TAKEAWAY: Remain open to your creativity, so it remains open to you.
“Your creativity is very temperamental. If you let too many ideas come knock on the back of your mind and you don’t take advantage of them, it will quit knocking.”
So says Steve Cox, musician and web developer, named “Voice of Golden Eagle” in a Cherokee naming ceremony. You can see a video interview I did with him at the bottom of this post.
I met Steve in Memphis, Tennessee, on my 35-state road trip this summer. I was tired. I had awakened in Birmingham, Alabama, driven to Oxford, Mississippi, to interview a painter/photographer, then pushed on to Memphis. Yet five minutes with the Voice of Golden Eagle and I was wide awake.
What to say of Steve? He’s lived a compelling life, is full of wisdom for creatives, and is happy to share that wisdom. Some of the insights just in the five-minute video alone:
- Knowing when to dedicate time to create.
- Being true to your art rather than copying the latest fashion.
- Recognizing the opportunities and challenges for creatives in the Internet age.
But it was Steve’s discussion of one’s own creativity that truly stayed with me. The advice burrowed into my very soul. Had I been opening the door? Was I opening myself to my own creativity? Or would I let it pass on?
When I left the interview I intended to head to my motel to pass out. But I was too high on creative energy. I stopped by a blues bar, listened to a virtuoso keyboardist, and had a conversation with my muse.
“I’m sorry,” I said as I nursed a beer and picked at a pulled-pork sandwich. “I’m sorry I’ve kept you out there so long in the cold, knocking away until your knuckles were blue. Thank you for not giving up on me. Thank you for continuing to knock.”
I won’t be ignoring that knock any more.