A handful of creative works — paintings, musical works, writings, etc. — survive long after the creative has passed. Will your work fall in to that camp?
To be quite blunt, I have not produced any creative work of that magnitude. But it’s been on my mind since I heard the great composer and film producer T. Bone Burnett describe a creative pyramid at a conference last fall.
Most creative works, he said, no matter how inspiring to a contemporary audience, are swept down the greatness pyramid by gusts of time. Eventually they meet their end buried in sand.
“I think all day, every day, about how I can make something to put on top of the pyramid,” he said. “That’s all I think about.”
I may not be cut out for pyramid-scaling. I think about a lot of other things, like lovemaking and bacon.
His analogy resonated with me, but it also begged a question. How does one create a work that can rest at the apex? On that point he confessed he did not have the answer.
He did say creatives need to find a way to stand out, and they can do that by following their heart. That was the message of many of the creatives I interviewed on my cross-country road trip.
“Be imaginative,” Burnett said. “If you are an artist, be an artist.”
It is only recently that I took public ownership of the term “artist.” I’m in artist learning mode now, trying to soak up much-needed wisdom from many sources. From the artists I interviewed on the road. From creative peers. From books. From local classes. And soon, from an MFA program.
I aspire to place a work atop the pyramid. It’s hard to proclaim something so audacious, but now I have done so. Yet it’s clear to me that my odds of reaching the apex will improve as I grow creatively.
Are you a pyramid-climber?