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The Life & Times Of Bob Evans: Part Two

11 March 2013 | 1:55 pm | Bob Evans

Inspiration, it’s a funny thing, (yep, I’m an ARIA award winning songwriter and that’s the best adjective I could come up with).

Sweet Jesus is it Sunday night already?  It feels like only 7 nights ago I was sitting in my garage, typing  away furiously through the stifling heat writing last week's blog and here I am again, desperately trying to meet a deadline.  It's only my second blog and already I feel like Carrie Bradshaw, (from Sex & the City – stop trying to be cool by pretending that you don't know who she is), only without the New York apartment and protruding collar bone.

Inspiration, it's a funny thing, (yep, I'm an ARIA award winning songwriter and that's the best adjective I could come up with).  When I was a young man I adhered to the belief that inspiration was something that couldn't be forced otherwise it was, well, forced.  You simply had to act upon it when it came coursing through your veins, catching it like rain drops falling from the heavens as if by some kind of divine blessing.  Now my belief is that whilst that notion of creativity is all very nice it's actually kind of lazy, which probably explains why the idea appealed to me as a 17 year-old university drop out that was still living with his parents rent free whilst discovering the joys of smoking bucket bongs.

Seeing as though I've taken it upon myself, (admittedly with a fair amount of self indulgent delusion), to fashion these blogs in to some kind of self help guide for aspiring musicians, I've decided that today I will impart a few handy hints to those of you who may be grappling with the inspiration blues.  If you've never felt like you've lacked inspiration then I would hazard to guess that you fall in to one of three categories;

a)      You're a teenager so pepped up on hormonal goof balls that you're pretty much completely wasted all the time only you don't realise it cos it's biologically induced. I was once like this and I can assure you that the reams upon reams of tortured teenage poetry you're writing's going to make you or at least someone else “ROFL” one day.

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b)      You may not have actually ever come up with any really good creative ideas.  I know that sounds harsh but think about it.  If you're idea of a good hamburger is from McDonald's then you can cook that shit up morning, noon and night and think that every time is pure culinary genius but as anyone who has ever actually eaten real food will tell you, McDonalds burgers are shit.  Okay, perhaps that's not the best analogy, particularly because a lot of people seem to actually like “shit burgers”, but the notion of taste is for another blog entirely and besides, I'm sure you're catching my drift...

c)       You're a genius, impervious to the creative doldrums, forever writing and drawing and thinking and conceptualising and oh god you make me sick but hooray for you!

Now, where was I?  Oh yes, that's right my handy hints for pushing through the utter terror of having nothing to say.  It's not enough to just wait for inspiration sometimes.  You have to make a little effort.

FALL IN LOVE.  I'm not talking about having sex, although it helps.  I'm talking about falling in love with such an obscene amount of infatuation that you put your partner on a ridiculous pedestal and the two of you become so grossly co dependant it renders you incapable of even leaving your partners side for a millisecond without falling in to a deep abyss of loneliness and self hatred.  This is bound to reap creative rewards as you are almost guaranteed to break up and possibly get back together again numerous times.  I call this, with the greatest respect and admiration, the “John Lennon/Yoko Ono Strategy”.

ISOLATE YOURSELF.  Remove yourself completely from the outside world and everyone you've ever cared about and everyone whose ever cared about you.  There are numerous ways to do this and unfortunately it does depend a little bit on how well you can fundraise.  Sell all your worldly possessions and find a log cabin you can rent indefinitely in the most remote part of a forest somewhere.  Be sure to ration your money so that it's only spent on surviving.  Rent and food should be all you need.  If you have a little extra money to spend fly overseas and live for a while in an unusual destination, like a tropical island or a third world ghetto.  If you already own nothing and cannot raise any cash just start walking and live like a hobo for a while.  Whichever way you do it, a sustained period of isolation, beard growing and poor personal hygiene should have the desired effect of gradually warping your mind thus helping you arrive at some kind of altered state you can use to be creative.  The bonus to this method is that, if successful, you will have a great back story to feed to the media and help push units.  I call this, with the greatest respect and admiration, the “Bon Iver Strategy”.

GET POLITICISED.  If there's one thing to be taken from the world being such a messed up place it's that there will forever be no end of problems to write about.  You only have to read the news or watch the television for five minutes for that to become abundantly apparent.  Becoming informed might even make you a better person in the process, which isn't necessarily a prerequisite to becoming the creative genius you aspire to be, (in fact there are many examples to the contrary) but it might have a positive flow on effect amongst your friends and family.  I call this, with the greatest respect and admiration, the “John Butler Strategy”.

GET A JOB.  Quit music and get a job that you hate, (in my case something involving hard, back breaking, blister inducing labor),to help you feel some empathy towards what most people in the world have to do to make a buck.  This new found awareness will hopefully have the desired effect of making you more in tune with the real struggles of your fellow man and inspire the kind of “us against them” spirit that has informed so much great art over the ages.  Again, (like the “Bon Iver Strategy”), if successful could also create a great back story to feed to the media and shift units.  I call this, with the greatest respect and admiration, the “Bruce Springsteen Strategy”.

WORK THROUGH IT.  If all of the above strategies aren't really tickling your fancy you can always just put your head down and get to work.  It's true, I think, that sometimes you have to write ten crap songs to get to the good one.  Knuckle down and keep on practicing every day and don't be put off if you're not always satisfied with the results.  This could in fact be a good sign as it shows that you have standards that you are unconsciously setting yourself and trying to better every day.  If possible try and throw in a few lyrics about names and places while you're at it.  I call this, with the greatest respect and admiration, the “Paul Kelly Strategy”.

I hope you've found these handy hints somewhat useful. I'll be back again next week with more irreverent drivel.