Archive for September, 2009
Hello my friend,
Welcome to the 5th installment of The Creative Journey, the experience of one Charles Yerkes, Eadarian Poet, perpetuator, and otherwise mildly creative and excessively modest personage.
I don’t know about you, but being a very creative individual myself, I find it hard to focus my thoughts into business mode. Crunching numbers, business plans, and selling those plans and my creative endeavors to others is very hard. I write stories, tell stories, take photographs, and play fiddle – all of which I do very well (ok the fiddle is at least progressing well). But how do I market this? Who is my “target” market? How do I get operating capital to make all of this go?
These are the types of questions that make my head hurt. There are almost not enough aspirin in the whole wide world!
Yet, these are the very questions that must not only be answered but also must have action taken based on the answers.
That is the stage this journey is at. Knowing that in order to get to the lush land of only being creative, I must traverse the hot and arid desert of business. I really wonder if there is a canteen huge enough to hold all the water I’ll need in making this trek across such inhospitable land.
I know the answer is yes. I’m just not looking forward to this part of the journey.
Well… no sense is putting it off…
Until next time my friend,
Live Nobly and Live Well.
Hello my friend,
Welcome to the 4th installment of The Creative Journey, the experience of one Charles Yerkes, Eadarian Poet, perpetuator, and otherwise mildly creative and excessively modest personage.
Part of any journey is deciding how things are going to be approached. What the guiding factors, ideas, premises are to be… or more simply, why you do what you do.
There has been a major movement in this country toward a focus on mere self-expression. While self-expression is a good thing; indeed, part of any art is in some manner an expression of the artist. Yet, when we focus on self as the main theme, the main idea, and the main driving muse – we loose the art itself. Because now art is made a subservient, a slave to our own expressions and is limited to our selfish whims, desires, and thoughts.
To illustrate this – it is the same as when a business, say a coffee shop, begins to solely focus on “the bottom line” and not on what made it a successful coffee shop – taking care of customers, quality beverages, friendly staff, ect. Business then wanes because customers are not being taken care of as they once were. While every business must keep an eye on the bottom line (just as all art, at some level, is an expression of the artist), when the main focus shifts to the bottom line (i.e. focusing only on self expression, only on what the self wants) then that coffee shop is less than it was or than it could be. Similarly when the focus is only on “me”, “I”, “my”, on what “I” think is cool, what “I” like, and what “my” art is all about, then a respect for art is lost and that artistic expression is not all it could be.
Up to now I have not been saying what is or is not art. Simply that when we respect art as something outside ourselves, as something more than ourselves, that our expressions are transported into something more than we could have imagined. It is as if “art” takes our ideas, our expressions and transforms them, stretches them, refines them, and hones them more into art than we could do ourselves.
This is what takes a work from being blah to being ok, form ok to good, from good to great, and from great into being a masterpiece.
Though I do think that some things produced under the name of art are not. Just as many things masquerade under the guise of one thing but are actually another. But that is a discussion for another day.
This discussion is simply to say that the creative journey I am on is full of respect. Respect for art, the stories, the music… well art in all forms.
A respect that allows the art to shape the stories and photos on this site, working hand in hand with the ideas and input I have, with the self-expression that is present and which must be present in all art.
And then there is respect for the end viewer, or listener, whichever the case maybe. Not that I take into account the whims of my audience, nor do I consider what criticisms may or may not arise. But I respect that this art is as much for them to view or listen to as it is for me to generate. This leads to maintaining the respect for art that was mentioned earlier. It all goes hand in hand – layer upon layer.
Respect… we could use a little more of this these days. Respect your art, whatever that art may be, and respect others by doing so.
Well my friend, this is all the time we have for now. So until next time..
Live Nobly and Live Well.
Hello my friend,
Welcome to the 3rd installment of The Creative Journey, the experience of one Charles Yerkes; Eadarian Poet, perpetuator, and otherwise mildly creative and excessively modest personage.
The art of storytelling is perhaps one of the most overlooked arts in the world today. And I think it is one of the most misunderstood. Storytelling is often relegated to the world of children, grownups hear stories too but mostly in movies, on tv, or perhaps they read one in print. But they do not take to time to listen to another person tell a tale. Once the word “storyteller” is spoken the first thing that comes to their mind is “children”. While children do benefit and enjoy someone telling them a story, adults will often deny themselves this same stimulation, which to my mind is rather juvenile. But be that as it may, what I want to do today is simply relate how I started on the path of this storytelling journey.
This all started 20+ years ago, in a coffee shop. Well, to be honest it was a coffee house not a coffee shop. The difference being that this was in the basement of a church, not a set store where we now go and buy our favorite caffeinated beverage, and this was in Providence RI (not that this made it a coffee house and not a shop, but… anyway… ) I have forgotten the name of it now, but they set up those 50 gallon coffee urns and had a display of all those wonderful Celestial Seasoning teas. (Funny side note, a friend of mine from Shanghai, upon tasting one of these teas, leaned over to me and said, rather politely, “This is not tea.” I had to agree, but hey that was America in the mid 1980’s, besides Lipton, this was about as much like tea as we could get.) Anyway, this coffee house was more of a venue for folk artists, musicians, and storytellers then a place to get coffee. It was during a Halloween season that I first saw professional storytelling. They told many ghost stories that night and what amazed me was that they were such simple stories, yet as they were being told, I was right in the middle of everything that was happening. The imagery was so real, so vivid… these tellers took me any where they wanted to go and I was excited to be there. (If you have never seen a talented storyteller do their thing, go do so. Stop everything else and deny yourself no longer! That being said, there are such things as bad tellers. Yes, everyone has a story, but no, not everyone should tell it. Find a good one, and sit back, and be amazed.)
To be able to take someone and have them be scared, excited, crying, and laughing during the coarse of an evening is truly a gift, an art unparalleled. The art of interacting with the audience, of presenting material, that under any other circumstance would be stupid at worst and illogical at best, in ways that inspires a listener, captures his imagination, and transports him to another place and time, is one that is perhaps of most value to any civilization. It is magic in the purest sense of the word. And this night there was magic in the way the stories came to life in these tellers. This was something I had never seen before. I was so entranced that when I got home, I was able to tell everyone several of the stories I had heard and was able to watch their eyes as I created the same experience for them that I had encountered at the coffee house.
That was the start of it all. When you are the one on the giving end of this magic… when you are the teller, there is no feeling like it. Knowing that you have positively impacted someone is a thrill not to be missed. For that is where the magic lies, not in the applause, not in the praise, but in the eyes of those in whom your stories have made a difference, even if it is only to help them laugh or perhaps to touch them on a level where they now know they are not alone. How people are touched, is not so important as that they are. One of the mysteries of storytelling is that each listener brings their own experiences and backgrounds with them and it is always through these that they hear the stories. And they may be hearing something that you never thought of while telling and be touched in ways you could never imagine.
Well, I’m a little long and time is fleeting.
With miles to go before I sleep,
And myriads of promises with which to keep,
I must go for now.
Until next time my friend,
Live Nobly and Live Well,