I remember as clear as day
the sound of my dad’s voice when he’d say “Don’t do things half-assed, son.” He’s still kicking, but, thankfully, he doesn’t feel the need to offer that particular bit of advice so much these days. I take that to mean I’ve matured enough not to need it, but then again…
Neil Gaiman remains
among my favorite sources of inspiration. His commencement speech from last year stands out in memory as the first time I ever heard anyone, other than dad, offer me such a solid and undeniably useful piece of advice. Make good art. Simple.
I take the same advice from Scroobius Pip
who admonishes us to always, always kill. Kill in the sense that one kills or slays at the comedy club. One kills or slays on stage. In other words, one does not die on stage. As a writer, woodcrafter, tinkerer, amateur metal crafter, I am feverishly concerned with dying on stage. With having my art be other than good.
I think it’s wise to apply this aesthetic to my entire life, hard as it may be.
Commandments are silly things really, though they have their place in the world. These below that I’ve written are my (current) set of marching orders. Take the ‘you’ and ‘thou’ as the self-referential markers that they are. I’m only speaking to myself here.
- Thou shalt turn the compost.
- Thou shalt breathe, deeply
- Thou shalt regulate your intake of artificial sweeteners, flavors, and colors. If it’s not good for your kids, how is it good for you?
- Thou shalt ensure each day ends well, with hugs all round and smiles before bedtime.
- Thou shalt only say “I love you,” with conviction, and especially to people whose ears most need to hear the words from your lips.
- Thou shalt make good art.