I was a wee whippersnapper when I first became interested in music, and from that point onward, David Bowie was my hero. Thirty five-ish years later, he’s sadly been promoted from my music/style icon to patron saint. Beyond the sadness, though, is mad respect. Who else could maintain such a lifetime of creativity and artistic expression on his own terms, right to the end?
When I came upon this interview a couple of months ago, his advice resonated. I was at a moment in assessing my writing career, and where I wanted to go, versus where I thought I was capable of going. Should I stay in my comfort zone, even if I get bored with it? If I don’t, what if I overshoot, and can’t deliver the story I want? How will I know I’m at the “right” place? I don’t know if this happens to y’all or not, but when I’m reading a book and really enjoying it, I often think, oh, this is so awesome… I don’t know how Author Awesome does it. I could never pull off a story with the plot/concept/depth that she does! A really great book can be intimidating, much like Bowie had to have been to pretty much every rock musician, ever. But seeing the advice he gives in this interview put my mind at ease. Even though it’s probably geared more to musicians or visual artists, it still perfectly sums up the very question I’d been struggling with. Don’t create according to others’ expectations of you. Stretch yourself, go a little (not a lot) out of your depth. It’s short, simple, and sweet–but if I get advice from my patron saint, I’ll damn well take it. And if it worked for the Thin White Duke, it ought to work for me!
So remember, when in doubt, just ask yourself what would Bowie do?
All the best,