JEFF SHATTUCK MUSIC

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Creativity in fits and starts. Can it work?

Sam Bevan at Hyde Street Studio C, SF, tracking Java Junkie.

Sam Bevan at Hyde Street Studio C, SF, tracking Java Junkie.

I read somewhere that Robert Pollard of Guided by Voices was afraid to stop writing songs because he believes that his profound ability to create at a rapid, nonstop pace would stop. He might be right. I’m no Mr. Pollard but, like him, I believe that creativity begets creativity. In other words, the more creative projects you take on the more creative you become; creativity is not something you use up, it’s a perpetual motion machine as long you keep it in motion.

I didn’t use to believe this. Back before my accident, I worried that pursuing creative projects outside of my work as a creative director would rob my advertising output of good ideas because I would be spread too thin. But after falling and damaging my brain, I see things differently. Instead of worrying about being too creative, I worry about not being creative enough.

So despite a very busy job, twin toddlers, sporadic attempts to do a little exercise and attempting to stay in touch with friends (and failing) I still write songs. Gone are the days when I used to pluck my guitar for hours as I worked out ideas or just searched for them. Now I write when I can, a few minutes here, a few minutes there, more minutes on walks to work and occasional nights when Catherine goes out with friends. My quantity is down, no question, but I think my quality is holding.

The very first tune I wrote under my new, as Jon Kabat Zinn calls it, “Full Catastrophe Living” conditions, was “I Found Out the Hard Way I Should Have Done it the Easy Way.” Check it out.

And just this weekend, I was back at Hyde Street Studio C, a place that has become like a best friend to me, someone you can go for years without seeing and when you do finally get time to spend together it’s like those years never happened. And so it was on Saturday when Jaimeson Durr, Sam Bevan (pictured) and I gathered at Hyde Street to track bass parts. I’ll be posting the results in a few more months.

Stay tuned