It may be one of the hardest things to do, to move from ‘entertainer’ to ‘person of influence’. It’s natural for artists to lean this way because we set out to change the world then find that melody, pigment and stone don’t really do it. Darn!
Yes, the cameras are there but the journalists are more concerned with who you’re going out with rather than who you’re going IN with. When I say “in” I mean, whose ideas are you drawn to when it comes to supporting a bigger cause than yourself.
It’s so easy to come a cropper here. Bono is the first to spring to mind, Sting got a pasting but John Lennon managed to be borderline. Why did the bespectacled gum-chewing Beatle get away with it? I think maybe because he recognised, “The establishment will irritate you, pull your beard and flick your face to make you fight because once they’ve got you violent then they know how to handle you. The only thing they don’t know how to handle is non-violence and humour”.
Humour is the key here. Nonchalant intelligence. I posted a movie of Maya Angelou reading ‘Still I Rise’ recently. I think it’s fair to add ‘outrageous and irreverent sassiness’ when it comes to challenging the system.
Look at Sir Ken Robinson’s TED Talk, ‘Is Education Killing Creativity?’. Anecdotes and jokes for the first two thirds of it. Ten minutes in and we love him. The final third is a devastating critique of our Western education system. He builds trust, establishes his credentials then KAPOW! Nobody stands a chance, and we love him even more.
Bobby McFerrin doesn’t appear to have a political thought in his head on stage, but his work, bringing the audience together in harmony by letting them know what their soul already knows is radical. I’m just thinking aloud here. FOMO, fear of missing out, what about FOMI, fear of missing in? We’ve got it inside, that desire to come together and heal the world, we just need these subtle magicians, these facilitators and teachers to tease it out of us.
I’d never say Greta Thunberg was too earnest but, luckily for us, she didn’t start out as a singer. She went the other way. She chose ‘selective mutism’ from the age of 11 because she was so shocked at the lack of action about climate change. This led her to only speak when absolutely necessary. “Now is one of those moments”, she says, “I feel like I’m dying inside if I don’t protest”. A dedicated non-flyer you KNOW that the tabloid press are just praying for her to to board her first commercial flight so they can bring her crashing to the ground. I think they’ll have a long wait.
So what’s this work-in-progress book, this “CREATIVITY. What’s going on?”
I’m attempting to write something that doesn’t just entertain but describes, via anecdotes and musings, the neuroscience of the creative process. Why? Because I have access to influencers. I work with board members of corporations and I want them to make more creative decisions for the world. I’m a teacher and I want to teach in depth.
It won’t stop me being an activist and leading bands of Extinction Rebellion drummers through the streets because that’s the crazy path I’m walking these days. It won’t stop me training others to take my place either, which I’ve been invited to do recently.
Haha. I begin this post by saying “it may be one of the hardest things to do” to make this transition, but of course a harder thing to do is be a refugee, walk across several countries being abused by smugglers, then watch helplessly as your friends are beaten up by the police when you reach your destination. Before you’re beaten up yourself.
Pulling together some notes in a quiet kitchen by the river Thames is my summer holiday. Cue music.