not a beautiful or unique snowflake (nothings) wrote,
not a beautiful or unique snowflake

My earlier comment, "I am a jack-of-all-creative-trades, and master of none" was inspired by a certain amount of, mmm, self-doubt about my, mmm, artistic worthiness, in part upon learning that the first Nine Inch Nails album was recorded on a 4-track, and knowing how little I was ever able to accomplish with a 4-track. (This is not an entirely fair comparison, since I suspect that was a 4-track with a synchronized sequencer driving 4 synthesizers as well.) And then I think about how wth The Magnetic Fields 69 Love Songs, Stephin Merritt managed to churn out in a presumably short period of time 69 songs that are pretty much every single one superior (lyrically and overall "sounding like a song") to everything I've written in twenty years.

So here's a list of creative endeavors and a self-evaluation of them:

  • prose - I've written the occasional very-short-story for talk.bizarre, and a rough draft of what I guess turned out to be a novella; none of it was that good, and I don't feel like I have very good ideas for this sort of thing too often; longer forms I suck at because I'm not a good lots-of-details person
  • poetry - I like wordplay and I like some sections of things I've put together, but I've never worked in the medium very seriously, more just as light entertainment
  • screenwriting - This is my only really active writing area right now, and it's so horribly doomed. Doomed because it's pointless (except for learning) to write screenplays that will never be made, and I really don't ever imagine I'll succeed; in fact I don't have any real intent to try to. So in practice I'd be better off sticking with a medium where at least I can have 50 or 250 people enjoy reading what's written in the form it was written, and screenplays are not that form
  • music - I think I have somewhat of a talent for melody; this is part of why I've shifted towards pop music, where the vocal melody is at the forefront. Harmonically, I don't know; a lot of music I listen to is very unadventurous harmonically--probably 75% of 69 Love Songs is built around I-IV-V and I-vi-IV-V, and Lisa Germano's stuff is fairly similar; whereas my chords sequences tend to be much more complicated (sophisticated?), although I don't know that that makes them bette, nor if it reflects talent/skill or just a mind forever wandering. Lyrically I'm stuck in the same rut as prose & poetry. Production/arrangement is one skill that ought to have developed over twenty years of experience, but I still seem to flail at putting everything together and getting something sounding nice. In fact, it feels like I've regressed from where I was ten years ago.
  • drawing - I can't, although I toy with it once every few years and rediscover my inability
  • photography - I'm not very psyched about photography as a creative process, since it's so much capturing what's there rather than creating from scratch
  • IF game design - Seems to go ok, except for my limitations writing prose tends to come to the fore in this field
  • "commercial" game design - I'm a little caught up in recreating other people's designs, I don't seem to have good overall ideas of my own, although I'm fine at creating moment-to-moment experiences, I think. Chromatron was a good confidence-builder in that area, in fact, especially because at the time I wrote Chromatron, I was getting stuck in my Underworld game as I realized how much prose I had to write (in the form of conversations)
  • computer programming - although this is 'creative' in the sense of 'engineering creative', it's not particularly artistic; I'm pretty good at it, but I'm best at finding creative solutions to meet severe constraints, which is pretty different from the normally open-ended creative process (though compare to wordplay like lipograms); and in fact my strongest skill in programming seems actually to be in debugging
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