While I was thrilled to see Ed Orgeron win a championship in his great state of Louisiana, the rest of this football weekend was not all fun and games. As a Detroit Lions fan, I’m legally obligated to loathe the Green Bay Packers and everything they do. So I was quite disappointed to see them beat the Seahawks on Sunday, but I saw an interesting segment during the game that made me think about creativity and this blog.
Pete Carol, the Seattle Seahawks coach, was talking about how one of his biggest inﬂuences as a coach is Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead. He’s hardly the ﬁrst sports ﬁgure to express such a sentiment, but he explained it in an interesting way. He talks about how Jerry Garcia adamantly stated that he didn’t want to be the best band playing his style of music. He wanted to be the only band playing that style. Carol takes the same approach, trying to be the only person utilizing his football strategy. It’s hard to say that it’s working, but this philosophy is what makes so many artists so great. I love the Grateful Dead in part because their music is completely unrecognizable. They carved out their own path in such a unique way that, love it or hate it, their style can never be replicated.
This reminds me of an introduction to the book Inﬁnite Jest that I read years ago. (To be clear, I read the introduction years ago. I’m still working my way through the book, and it’s been a while). The writer talked about how David Foster Wallace’s massive novel is so different than anything else that was written, even the parts were unrecognizable. This critic said that to compare Inﬁnite Jest to any other book is like comparing a spaceship to a car. A spaceship might be a far superior machine, but if it were to crash in your yard and break, you’d be unable to put it back together. You wouldn’t be able to recognize any component that went into it. So you just have to appreciate the fact that it exists at all.
It’s fun to learn structure and rules and copy what people before you have done. But nothing can compete with these spaceships. As I evolve as an artist, that’s the last plateau I want to reach. Not being the best, but being the only one.
Appreciator of What’s Different