Three years ago, I found myself pulling late-night shenanigans with Owuor Arunga, the trumpet player for Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. He referred to himself as the Sultan of Swag and was generally a scene, but he was also a genuinely great dude and a great conversationalist.
We talked for about half an hour—about what drives our art, about patience, about what shenanigans we like to pull (he pulls a lot). I don’t really remember anything specific other than one thing he said:
“Write. Every day. It doesn’t matter what medium you’re in. Just write whatever’s on your mind. I’m a better trumpet player ‘cause I write.”
After that (April 2013), I started writing every day (and have since gone through 11 journals). I keep one small notebook in my back pocket and one or two big notebooks in my backpack wherever I go. What I write is mostly stream-of-conscious and mostly for me. If something good comes out of it, that’s great. If what I write is crap, that’s fine, too. It’s often crap, and about 41% of it all is filed under Things That Make Me LOL, Songs That Sparked Me Today, Cool-Ass Words, and Bad Ass Quotes. It’s mostly observations.
The hope isn’t to write well, per se, or even spark ideas for projects (although ideas begin to come more resolutely). The hope is to breed a greater self-awareness and a greater non-judgemental instinct for any creative pursuit. The hope is to cultivate transparency towards our raw intuition. The hope is to make (effortless) connections and give ourselves the time, space, and freedom to act on them. You think of something then you write it down. You feel something then you write it down. You don’t question it. You just do it.
You learn to honor the quiet, little voice inside you until it’s neither that quiet or that little. And that might be scary at first, but each time you write what’s on your mind you gain more clarity and conviction. And that’s pretty damn cool.
“A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within.”—Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Being able to listen to our intuition–that’s the most important thing we can do, as people and as artists. Our intuitive self is the truest guide we have. I’ve been doing freelance art for the last 30 years–mostly street art installations around the world–because that’s what I’ve wanted to pour myself into. I make art out of trash. I live in LA, but I’m almost never there. I’m heading to Ireland next then Croatia, Australia, and Thailand. Your intuition is all you need to follow.”
“The true and durable path into and through experience involves being true..to your own solitude, true to your own secret knowledge.”–Seamus Heaney