Telling yourself you have all the time in the world, all of the money in the world, all the colors in the palette, anything you want—that just kills creativity.—Jack White
Last Friday night, five days after Tom Brady became immortal, I went to see my friend, Patrick, play the drums in his uncle’s band at a bar in Somerville (which, I realize now, might be the most Boston sentence I’ve ever written). They’re called Lost Lake. They’re super fun. Patrick’s the youngest in the band by 25 years, and they’ve got this awesome buoyancy – like a sunnier, female-led version of the Pixies. (If the Pixies are known for their work on the Fight Club soundtrack, Lost Lake would probably be known for their work on a more upbeat, early ‘90s, funky rom-com starring Joan Cusack and Woody Harrelson where they’re librarians by day and roller skaters by night. Or something.).
Lost Lake plays in Somerville bars and records in janky, Cambridge recording studios that look like fronts for Walt and Jessie’s cooking. They jam in basements. Each time I see them, I think, man, there’s always time to create.
Patrick’s a busy dude. He’s gearing up for medical school, working til 11:00 most nights at a hospital nearby, all while diligently maintaining a mustache and a Man Bun that are as impressive as they are gross. But he always makes time – to jam, to play gigs, to hash out lyrics, to see shows. You see how little free time he has, and then you see the fire he has when he is playing. It rocks (and rolls).
I saw my longhaired pal rock out last week and was reminded of three other medical pals who are similar I.C.E.s (“Inspiration in Creative Efficiency” -Gibbons, 2017): my old teammate, Cooper, my old roommate, John, and my brother-in-law, Nick.
Cooper’s a second-year med student who emerges from long rotations at the hospital, groggy and scruffy, only to go on epic hikes and take epic pictures while on epic hikes. He’s a west coast wanderer with an alertness for documenting landscape and a knack for keeping his camera locked and loaded.
John does Parkinson’s research and is starting med school in the fall. Every Thursday on his way to work—sometime after the first cup of coffee and before the second—he posts a throwback on Instagram from his endless archive of snowy Vermont, blue Iceland, and orange Boston sunsets. He’s a Commuting Curator.
Nick’s a second-year orthopedic surgeon resident which means, in the roughly six hours he’s not at the hospital each day, he sleeps, eats, and sleeps. If you give him an inch of freedom, he’ll sleep. If you give him two inches, he’ll sleep —and then he’ll strap a GoPro to his dog. Or pull GoPro golfing shenanigans. Or just film his dweeby brother-in-law shooting hoops.
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Last year, Drummer Patrick asked me a fascinating question: Is Adam Sandler less funny than he was 20 years ago when he seemingly peaked with such 5th-grade-boy classics like Happy Gilmore and Billy Madison? OR, has he actually not been that funny this whole time? It’s a valid question worth asking. (I tend to think there was once a time he was sorta funny and has since fallen off/made a career of cracking C+ poop jokes with Kevin James and David Spade.)
The Sandler Debate reminded me of another mid-to-late ’90s comedy (starring a former SNL cast member) that hasn’t aged very well: Doctor Dolittle. It’s the second movie I remember seeing in theaters (after The Parent Trap). At the time, I thought Eddie Murphy was hysterical. I watched it again recently, and he was most definitely not hysterical.
There are certain artists who do little with a lot of resources. And there are certain folks who do a lot with little. There’s Doctor Dolittle. And there’s Doctor DoLots with little time.
The enemy of art is the absence of limitations. – Orson Welles