After a fairly lengthy fallow period of creativity, i’m starting to feel good about things again. Had some great conversations with super talented folks this week, and there are some exciting projects on the horizon that may actually come to pass.
Watch this space.
— David Chen (@davechensky) October 19, 2018
From 2012-2016, I probably had the most/best creative output of my entire life. I hosted several popular podcasts simultaneously. I directed a film. I made a cello album, complete with multiple music videos that racked up thousands of views. But the past two years have been a challenge for me when it comes to my creative pursuits. There are multiple reasons for that, but the long and the short of it is that going at things so hard took its toll on my health, and I wanted to focus on other aspects of my life. I mostly swore off creating anything new as I’ve regrouped and reassessed where things have been going for me, and where I can apply my talents to make the most impact.
In the past few months, I’ve had several conversations with different people about launching different podcast projects, and it finally looks like one of them may launch soon (of course, if/when it does, you’ll be among the first to know about it). I love the process of creating something new. It’s fun to brainstorm about a new name, figure out what the art should look like, and consider how to get people excited for it.
It’s always more fun to launch something than to maintain it. The former is filled with endless possibilities. How well will it do? Who will listen? What awesome conversations might result from it? The latter, while still enjoyable and rewarding, is less exciting and ultimately becomes a big responsibility, especially if the show does well. One gives creative energy; the other one can occasionally take it away. But both are valuable in their own way.
I’m excited to take some baby steps back into this world and start making things again. You never know where things will go.
As I move through my life these days, I’m often reminded of the words of Terry Rossio, who wrote an incredible essay called “Time Risk” that still informs how I think about the world (the whole essay takes a couple hours to get through, but is worth it in my opinion):
When I was a college student at the University of California at Irvine, my very first theater class, the professor lectured for three hours about the arts, about how the days of our lives would burn up, one at a time, so which particular fire, meaning your career, might be worthy for you to be consumed? It was moving and memorable. He tied together art, to time. The beauty of being a writer is that you can instigate projects, you can make that choice of how to burn up those moments of your life. Producers must search, and struggle to find something worthwhile. Directors must search, executives must search, actors must search. Only the writer invents from nothing.
“Which particular fire might be worthy for you to be consumed?” Like most people, I’m just trying to choose the right fires.
- The New Yorker has a fascinating and lengthy piece on dementia care that asks the question: “Should we lie to dementia patients?” The answer is far more complicated than it initially seems.
- Elaina Plott profiled Heidi Cruz for The Atlantic. I don’t agree with Ted or Heidi Cruz’s politics but it’s hard not to have empathy for any political family after reading this.
- Matt Gourley’s “I Was There Too” podcast has a new interview with Taran Killam. It provides an interesting glimpse of the behind-the-scenes stuff going on at SNL when Trump was a guest.
- Paddington 2 is one of the best films of the year, and Maria Teresa Hart has a piece for The Atlantic explaining how Paddington’s immigrant story has special resonance today.
- Graham Isador lists some truths about losing weight and keeping it off. Isador wrote a piece earlier about how trying to get good abs nearly ruined his life. Both pieces made a strong impression on me and have some good evergreen guidance, so I thought i’d share them with you.
- Maggie Fremont lists nine tips for becoming the perfect astronaut movie wife.
- The federal government’s student loan forgiveness program has been a disaster. I can’t imagine operating under the belief that I could work 10 years in public service to get my loans forgiven, only to be denied along with 99% of other applicants. NPR has the scoop.