Darned if I know. Perhaps I am simply too dumb to quit.
A few years ago, I came up with a vision to create an independent creative arts company. Sounds impressive? Hardly. Back then, all I had was a name for a company; as for what it did, I had no idea. In fact, even today I still struggle with exactly what to call BlueDorian, because I’m still not exactly sure what it is, or more appropriately, where its edge lies. What today is BlueDorian Media Entertainment was for a long time the record label BlueDorian Music, and before that, BlueDorian Productions, the producer of live concert events. Things keep shifting, alighting for a brief moment, then taking flight again. And for some reason that I cannot rationalize, I listen to those muses: I follow the sun.
Well, perhaps there is a fear-trigger in the air right now, because I am remembering, with painful clarity, how this is exactly the sort of behavior that I was admonished for for most of my young creative life: “Oh, Adam, you always over-think things!” “What’s wrong with you? You’re always shifting around!” I learned to resent my fluidity, and to feel as though there were something inherently wrong with my process.
In some ways as a result of all of this, I spent a good deal of time in my youth desperately trying to fit in, to belong to institutions, to be part of “it” clubs, believing that in order for me to survive, succeed, and—so I believed—find creative fulfillment, I would need their seal of approval, their commendation. My early attempts were mostly unsuccessful. But eventually I started to understand what I needed to do, what I needed to believe, to make it in the system.
I came across a number of different institutions. In all cases, what they asked of me was that I buy into their method, their tried and true approach, forsaking my own. In a general sense they all seemed to imply that to succeed I needed to boxcar myself, to compartmentalize, that I was to consider myself: “musician;” or perhaps, “composer;” or, at a stretch, “recording artist,” but whatever I was classed as, there was no switching, leaving the boxcar, and I should always know my place. If I absolutely must, I could write lyrics and call myself a “singer-songwriter,” but really, it’s preferable to leave that job to the “real” lyricists. And don’t write stories, that’s for people called playwrights and novelists, bookwriters, and screenwriters. And don’t even think about anything further than that. Yeah, all those video games and comic book concepts that you have swimming around your noggin? Forget those. Know your limits. Know your place.
And so I bought into that way of thinking, hoping it would get me in with the cool kids. And funnily enough, eventually, this behavior was validated. I put myself in a box for enough time, and was finally rewarded for it. And the system, having finally accepted me, took me to swirling heights of achievement. It was a thrilling, swashbuckling—if brief—tale of excitement and rockstardom that padded my ego and wrecked havoc on my mental and physical wellbeing. I was able to wake up, fortunately, before things got too out of hand.
Which brings me back to BlueDorian. Being capable of choosing the full expression of my Creative Self—weird, nerdy, epic, cross-platform, out-of-the-box, take your pick—over the expedience of what is expected of me has required that I become aware not so much of my limits or my place, but of my experience. And in each moment, my experience is that both my limits and my place are extremely mutable. They shift constantly. Every time I think I know the scope of what I can do, it changes. Sometimes it increases, sometimes it decreases. I never know where it is I am, other than right here.
So how am I supposed to know my place, at least in the way dictated by those institutions and their criteria? Know my limits? Sorry, I can’t. Not anymore. Or perhaps I lack to capacity to. So then I think to myself, heck, maybe that’s the reason I don’t quit. No, not because I’m so courageous, so visionary, so belief-filled, but because I’m just too oblivious to do otherwise. What is it? What is it that keeps me going? Foolhardiness? Persistence? I’m reminded of the comic book character Hal Jordan (a.k.a. Green Lantern), who in one particular story is asked: Why don’t you ever give up?
To which he replies, with characteristic defiance: I don’t know how!
So much of this way of thinking still exists, both in me and out there, and yet, still, I am here, be it for stupidity or stubbornness, for some reason convinced that there is some other way, some other means for me to create what I envision, some other path through which I can manifest the beautiful world I see in my heart’s eye, some other method via which I may succeed on my own terms.
Why? Nothing outside confirms this. Nothing outside ever has. In fact, all the validation I have ever gotten from the outside world has come when I have chosen expedience over alignment, myth and image over truth.
So what the heck do I do?
I’ll tell you. I keep going. Somehow. Day by day. Moment by moment. Why? Your guess is as good as mine.