Oddly, that real world feels a lot like a Monty Python sketch. I came from the banking and customer service world and wanted something completely and utterly different, thus they all called me for a job as a helpdesk employee. This is the ridiculous reality of trying to evolve as a human being in this economy. There will always be someone who'll say "back to your seat". I most definitely did not want to go back to my seat. That seat was ungrateful, unfair, underappreciated. "But you're good at that," some lady on the phone said. "Yeah, I know, but fuck that," I replied, which is never a good thing to say when someone is offering you a job as a phone agent. The girl promised to call back as soon as she had something else that might interest me, which assured me that I would never hear from her again. I was right about that.
Still, there had to be food on the table and water in my toilet. So after a long period of slowly giving up something suddenly fell into my lap. I did not see it coming, my wife did. Still, in only a matter of days I found myself behind the counter of a book store. Paid. All of a sudden there was a job that did not include sentences like "My computer doesn't work and it's your fault." or "You can not drink soup at your desk but you can drink coffee." or "I'm going to hang myself." Now there were new skills to learn, like how not to drop a box with newspapers off the stairs. I learned that the hard way. I needed only four working days for my first wound. That box has nasty sharp edges. The scratch healed quickly but the security guard still laughs when he sees me.
But instead, I became some sort of Bernard Black, a cynical, people hating bookstore worker. The only difference is, I quite enjoy this job and I can be a pretty cool version of me in there, which is probably a lot more valuable than money (but don't tell that to my boss). Sure, I understand the woman's doubts. She feels I should stand on my own legs but those legs are so deeply rooted in the creative underground that they simply don't make any money. And that is the harsh reality of being a creative generalist. My mind rages way too fast to focus on one idea for the rest of my career.
I'm slowly finishing my second novel, 'I Do Not Want This'. There are already blueprints for a new project and yesterday I created the main characters for yet another one. In between I'm recording music with my band Synchyse and I've started working on the new EP by Misantronics vs Mint Narcosis. Mind you, those all need artwork and guess who is working on those. I'm back in the game as far as music reviews are concerned and then there is this blog. In fact, there is already another part of this very blog in the making. Confusing? Perhaps. Oh, and I love making pictures of squirrels, birds and everything that could become cover art. Busy busy busy. Meanwhile, there is a household to maintain and I'm bloody glad that there are no children involved in it, just a fat, lazy cat. Sometimes I'm surprised I managed to keep her alive for over a decade. I guess my wife is mostly responsible for that, though.
So, what to do with my life? Spotify is not the answer. Renting a store to sell the games I create is not the answer. Smashwords is not the answer. At least not in this phase of my creative career. The answer is, in my case, finding something certain and steady which gives you the time to let the creative juices flow. Those will flow anyway. Whenever, wherever. Only extremely hard drugs can stop that, like anesthesia or a severe alcohol black-out. This creative generalism, advantage or handicap, will forever push ideas towards my fingers. Many of those ideas will fail, as many have in the past but perhaps, one day, one of those will hit the right spot. I've had time to observe this creative generalism and I think I know what it feels like. It's like a gambling addiction. Many of my colleagues in the creative underworld suffer from it. They are unstoppable. They continuously come up with new songs, poems, stories, paintings or drawings, hoping that one of them will make them climb that ladder to the treasure chest of creativity. Most of them will never get there, including me. Why?
Creative generalism is a bit like the cast of the Young Ones living in your head. First you're pissed off like Vivian. Then you take action and fail miserably like Rick, only to give up like Neil or become a hardass like Mike. When you're lucky, someone like Cliff Richard will come along and give you a heap of money. I think we're all waiting for the one-armed bandit of creativity to be generous one day. We live on hope and thrive on finding new ways to climb that ladder. Some of us want to create the soundtrack for the next Hollywood hit, and they would be brilliant at that job. Others, I, want to write that nine-star Netflix series. Still others want to invent the next bestselling game or become an executive in an inspiring eco-friendly firm.
I put the word "executive" in there just to end this blog with a picture of drunk Hyacinth. I know a lot of creative generalists are a bit like her: trying to become more respected, famous and admired than they are. But it does not always work that way. We mess up, we tumble down, but we get up again, you never gonna keep us down. Shit, see, that's what happens when you're a creative generalist. You just start singing...