Monday, October 20, 2014

self-curated creativity

I'd like to get something off my chest. Like most goals I made for myself in 2014, I failed at not buying the new iPhone. In the end, the desire to stay in sync contract-wise with my partner weighed out my determination to accomplish something. And I sort of accomplished something by doing it anyway. The steps I had to follow to get the new iPhone (paying off the 5C, paying for the new iPhone) were expensive upfront, but will save me about $20 a month on my cell phone plan, and that's a good chunk of money. I don't regret it, though I'm now dealing with two other first world problems.

First, my computer is starting a decline. I've already decided upon a solution, and it is a rational one. I will replace the hard drive with a solid-state drive (no moving parts! extremely fast, everyone says) and I will double the memory (RAM) while I've got my dear Honeycrisp under the knife. I will do these upgrades myself armed with the vast knowledge of the internet. If you'd like to help me afford these upgrades, feel free to send some $$ to the PayPal account in the column on your right...scroll down a bit.

Second, my fitbit (pedometer/fitness tracker) has met its end as well. I've had it a year and it will no longer hold a charge longer than 12 hours at the most, meaning I can't properly track my steps!! AAAAAHHH. This shouldn't be a tragedy except that the only reason I go for walks and get my steps EVER is because I get credit for it. That's so unbelievably lame, but it's true. I don't yet know what my solution to this issue will be. I might buy a cheaper fitbit model. I have already emailed the company because I should be within warranty, but I'm not hopeful I'll be able to resolve this the easy way. My new iPhone has a motion processor. It can count my steps, but only when I have the phone on me. So, I could just take the phone with me on walks and runs and call it good. That idea sounds the most rational because it won't cost a thing, but do I ever take the rational route anymore? I feel I've lost my grip on the rational.

Buuuuut, I hadn't meant to whine about which electronics I do and don't need. I meant to talk about something much more positive.

I'd like to talk about one way in which our society's progress has been towards the good. Yes, we have too many screens/too little focus on the world around us. Yes, we're getting older. Yes, our private lives are online, but this has its advantages.

Everyone can do everything these days. If I wanted to publish a book, I know exactly how to do it myself. If I wanted to make music, I'd upload it instantly to soundcloud. 24 hours before my first DJ gig I downloaded software called VirtualDJ, learned a bit about it and used it immediately. If I were an artist, I could sell my stuff on any number of websites without any intermediaries aside from the web services themselves. If I wanted to make movies, I could use my phone and an internet connection to upload them to YouTube.

When I decided to create a radio station, I downloaded a program (later had to pay a licensing fee to use the program beyond the trial period), signed up for a free server (later decided to pay $17 every three months for a server capable of being listed on shoutcast I could be on the Tune In app) and started broadcasting. It took a lot of research to get everything working together, but I finally got it up and running and it's my favorite thing I've done all year.

A person doesn't need a record executive anymore to get their sound heard. A person doesn't need a gallery to get their art seen. Sure, no one makes money anymore, but did we ever? Probably the same amount of people "make it big" as ever, it's just that now the rest of us can do our thing too. We can put our art out there in whatever form(s) we make it at no cost to us or our audience.

I really like the way I put my art out there. I make a zine and don't charge for it. I have a radio station that's free to anyone with an internet connection. I have a YouTube channel that's free too. If I ever publish a book, I might make that available for free as well. I can do this because I have no expectations of ever being able to promote myself enough to charge people for what I do and because largely everything I do costs me nothing but time.

All of the things I do can be done for free or nearly so. All of the creativity you can ever possibly exude can be put onto the internet. Anything you'd ever want to learn can be found on the internet. Here's a few short tutorials:

BLOG: Go to or or or and sign up for an account and start typing your thoughts. When you feel like you're done typing, press "publish".

You're now a writer!

RADIO STATION: Sign up for an account on Download a program called Nicecast if you're a Mac user and SAM broadcaster (or something similar; Google it) if you're a PC user. Do lots of research, do a test broadcast, then tell people how to find you and play some tunes!

You're now a radio DJ!

ZINE: Put things on paper by whatever means necessary (computer printout, typewriter, Sharpie, collage, drawings, comics, etc) then make copies of that paper and hand them out to friends and family. Google zine layouts if you have more than one page and want to get fancy with staples and folds and shit.

You're now a magazine editor!

YOUTUBE CHANNEL/VLOG: Sign up for a Google account. You probably already have one. Record a video on a device you probably already have (phone, tablet, digital camera, webcam on your computer, etc). Use whatever means necessary to transfer that video to your computer (USB cable, email, Dropbox, etc). Go to and select "upload".

Several hours later (unless you have AMAZING internet speeds or you only uploaded a 5 minute video) you're now a video producer/vlogger!

DJ: Download a program called Virtual DJ. Look up a few tutorials on how to use it on YouTube. Play with transitions and beat-matching and sound effects or whatever else you want.

You're now a DJ!

I firmly believe that being a DJ or a writer or whatever other creativity-creature you want to be doesn't have to be a prescribed set process. Doing it in whatever way makes you feel comfortable is still doing it. I've stopped doing many things in my life because someone else told me I was doing it wrong. My process in general has always been to jump in and see how it feels (usually after hours of research, but still). I go from not doing it to putting it up on the internet in no time flat. Some would say that's rash. Some would say I don't know what I'm doing. They're right, but I'm figuring it out. Becoming anything you want to become isn't sacred, or rather it is sacred, but the process isn't up to anyone but YOU. You hold the sanctity within yourself. YOU place the meaning on what you're doing. Don't let anyone else dictate your path. Everything can be done by everyone. The pressure to be "the best" at things causes us to not start things, not post things while we're still in the process of becoming...

well, guess what? We're never DONE becoming who we are. I hope to someday make music. I hope to someday write a novel or two. I hope to get better at DJing and see if I like it. I hope to keep making zines and posting blogs and vlogs and radio shows. These things are done by a perpetual amateur, but love me how I am or don't love me at all.

You know?