstream or down. I don't invest my energy into the ups and downs - the great highs and shitty lows. I feel it sometimes, and it can hurt like hell but it passes. And when it does pass, after a few glasses of wine, I plunge myself back into the process of writing, which takes dedication, and completing, which takes focus. And I go where the wind blows me, like that idea balloon, even if it starts to rain. We can't have the rainbow without a little rain (Dolly Parton). And we can't act on the idea if we let the balloon go.

Unlike Harper Lee, who was phenomenal but limited herself, I want to create lots of stuff, even after I'm really famous, or before, or if I never become really famous! Why? Because who cares about being famous when what you're doing simply makes you happy. Thus, I'm writing three different screenplays at the moment, striving to focus each day and allot myself a window every morning to sit down and WRITE. Because it's what makes me happy.

One Love, One War is still in full swing. I'm in a state of re-write and "perfecting", which, in turn, keeps the story alive and well. Because frankly, I'm scared to death to let a script sit and collect dust. If it's dusty, then I'm dusty (figuratively speaking). I know I have a lot of dirty work to do, but I'm not one for dust.

Here's the deal: I want so badly to produce my film. One Love, One War is my passion project. It's my MASSIVE project and getting it made properly will take millions of dollars, and I believe in this possibility because I believe in myself. I wrote a love story about humanity vs. evil amidst the days of Hilter and his followers. It's a thriller about a spiritual battle within a war against humanity, and in this war... we are all one. So, I don't plan on giving up on this powerful film, or getting too far away from it. Again, if it collects dust, so do I. Thus, I am re-reading it and making fixes - doing a good edit - staying IN IT. Staying excited ABOUT IT. And meanwhile, I'm ferociously (on most days) writing two other scripts. I'm not sure if they're as good as One Love, One War, and I'm not one hundred percent positive they'll sale. But I still can't let that stop me. 

But, lets say I do win an Academy Award for One Love, One War one day. Lets just say that happens (big smile on my face right now). Do I stop there? Do I back off in the Caribbean somewhere because I'm at the top now and I'm not so sure I can go any higher -- top my own success. Top myself. It is a world war two thriller/love story. I mean... those are usually pretty amazing films, and I wrote an amazing one too. (tooting my own horn) So, let's say it happens.

And the Oscar goes to..... ME! Yay! Lots of tears and more tears. Maybe some hysterical laughing and let me grab my speech. Oh God where is my speech? Kiss my girlfriend. Kiss her again. Smile. Try not to jump up and down, or TRIP like Jennifer Lawrence. I can already see it. It's awesome. (give me a second. To. Enjoy...)

Okay. I'm back.

I won. So, now do I write that dark comedy about my life in LA? The one I started a year ago and haven't finished. Do I write my FBI story about an intuitive woman on the brink of suicide who has a few revelations that save her life? Or, do I stop and revel in my success -- frolic in approval and praise because I wrote a master piece and won a prize, because I'm a genius (who forgot to give credit to the mad genius that guided me) and that's all I can do and be. Do I become so vapid that I actually take ownership of the inspiration that passed through me like a fever leaving me too hot, bothered and scared to ever write again?

Do I let the "once you're at the top, there's only one way to go." thought defeat me? Do I fear my self to the point of no return, no return to a creative life.

No. I won't do any of this. I refuse to give up on my creative living, and I balk at my brilliance because it's not mine. I'm just inspired and open to ideas, ideas that I grabbed by the horns. Ideas that agreed to stay.

This keeps me real. 

And speaking of real, there is really no such thing as "reaching the top", not if the sky is the limit, or better yet... the universe. And when there's no top, there's no bottom. We're just guided here, there, waaaaaayyyy over there. Closer to here. Back over there. We're forever guided.

We're lead by something else, and it's that mad genius that just happens to happen to us. It's those great ideas that flow through us making us free (emphasis on free) to rise and fall, unknowingly. Because when our thinking is not obsessed with getting to "the top" then we're focused on The Journey. We don't even notice the ups and downs at that point. We just experience the process... the process of of understanding our self... better. Because after all, that's what life is all about.

So be embrace that mad genius, even if it's scary. Just don't call yourself a mad genius, because you're not. And if you think you are, be very afraid of failure and your own success. You're simply inspired by something greater than you, and it's a genius.

Never stop creating. Creation takes you beyond fear. And that's your magic. Be magical and say hello to the mad genius.

Peace and love. 

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