His name was Earl

Earl was a troubled child of no determinate birthplace.

His teenage mother would frequently take him to the ER with severe bronchial asthma, probably worsened from sleeping on the floor with the roaches.

By the time Earl was old enough to start school, his mother had knocked out his two front teeth.

When Earl was 7, his aunt got him drunk.

When Earl was 9, his mum locked him in his room all summer.

When Earl was 10, his mum sent him to an orphanage.

When Earl was 14, he was stealing a living on the streets.

When Earl was 16 he was sent to prison.

There, he committed to music and began selling mixtapes on his release.

When Earl was 28, he released three albums in two years. They all went multi-platinum.

Earl was imprisoned 30 times. Earl was a pastor. Earl was bipolar. Earl loved dogs and orchids. Earl was an artist.

Earl was a very troubled man who turned his hurt into some of the greatest, most honest art ever made.

There’s a lot to say about Earl “DMX” Simmons. But nobody can ever say he didn’t give us everything he had.

X gave it to us.

And for that, we’ll remember him forever.

 

 

Imperfect Unoriginality

 

Originality is almost as big a curse as perfection.

For millennia creatives have wasted their time trying to “be original.”

Due to the laws of nature, both measurable and imperceptible, nothing can be the same twice.

Nothing is the same. Nothing is original.

Even if it looks roughly the same. Even if we try to make it precisely the same — and we do — we’ll always cock it up somehow, and it’ll be its own, new, slightly different, not perfect thing.

The best creatives learn to do this “stealing like an artist” better than anyone else: taking something you like and doing it your way.

And although imperfect unoriginality might the best we can do.

It’s always a damn sight better than doing nothing.

 

 

Art we lucky?

Art is an excellent example of humanity at its best.

We’re so lucky to have the luxury of sitting around and thinking of ways to make things pretty. To have time to spare to make a little mark on the Universe:

“I’m just gonna draw my mate killing this mammoth because it was legendary.”

Isn’t that the greatest gift?

It’s probably True that most of what we create comes from a need to be remembered, for our time on this bald, wet little planet to mean something. Our infinity projects.

But you know what’s better than looking at art?

Making it.

It doesn’t matter if nobody sees it. It doesn’t matter if it gets hung on the fridge. It’s the making it that really makes you feel.

That’s what art’s really about.

Hopefully, after you made your art you’ll want to show it to someone.

And they’ll be interested to see what you’ve made.

And maybe you’ll even inspire them to make their own little mark on the world.

That’s art.

 

Making is better

There’s a lot of money to be made in the world of Art.

There’s a lot of poverty to be made as well.

One of the travesties of our childhood is that if you weren’t ‘creative’ then you didn’t get to do creative stuff.

But being human is being creative. It’s not something for ‘creative people.’

People are creative but we get trapped into thinking that what matters is that other people pay for it.

I’m blessed that anyone reads this; I truly am.

But strangely, it wasn’t until I accepted nobody might read it that I was able to start writing it at all.