Which One's Pink? How About All Of Them? Dept.

This is in fact a post about Pink Floyd, sorta-kinda. But it's about using the band as a metaphor for discussing something else, so if you're looking for album review, this isn't it.

For one reason or another, I ended up reading the Wikipedia page for the band's album Wish You Were Here, which described how the record was produced only after a good deal of internal struggle with the group:

The group found it difficult at first to devise any new material, especially as the success of The Dark Side of the Moon had left all four physically and emotionally drained. Keyboardist Richard Wright later described these sessions as "falling within a difficult period", and Waters recalled them as "torturous". Mason found the process of multi-track recording drawn out and tedious, while David Gilmour was more interested in improving the band's existing material. Gilmour was also becoming increasingly frustrated with Mason, whose failing marriage had brought on a general malaise and sense of apathy, both of which interfered with his drumming.

I only trust boiled-down Wikipedia discussions of a given topic so much, but the image I get of this is of the band unthinkingly tugging itself in four different directions at once. Eventually, the tug of war turned into input, and the band started to function like a band, with everyone contributing in some form. The results speak for themselves. (WYWH was the first Floyd album I remember hearing, and remains a favorite.)

I have come over time to think of a person's internal processes less as a single monolithic entity that simply spits out Creative Work and more like a band made up of a slew of different, contrasting, often conflicting personalities. There's a part of me that likes to write stuff that moves fast and is directly, unpretentiously entertaining. There's another part of me that can't help but try and infuse bigger meanings into a given project. There's yet another part of me that is tirelessly critical, that insists on asking at least one hard question of any given thing, of testing it in some way before relenting and allowing it to be included. There's yet another part of me that runs out and finds strange and lovely things to put in, just because they're strange and lovely, because a story without such things has no flavor, no spirit.

The more time I spend doing creative work, the clearer it becomes to me how any conflicts between them are necessary. There really isn't a way to just get them to fall in line and hand their work off to each other in the way that a factory assembly line shuttles things from one worker to the next. They have to be trained to discipline each other. The Critic has to be kept in line by the Dreamer, and the Philosopher has to be goaded by the Entertainer to relax his grip every so often. Sometimes, when one gets utterly stuck, another of the other three have to be brought in to break up the stalemate.

On some level, for a long time, I've been conscious of the idea of the composite self, the Gestalt, the many-faceted composite as seen in places like Hermann Hesse's Steppenwolf. Buddhism is explicitly about this idea: you're not any one thing, you're not even a heap of things, but rather a set of constantly interacting processes. But for just as long I never directed this insight at myself, choosing instead to point it outwards.

This flashlight dispelling outer dark could only dispel so much of it; at some point, the light had to be turned back inwards so that I might see best what was actually there. And when I did, at first I didn't even know what others were at work in there; it just felt like a mob. But over time, roles and faces emerged, and began to speak for themselves about what they had to bring.

I'll have more to talk about in this vein, mainly about how I used it to dispel specific lockups in my creative process. But for now I wanted to just lay the idea on the table, crazy (and multifaceted) diamond that it is.

Tags: Pink Floyd creativity creators writing

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This page contains a single entry by Serdar Yegulalp in the category Uncategorized / General, published on 2016/10/29 08:00.

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