Damien Jurado is one of my favorite singer-songwriters, based out of Washington State. In my opinion he is a creative genius. Here is a quote from Jurado regarding his last two albums:
“Maraqopa, my last record, was based on a dream I had about a guy who disappears into the desert. […] This new record is sort of a sequel to Maraqopa…. It’s about a guy who disappears on a search, if you will, for himself, and never goes home.”
I was floored when I heard that quote. He is claiming to have imagined, wrote, created, and produced an entire two albums worth of priceless and timeless music - all based off of a random dream he had one night? It’s hard for a layperson like me to comprehend. It’s the difference between a 10 year old dribbling a basketball for the first time, and Michael Jordan at the peak of his career.
[Inspiration] ————>>>[Process] ————>>>[Finished Product]
There’s a road that begins in the town of “Inspiration”, or the first inkling of an idea, and winds through the treacherous mountains of work and fear and doubt and creative process, all the way into the valley of realization. If you're lucky enough to come to the end of that road, then you have a "Finished Product."
By that I mean that your vision has been realized, and your art has been released into the world. Your art is no longer yours. It has transformed into a butterfly and fluttered away. You’ve hung a new white star on the vast curtain of the universe for others to appreciate, from now until the end of time.
The road from "Inspiration" to "Finished Product" is frought with difficulty. Most people don't fail from getting lost - most people give up before they even begin the journey. They've heard the horror stories. They say, "I'm not good enough." "I don't have enough time." "Maybe someday I'll try it."
Someone like Damien Jurado is a Creative Genius because he’s been down that road so many times that he’s paved it in yellow bricks. He knows the signposts and he knows the stops along the way; it’s become a part of his everyday life, his second nature. Of course he didn't get that way overnight. He's put in the hard work over the years, again and again and again. He developed the genius - it wasn't just born in him.
When a creative master has inspiration, he immediately grabs it and runs with it. And when the task is finished, he hangs a new star in the sky for all of us to enjoy.
It's something for every artist to aspire to.