Earlier this year my band played a small show at Winning Coffee, the local Albuquerque hangout for all the hippies and punks who need good coffee and free wifi. We played our typically ridiculous set, and everyone seemed to have a good time. Although we are never the best band on a bill, we do what we can to make sure the crowd has fun.
It reminded me of 1,000 different all ages DIY venues.
As we were packing up our gear, a young woman came up to me to compliment our band. She and her partner were hitchhiking across the country, and had just gotten into Albuquerque earlier that day. She’d never heard of us, or Winning, but had somehow ended up at our show nonetheless.
“I had no idea what we’d do while we were in New Mexico, but we both had so much fun tonight! Thank you!”
I was happy that our performance had helped some random travelers have a good time. Whenever I create art, whether painting, writing, or in this case music, I feel like I am doing my part to add to the cosmic collective. The creative collective. I envision this collective energy as the force through which all art flows.
This memory returned to me last week while on vacation in Belize. This time it was me and my partner who were the random travelers. Certain events were planned out, but some times spontaneity took over. For example, one night we tried to attend a “new moon” bonfire party being thrown by some ganja-smoking 20-somethings, but when we showed up the party and bonfire had both died down. It was only 10pm, so we caught a $3 cab ride into San Ignacio, a midsized city that belongs to the tourists in the day, but calls to the locals at night. Our friend, Ryan, took us to a place called Soul Project, where the night was just warming up.
Soul Project reminded me of Winning in Albuquerque. It reminded me of Emergency Arts in Las Vegas. It reminded me of 1,000 different all-ages DIY venues I’ve hung out in over the years. It had a nice woman named Miriam running the place, selling coffee and homemade wine, it had a small stage, open to anyone who wanted to come up and play guitar or read poetry. They even had swings hanging from the ceiling. But best of all, the most important thing they had was a welcoming attitude. We walked in, sat down, and just opened ourselves up to whatever art was about to envelop us.
This time the creative collective spoke to us. Fed us. We sat in some place we’d never been before, and soaked up the creative energy. Music filled the room, art adorned the walls, and ideas bounced around inside my head. So much creativity, and I took in as much as I could. Once in a while it’s okay to sit back and let other people show you what they can do. More than that, it’s necessary to step back and let the collective entertain you for awhile. The energy flows back and forth, all around, and full circle.
That night was an inspiration, and the beautiful artists we met that night taught me more about Belize than any tour pamphlet could have. Creative people are everywhere, and creative energy is all around us. It’s in us. Open up to it, and let it flow. Make things that will inspire others, and absorb things that inspire you. Always be a part of the creative collective.