In September I bought Macklemore'sThe Heist. I'll admit I bought if for it's commercial value. I liked his songs I had heard on the radio, even if same love reduces me to tears every time. I don't like to commit to buying music until I'm sure I'm going to like more than one song... I know, awful. So I bought The Heist knowing I'd like at least three of the songs. I had no idea that I'd come to value one song in particular, that it's become a guiding theme song for my writing life.
Ten Thousand. If you follow me on Instagram, then you have probably seen me mention it. It's a song about art, and creating art. It's a song about putting in the hard work, ten thousand hours if you will, and having nothing to hold on to, but having everything you wanted it to be.
A writer can really relate to that you know. Actually any artist can.
My love for this song was immediate, the song begins with this lyric:
Let the snare knock the air right out of your lungs
And those words be the oxygen
If you read my post, words to breathe by, then you know about me and words. I feel this. Words are my oxygen. And I just fell in love with this idea. To just let all the negativity, all the chaos around you, all the reasoning and nay saying happening in your head; to just let it go. Let all the air right out of you, and to breathe in the good. The goal you have right on the tip of your tongue. The one that you are too afraid to share. The idea that you know is so damn good you just need a few more days to savor it. Breathe in all that you have, all that is good, all that you want. Breathe it in.
Then this set of lyrics:
Ten thousand hours I'm so damn close I can taste it
On some Malcolm Gladwell, David Bowie meets Kanye sh*t
This is dedication
A life lived for art is never a life wasted
I'm mean, seriously? How can you not love that line? But I thought, who is Malcolm Gladwell and what are ten thousand hours?
Malcolm Gladwell is a best selling author, and this song references his book The Outliers. Ten thousand hours refers to the idea that, "the key to success in any field is, to a large extent, a matter of practicing a specific task for a total of around 10,000 hours". And with that I dedicated myself to 10,000 hours. Giving my writing at least that amount of time. Even if it's over a few years.
But I'd have to say, my favorite part of this song, the inspiration that I get every time I listen to this song comes from this set of lyrics:
Put those hours in and look at what you get
Nothing that you can hold, but everything that it is
As a writer, I feel like I put countless hours into my writing. And sometimes there is absolutely nothing that I can hold. I mostly write here, on this blog, and it's all electronic and in bloggy land. There is nothing that I can hold. Not really. I have yet to be published on paper. To see my name in black and white. To hold pages that make up a book. But regardless of that, when I write, when I spend the time, it really is everything. And one day, after putting in ten thousand hours or more, it just might be something that I can hold.
I understand that this idea, finding inspiration from a song, and not from scripture or prose may not be for everyone. But I have finally admitted to myself that I am an artist at heart. I create. Instead of paint or clay, instead of fabric or yarn, I use words. I use pen and ink and paper. And this song is about creating. It's about putting all those hours in and doing all the things you said you were going to do, or want to do, or as in my case, have to do. Because no matter your media, a life lived for art, is never a life wasted.