Sheep Dressed Like Wolves -
Cliff Ravenscraft, the Podcast Answer Man talked on his show about something he called Problem, Moment, Solution: a device that we often use when communicating or telling stories. Unfortunately I can’t locate the specific episode where he talked it. If you know what I’m referring to then please get in touch.
How it works:
You start with a problem. Something has gone wrong. Or things have spiralled. You feel powerless or uninspired to do anything. But then something happens and you see the bigger picture. You have a moment where you realise that change is possible. There is a certain amount of struggle, before eventually a solution is found and resolution takes place.
Problem, Moment, Solution is not just a story narrative
There is something incredibly sad about a website that has been abandoned and left to rot. I often come across blogs when I’m researching themes and subjects, that while once full of life, ideas and progress have been left dormant and allowed to fade away.
In the film Heima, there is a moving scene where Sigur Ros play in an old fish processing building in an abandoned fishing village. They play a track called Gítardjamm in this once busy, but now empty and lifeless cave. They breathe a moment of life back into it. There was once a thriving fishing industry but it collapsed. This is a beautiful contrast of life and lifelessness.
Success: When you hear that word what comes to your mind?
Wealth, power, fame, status, a nice car, a big house, lots of friends, a great job, or owning a big business?
Strange hey. The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose”. That is simple, yet also very broad.
What drives what we do? What are our aims and purposes? Are they these extrinsic, and external byproducts of the work we do? They shouldn’t be, but they can easily become the measure of our worth and perceived success.
Last week I sat down to sort out the blogroll for Sheep Dressed Like Wolves. Well, it didn’t take long for me to get distracted. Rather than simply developing a list of links to all my favourite websites I did something else. Through a period of productive procrastination I actually created something quite different, unique, and dare I say inspired. I designed visual summaries of them all.
Re-Cycled and Re-Purposed
I had essentially re-cycled and re-purposed a bunch of platforms, and produced attractive, simple, and interactive visual summaries of each one. And now I will do the same for you.
What are they trying to tell me here?
It can be difficult to navigate a website or online platform when you are new to it. It is often confusing and hard to grasp what the message is and what value it can provide to you personally. A Visual Interactive Platform Summary (VIPS) is basically a visual representation of your entire web presence/message. It will help you to:
There is an often unspoken belief or expectation that those of us who feel pulled into some kind of creative endeavour will reach a point when it is time to give up our dreams of being an artist. Extrinsic results are expected eventually. It is thought that if you don’t reach a certain level of break through by a certain time then you should call it a day and get what might be described as ‘a real job’.
The problem with this paradigm is it rubs off on us. It drives us to change why we do what we do, and then in all likelihood the very thing we do, as well. Our creative work might easily become about proving our worth, creating something to make us look ‘successful’, choosing getting paid over doing something profound, and seeking the success as defined by society rather than being true to what we do best.
Being an Artist Has Nothing to do With Your Job
I like setting myself goals. I do it all the time. In fact it’s my favourite way to distract myself from sitting down and actually getting my work done. I sometimes set weekly goals, monthly goals, quarter-yearly goals, half-yearly goals, yearly goals, goals for the next five years, ten years, twenty years, and goals that will be written about, only in my obituary.
I even write goals for writing goals: ‘I will have created a list of 5 solid goals by the end of June’
Culture is a reflection. It mirrors the priorities and values of those who model it. And in turn those who model it reflect the priorities and values of the culture.
Gandhi often has the quote, ‘be the change you wish to see in the world’ attributed to him. This is just a snappier paraphrase of:
“We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.”
He captures the essence of reluctant leadership perfectly. We are responsible for the world in so far as we are responsible for the tendencies in our own attitude. Culture and society is the sum of the individual parts and we perpetuate whatever we don’t change in ourselves. So we are the change, or lack of change we see in the world.
There are countless resources throwing advice about how to ‘GET MORE DONE’ and ‘BEAT WRITERS BLOCK’. But there are times when the resistance still finds a way of getting on top of us. Like a virus, it finds new ways to subvert the medicine.
At these times, we have to be creative. We have to bargain, compromise, bribe, bully, psychologically manipulate, shout at, and threaten ourselves. Until we can get back to the doctor.
Imagination is a wonderful thing. It is at the heart of what makes us unique as individuals, and moreover it drives the creation and destruction of everything in the world. Almost everything we see around us was founded in the mind of someone at some point.
There is a danger. As we get older we can start using our imagination to reinforce the imagined reality in which we live, and without realising lose the tenacity and creativity of childhood.
Names are interesting. As soon as something has a name it becomes defined from a perspective outside of itself. Immediately its identity is changed by the baggage that comes with this use of language. We all attribute meaning to words in our own ways and therefore construct an identity of an object with a huge amount of our own influence.
I will try and explain what I mean in the context of my ‘new album’…
I think I have had an idea for my next music project. I am being very careful not to stifle it. A few months ago a title for my new ‘record’ came to me while I was walking home one afternoon.
As soon as I got through the front door I started trying to make sense of it. I wrote this ‘name’ in the middle of a page and fired ideas down around it, building up a spider diagram with loads of thoughts swirling about the paper.
For a while I had been trying to work out what to do with a bunch of new songs I had written. This seemed like a perfect opportunity. I wanted to make sense and find a place for them. Were they an album? How was I going to record them? Was this a big project? What did it all mean? I tried to fit them around this name.