Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Greatest.

I think part of the reason why I got into The Beatles was the intrigue.  It's incredibly fascinating to me to think of how they're widely considered the greatest band ever - at least the most influential.  And there's a sort of mystique there.  For ten years, they created music that would outlive the life of the band by a long run.  Something that started out so small that exploded into a long-lasting phenomenon.  And can you imagine - being the greatest at something?  That mystique, as I listened through Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band for the first time, captivated more so by the reputation of the music than the music itself.  To think I was listening to what many say is the greatest album ever released - some part of me grabs onto that.

Probably the lingering vestiges of pride.  The last remnant of a desire within me to be the best.  Something that has been melted away, courtesy of the Lord's work on my life, but lingers in the sense of that I know a part of me still wants to create something so indisputably and widely great.  I don't care to be better than anyone else, but to be the best of myself - it's so alluring.  Not enough to drive me to obsession - I realize the importance of life lies not in the opinions of others about you.  I won't strive for it - not for approval, no.  But I do believe there is merit in creating something great.  Why create at all, I almost wonder, if you're not aiming for it to be some kind of great (whether or not it actually ends up as such)?  And I cannot lie to you or myself or God - I want to create something great.

And the small part of my flesh that will probably never die wants to create the greatest.  I won't indulge such pride, though.

But I think that want helps solidify my fascination and love for Paul McCartney.  He had such ambition - to the point that it annoyed his bandmates.  His desire for perfection in his works, how he kept trying to innovate and push forward - I see so much of myself in that, and I'm not sure how good or bad that is.  I don't stop at snippets at idea - everything because grand visions for me.  I always want to push forward with my work, but am hindered by how I feel no one else around me feels that same passion quite to the level I live in it.

And then I'm especially intrigued by Brian Wilson - creative genius behind The Beach Boys.  And how that same ambition and drive that McCartney had ended up failing Wilson in - driving him crazy.  I was reading yesterday in Barnes and Noble about his unfinished album - Smile.  It was slated to be an absolute masterpiece - something that would've thrown a wrench into The Beatles ascension into most influential and widely praised rock band ever.  Wilson slaved over it, and I have the feeling that no one around him quite understood his obsession - how nothing was good enough, how he had to keep on pushing boundaries to create his perfection.  And it's so interesting how his quest for greatness ended up tearing him apart - because he set standards for himself that he couldn't quite reach.  It's as tragic as it is absolutely intriguing.

So I see the flaws behind such a pursuit - how easily the creative process can destroy a person.  But yet I can't help but feel inspired.  Driven to create a masterpiece, and I'm not sure why.  It's not for acclaim.  It's not for meaning.  I can't even say it's to give something to the world, which is what is at the heart of my usual creative endeavors (minus the few times I create purely to create - a self-indulgence because I just need to since it's such an integral part of me).  Maybe it's simply just to do it.  Or it's the most appropriate outlet for all this passion and energy residing inside me.  I want to pour my all into something - not obsessively, but thoroughly and create something that had never been seen.  That rocks the world.

I can't say if it's terrible or alright.  The intent of isn't bad.  I think it's quite innocent, but seeing how the world approaches such a desire - I know it can be a dangerous pursuit.  If it happens, then it happens.  I think it's alright to want to create greatness.  But I know it can lead straight into the meaningless, superficial path of everything the world glorifies and nothing that God does.  And that is the last thing I want.

I think where it lies is that if I create something great, I create it for God.  To use the talents He's given me - to enjoy His gifts and to glorify Him in the process.  And if that forever resides at the heart of it, I think it's fine.

I'm slowly easing into a creative oasis, it feels like.  Maybe it's this hotel room or this nomadic life or just a new season, as happens so often.  But I'm gonna ride it, because I love creating.  And I will strive to create greatness.  I will explore, experiment, learn, and have fun.  I will push the bounds to grow and better my work, because I think regardless, stagnancy isn't optimal.  And maybe I'll even try for a masterpiece.  But if I fail, I won't be upset, because I know there is so much more to life than just that.  I'll do it because I enjoy it thoroughly, not to earn some intangible praise from people who don't even know me.

Paul McCartney, though.  He's definitely an inspiration.  I'd only be so blessed if I could accomplish in my field what he accomplished in his.

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