I Guess Im Doing Performance Art

September - 2020

The most powerful weapon used to stifle new work is a single word:

Why?

It's a question on my mind, but I'm doing the matrix style back bend dodge.

I'm trying to answer that question for myself. Not because I need a reason, but because I want to be able to provide one when other folks ask. (the good news is that I've done enough stuff over the years that I've got a little bit of a callous built up to protect me against why. )

The thing that comes to mind is that having an answer to why is a shield.

The pressure to have to explain what were doing starts and childhood in never lets up.

If we can get started and get a few out, we can say it's because it's a

If you don't have an answer (and, increasingly, if that answer isn't "to make money") the disapproval is palpable.

(especially if the answer isn't money)

There's a continum of creative vulnerability. The less you've done something the more vunlerable you are. The more unsure of yourself. The more you don't know "why".

We have all these new tools and technologies and things are still shaking out. Think about live streaming games. When folks were first doing that, it wasn't for mone.

It's most desctructive when it comes from others, but our own brains can fuck us up just as easily.

We're vulnerable when we're creative. Exposing ourselves. When it's something new, we may not know why. We just know that we're compelled to do it.

It doesn't have to be uttered by someone else. Our own brains can fuck us up just fine.

It's been fucking with me and it wasn't even someone else asking. It was some part of my own brain. The little devil on my shoulder, maybe? Nahhhh, he's into fucking around with shit. I guess that leaves the angel?

The most powerful weapon used against artists is a single word:

Why?

Nothing can kill a creative endeavor like that one syllable.

But, before we get to that, let's get to art and artists.

But, before we get to "why", let's talk about the words "art" and "artist".

That word fucks with me and I know exactly why

Here's the problem with the word artist in my head. The defintions that come up match those in my head:

  • a person who produces paintings or drawings as a profession or hobby.

  • a person who practices any of the various creative arts, such as a sculptor, novelist, poet, or filmmaker.

  • a person skilled at a particular task or occupation.

Noting fucks with someone who's trying to make something like the word why.

It doesn't even have to be spoken by someone else. Our own heads can do it to us.

Before we get to that, let's

I've been streaming a lot.

Like, A LOT. (Writing this on stream, as a matter of fact.)

Mostly, it's been coding. But, I'm also streaming writing sessions and night time chill out session just listening to music and making gifs.

The drive to live code is easy to identify. I love teaching. I'm not a teacher, but I fall back to the definition of teaching:

to show or explain to how to do something

That's what I do.

Teaching is familiar. The medium is different and it's not something I could do professionally, but it's something I can do with this technology. It's easy to answer the question why....

The impulse behind the writing and gif streams is different. I haven't been able to describe it or label it.

The lack of language to identify it almost stopped me.

When we're knew to making new things, we're afraid of the simpliest of words: why.

That word is a killer.

I don't know why. I'm just doing it.

That's the reason we invented phrases like The Spirit Moved Me and the Muses.

why is a weapon wielded to attack


I take the approach that I'm teaching new developers. I walk through my thought process and show the coding I do and the debugging that goes along with it. Mom was a teacher and I got that gene.

I treat it as if I'm mentoring new developers.

I try to be a mentor. That feels arrogant to say. Like, who the hell am I to think I can be a mentor. But, that's the way that I look at it...

but it's the way I look at it.

In lots of respects, I don't have anywhere near the credentails to do that. I've always been a jack-of-all-trades and only learn as much as I need to to get whatever I'm working on done. (That sounds bad and lazy, but I don't think it is, it's just an approach. And, I think it's one most of us do, I just happen to jump around more than folks that work on specific things, but then there's devops, sooo, I don't know. I was devops before devops was cool. )

I take the approach that I'm teaching. Explaining what I'm thinking and what I'm doing. I have this idea of an audience of newish developers watching me so I try to speak to them at their level. But, also, it's more than that, it's more like I speak to developers who haven't worked on the thing that I'm working on before.

I love the feeling of teaching. Trying to find the right words to convey information. It feels like magic. I get excited about figure things out. And, half the time, that's what I'm doing on the streams. Figuring stuff out.


The impulse to stream writing and gif making is harder to identify. I haven't identified it yet. I can feel it, but I don't have the language to label it.

Or, Ihaven't been able to label it yet.

Something this experiment has uncovered is that I can do more stuff while streaming. Like, I know that I'm performing and that there's folks watching and that keeps me focused. It also gets me to do work. For example, I've had work that I wanted to do on one of my websites for forever. It wasn't until I started streaming with a list of things to tackle that I got to it.

Yeah, it's like a.... stimulant of focus. guide rails of focus.

focus guide rails.

with the entire internet acting as a temptress

with the temptress of the internet lurking...



I wonder if we've invented a new muse. The muse of streaming.

The Nine Muses:

  • Calliope was the muse of epic poetry.
  • Clio was the muse of history.
  • Erato was the muse of love poetry.
  • Euterpe was the muse of music.
  • Melpomene was the muse of tragedy.
  • Polyhymnia was the muse of sacred poetry.
  • Terpsichore was the muse of dance.
  • Thalia was the muse of comedy.
  • Urania was the muse of astronomy.

there's also been gif making and writing. (In fact, I'm streaming this right now)

I'm not sure why I doing this. Well, the coding I get. I love the presentation and the teaching aspect. That, even though half the time I'm stumbling around trying to figure out what to do and there are occsaional hours where I'm just installing software.

Most of what I've been doing has been coding. There's also been some making of animated gifs and some writing.

I've also been recording my journal writing and then posting them sped up with music backing.

There's also the videos I've been shooting in my car. I've got a years worth of those. Still haven't posted those, but I'm getting there.

All this stuff is new.

Or, it's in a new way.

I used to write in my blog and work on my site, but not as much as I once thought.

The change is the meds. (And the healing from the brain damage caused by bipolar episodes.)