When I made music for a living, people sometimes came up to me after shows and said, “Wow, I think you’re gonna make it.”
It was kind. Flattering. And it always sort of pissed me off.
“I am making it,” I wanted to say. “I’m writing songs, recording them, and I’m here, playing them for you. This is what making it looks like.”
I know. I’m a jerk. They were forecasting success for me, that’s all. But there’s so much baked into that concept – making it – that I want to dismantle. It pushes us forward, out of the act of creating, into some imaginary time when we’re rewarded in glorious fashion.
Rewarded by whom? We don’t know. Somebody in L.A., maybe. Or large, anonymous crowds. But not us, not here, not now. This making that we’re doing here together, in this small, imperfect way – this isn’t making it. It’s just the preamble. It’s what you do before you arrive at that gilded shore.
Folks, that’s bullshit.
If you’re making, you’re making it.
This newsletter is about what making it actually looks like. Making anything. Songs, stories, computer programs, cabins. I want to think with you about that process. Why it’s so hard, and so wonderful.
I’m starting this at a pivotal moment in one of my projects. In 28 weeks, I’ll be releasing the first season of Threshold – my new podcast/public radio show, featuring deep dives into big moments of environmental change. If you’re inclined to come along for this ride, thank you. You’ll help me stay focused. And hopefully hearing about my process will inspire yours a little.
Three hundred words, delivered weekly.
Also: guest contributors!
Welcome all makers, and makers-in-the-making.
Now then. Back to work.