The Hell of Being an Artist

When you’re creative, you create. That’s what you’re born to do. You write. You draw. You make music, tell stories, organize words in a way that is meant to move, educate, or entertain. This is how creators speak to the rest of society, because explaining your feelings sometimes doesn’t make sense. You want your projects to somehow change the world, but most times, it won’t.

You might write a song that means the world to you, but means nothing to everyone else. Why would anyone want to hear your crappy, amateur song when there’s a whole world of real music on YouTube or Spotify you can listen to? You might draw a picture that signifies the constant war you have inside of you, but it isn’t as good as that painting hanging up at the museum, or be as detailed as that Oatmeal guy, so why bother?

You make a funny video on YouTube, only for no one to watch it except that old friend of yours who just wants to see you stop making videos because they’re scared of a little creative competition. They don’t understand that they’re secretly destroying the only thing that keeps you from jumping off the roof.

And when you’ve spent all your energy creating for no one else to understand it, you’re tired. You’ve felt like the work was for nothing. No response. No support. No reason to keep being creative. And the worst part is, we can’t stop.

“Just let the pros do it. Let *them* be the creative ones.”

No. No, it doesn’t work that way. You don’t tell a wounded bird to stop flying because other birds fly better. You don’t tell a sick person that they’re useless now. You keep up their strength by inspiring them. When you’re creative, there is no amount that will satisfy us. But its all we have. And when we get so tired that we can’t write or draw anymore, there’s nothing left for us.

Don’t tell me you love me if you can’t embrace my creative outlets. Don’t tell me you think the world of me if you can’t inspire me. Don’t tell me that growing up and being an adult is an alternate to being creative.

It doesn’t work that way. It can’t work that way.

Being an artist is hell.

The Most Honest Ghost Story You’ll Read All Day

This is an actual ghost story. It may not be creepy or scare you or keep you up at night, but it’s a ghost story. It’s honest, and it’s, believe it or not, uplifting.

At one time, I lived in a cavernous 50-year-old single-family house that never saw a single renovation. It wasn’t a bad house by any stretch; it was just a temporary place to live while I finished school and got my life sorted out. With a lot of TLC, it could have been gorgeous.

I don’t know much about the history of the house, but I do know that before I lived there, an older lady lived in the house by herself. According to some of the neighbors, she apparently had died there several years prior. At first I paid no attention to the story, until I realized something. I could hear her walking around. Often times, I would be working in my basement, when I would hear her light footsteps above me. There was no one else in the house, and I had no pets. This happened regularly. I would hear her walking back and forth, seemingly whenever.

It didn’t bother me. I embraced her presence. During my tenure there, I usually felt a feeling of comfort moments before any kind of bad news would come my way. It was if she already knew that something had happened and she was bracing me for the worst. I believe that she was a caring soul and she looked out for the best in me, like I was one of her own kids. I never knew her name, or anything about her. But I know she looked out for me. I miss her presence. Sometimes I feel like she was the only person, living or dead, who truly cared about me during that time.

Not all ghost stories have to be scary.