June 27, 2022

I miss you, I love you, and I made this for you


Creation is the ultimate conduit to connection.

It is the joy of making things which earns us the opportunity to reach out and touch others. It’s the selfishness with which we create that affords us the generosity with which we can share those creations.

The hard part is getting into the habit of envisioning the connection before we start. One question that’s helpful for me to ask is:

What new creation would give me the perfect excuse to reach out to every single person in my life?

It’s actually one hell of a motivator. Because if I know that finishing my new project will become license to personally connect with dozens or hundreds or even thousands of people I care about, then there’s no doubt the work will get done.

Painting myself into that social corner will compel me to do work that I’m proud of.

Tweedy waxes eloquent about this process in his book on songwriting. Wilco’s frontman explains that one song is all it takes to make a connection:

The core of any creative act is an impulse to make manifest our powerful desire to connect with others, with ourselves, with the sacred, with god. We all want to feel less alone, and a song being sung is one of the clearest views we ever have to witness how humans reach out for warmth with our art.

The beauty of his philosophy is, it applies to all creative acts, not just musical ones. It’s proof that what we make matters less than why we make it. All it takes is one whatever to become the conduit to connection.

Over the years, I have launched hundreds of projects, like books, films, music, software, games and so on. But not all of them are heavily promoted. Often times a new project of mine will just appear out of the blue, and simply start existing in the world.

And that’s enough. That’s all the work needs.

Sometimes, however, there will be a project I’ve worked so incredibly hard on, that I’m so goddamn proud of, that I’m so convinced is going to change the world, that I can’t help but shout it from the rooftops.

That’s where creation becomes the conduit to connection.

What new creation would give you the perfect excuse to email every single person in your life?

This is why humans make things. It has to be. Creation is the conduit to connection.

Whatever interaction our work enables us to make, with self, with other, and with spirit, it’s all worth it.

How might painting yourself into a social corner compel you to do work that you’re proud of?