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November 26, 2007

on feeling uninspired

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Comments (63)

"Inspiration me hole" as we might say on this side of the Atlantic. Here's my point of view http://thriftcriminal.blogspot.com/2007/10/creativity.html, I think it kind of aligns with yours.....It certainly references your site.

Posted by: Thriftcriminal at November 26, 2007 4:35 PM

Ahh... Nice. Its tough to be uninspired.

And its always sunny in LA. You just might not be.

Posted by: CTodd at November 26, 2007 4:41 PM

The sun stalking me freaks me out as much as staring babies. But you inspire me.

Posted by: 39 year old gal at November 26, 2007 4:51 PM

how do you always know? how do you always know exactly the right thing to say at exactly the right time?

Posted by: arugala at November 26, 2007 4:55 PM

This reminds me of a suggestion I tried to give someone awhile back (that I should take myself, I suppose)... A very good painter, this person paints very pretty things, with good technique - but just *pretty*, pretty all the time. Good, not great. On the occasion in question, they told me that they were very angry about something, and needed to vent; I suggested doing some painting and seeing what came out.

I don't know whether this person tried this suggestion out - haven't seen any evidence of it. But my own words have stayed with me, and I often wonder how much we (I) hold (me) ourselves back from expressing something that might be interesting, even great, because we feel it's not proper or safe. I know that I'm guilty of it, but I'm not a master of pushing through it any more than that painter seemed to be. I guess it really just has to do with 0 and 1. You're either doing, or you're not doing. The great ones do it rain or shine.

Thanks for this. Pretty damn inspiring. :)

Posted by: Marianne at November 26, 2007 5:02 PM

Thank you.

Posted by: Jordan at November 26, 2007 5:02 PM

I love San Francisco for the same meteorological reasons that you love NY. Thank god for rain clouds and fog, otherwise everyone would not be able to complain about anything.

Posted by: Vince at November 26, 2007 5:02 PM

i love you.

Posted by: carly at November 26, 2007 5:03 PM

You may not have been inspired. But your backdrop was.

Posted by: zoomsoon at November 26, 2007 5:05 PM

I say you're making perfect sense, and that sign is very fitting for the video. It reminds me of when I used to just create things for the fun of it, whether or not I was inspired. Thanks again.

Posted by: Jeremy at November 26, 2007 5:06 PM

Ze, Thanks for keeping on making things. I've been having a tough time with allot of things and I don't really have allot to work with as far as inspiration goes. But seeing that you have started releasing videos again helps out allot.

As far as inspiration goes, I think that inspiration is just an excuse for people who don't want to think about the process of how they learned to do something. Like they think that there's some inspiration fairy that came down and plopped the thought in their head. People want to hold onto the idea that everything about their talent is unique and there is nothing replicable. So instead of saying that they did it over and over until the thoughts connected. they say that they were inspired.

This doesn't account for people with preternatural abilities, but that's like pointing to people who inherited allot of money and saying the everyone who is rich is rich by chance. Or looking at someone who got rich from hard work and saying that everyone who is rich earned it.

Some times people are "inspired" and I guess that just means having the right thought at the right time. And some times people have to try out every thought they can before they find two or three they can put together into something awesome.

Posted by: ramsey at November 26, 2007 5:51 PM


Posted by: joshi at November 26, 2007 6:40 PM

In the spirit of helpfulness, the ad makes me want to go out and get pimples so I can buy that product and support your site.

Get some ads for anti-depressants. For now my life seems to have become a joyless grind of surviving the darkness just so I can piss away the light.

How's that for the opposite of sunny and optimistic? I'm not being sarcastic. Try fashioning a mood out of tiny bobbing scraps of euphoria adrift on a sea of anhedonia. Only these little life rings and bits of wreckage painted with the name of my former ship serve to keep me swimming until I can find the bottom with my feet. Hopefully that will happen with my head above water and I can crawl ashore to take stock of what washed up with me that I can use.

Posted by: cafiend at November 26, 2007 6:41 PM

What and inspirational episode...

Thats the beauty of living in the Northeast, one minute the weather is something else and the next it has moved onto something new. its the land of new birth...or some catch phrase like that...

Posted by: BeachBallBalloonBoy at November 26, 2007 6:47 PM

keep on making things, ze!

Posted by: lissa at November 26, 2007 6:50 PM

This helps me a lot, Ze.


Posted by: Jim at November 26, 2007 6:52 PM

BTW, I always enjoy your delivery.

Posted by: cafiend at November 26, 2007 6:52 PM

Oh, AMEN, brother! I very much enjoy the perpetual L.A. sunshine and miss it desperately on the 21 days of the year when it's not here, but big YES on working in the absence of inspiration. Making things is what counts. The quicker you can shed the idea that you need to wait for some divine starting gun to get busy, the better off you'll be. There is a German saying: The appetite comes after you start eating. So it is with making stuff, too. Thank you, Ze.

Posted by: Stefan G. Bucher at November 26, 2007 6:58 PM

Thanks again for the resumption of your shows, even if they aren't Shows.

Posted by: Kurt at November 26, 2007 7:03 PM

Thanks for the new fun background!

Posted by: Cypress at November 26, 2007 7:07 PM

Thanks Ze.

Posted by: Jakeypoo at November 26, 2007 7:37 PM

I was gonna try to do what you just talked about, but now that you've said it, I'm inspired.

And I'd like to quote Jenifer, who said, "I don't like it when it's sunny every day; it's like being around somebody who smiles all the time." She's an Angelino, transferred in from Maryland.

Zero to one. Does that mean the odds are in my favor? Thanks Ze! I was throwing up scrabble pieces all weekend. I feel better now.

Posted by: jeano at November 26, 2007 8:29 PM

...but that's not for me, I turn them out early,
those assholes can cry and what rhymes with early....

Thanks for throwing it out there early Ze.
The key to making good stuff is to make lots of stuff.

I think it would be cool to have your own speedometer that goes from zero to one.

Sometimes I can go from zero to one in the blink of an eye. Other times it feels like I am stuck behind the wheel of a cement truck. It mostly depends on the project. On little creative stuff that I already know how to do, it's easy to get up to one. On projects where there is no road map it takes the speedometer longer. Somewhere between zero and one there is a little mountain called inertia.

Posted by: schmoopy43 at November 26, 2007 8:47 PM

I Love the fact there exists a crew of folks who're convinced your audience has bad skin. I'm not sure I'm much of a shining example otherwise.

But, DO we have to keep making? the short answer is yes. But the long answer is maybe today is cold, rainy with scattered flashing migraine clouds, changing over to woolly swaddled stare making at movies all day. {have you heard of that artist who shows a sheet of white paper and when you look at the tag with the materials it says something like 'paper, 1000 hours of stare'. friedman, I think. tom. but that's still making isn't it? so the answer is yes. and tally ho}

Posted by: Zea at November 26, 2007 9:43 PM

by god, will I ever stop thanking you for the kicks in the pantses that I not only need, but enjoy?

Posted by: consumatron at November 26, 2007 11:05 PM

"And my God we have to keep on making things."

Please do.

Posted by: itchy at November 26, 2007 11:11 PM

Thanks for bumping my brain crack addiction.

Time to practice - eee!



Posted by: gypsy sister at November 26, 2007 11:29 PM

Hey Ze. You make my day.

Posted by: KetchupCupcake at November 26, 2007 11:33 PM

jersey rules.

Posted by: Zach at November 27, 2007 2:01 AM

Ze makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

Posted by: Jax at November 27, 2007 2:34 AM

Hmmm... Too much sun. Hard to imagine here in Amsterdam. :S

Definitely don't have that problem. (Winter is: rain, rain, rain, rain, rain, clouds, clouds, clouds, SUN!, rain, rain, clouds, rain...) More like... sad, sad, sad, sad, morose, distractedly staring off into space imaginging sunnier places, laughing at own jokes for entertainment, OMG SUN: sitting on patios by canals drinking beer even though its cooold!!!! wooohoooo!!!!, sad, sad, sad, sad....

Good thing is, Barcelona is just a short plane-ride away. :P

Posted by: ingrid at November 27, 2007 2:54 AM

cafiend may I say, hahahahahathanks

. <----- here, some inspiration

go ahead

Posted by: make the commitment at November 27, 2007 3:50 AM

Thank you.

Posted by: Cuphate at November 27, 2007 5:44 AM

Quite eloquent. A nice reminder that the business of being creative is in fact a business and just like any other job, sometimes you have to go to work even when you don't feel like going.

Posted by: Evan at November 27, 2007 10:27 AM

I'm glad you are keeping us company. Again. Still.

Posted by: Beave at November 27, 2007 10:58 AM

I always found LA to first be smoggy every morning. As someone from New York, I expected rain. However, as the smog cleared mid day it was sunny again. No rain.

I was always disappointed by the lack of rain and yet the appearance thereof. Probably because I like rain, it is change, it is life for plants and animals, and it's got this cooling feature.

In fact, I kinda felt that people in LA were like the smog covered sun. You kept expected something to be there, but the longer you waited, the more that expectation got cleared away for a bridge, sunny, annoying thing.

Posted by: Will at November 27, 2007 11:23 AM

EB White said, "Be obscure clearly."

Inspired or not, you do just this.

Posted by: Emily at November 27, 2007 4:09 PM

I made the jump from zero to one. Partly because of you.

Thank you.

Posted by: Danny at November 27, 2007 4:18 PM


Listing inspiration, anger, frustration, sadness, and the like is no different than rapping DENVER, DETROIT, LA, NEW YORK, NEW ZEALAND, AFRICA, 15342 W. 14 AVE UNIT 122 GOLDEN COLORADO 80401---your only goal is to get a rise out of the audience because the odds are your audience lives(or has lived) in one of the areas you list.

Its a cheap technique and I'm not going to fall for it. Do not pass go, do not raise the roof, do not collect $200.

Posted by: Dil Dil H at November 27, 2007 8:20 PM

0 and 1, ah yes. There is a chasm between 0 and 1. The activation energy to get off zero is sometimes enormous. But I didn't realize that going from 1 to 0 was difficult, too, or I hadn't thought about it. When you said, it, I of course thought of doing The Show day in and day out, then suddenly not doing it at all.

I hate LA sun... (it's snowing in Utah today - yay!)

Posted by: girlie_sportsracer at November 27, 2007 8:35 PM

All I can say is that was great and I have to go have a cigarette now. No, I don't smoke, but you know. It was just about that uplifting and enlightening, though. I even gasped a couple of times. It's a cherry on top of your Cecil Vortex interview about creativity. 2 thumbs up!

Posted by: Beth Barnett at November 27, 2007 9:23 PM

I don't think I ever had a problem with zero to one unless it was an assignment. Then I hung around zero just to give the finger to expectations and look surly. Now a sloppy zero to fifteen, that's been a problem.

Creating was a daily law growing up in my family. And at some point I figured out that inspiration often hides in the process of creation. All intense sun and full of expectation, I love how you describe it. It is one nutcake of a feeling.

Great show. Inspired even. Very motivating!

Posted by: Boo at November 27, 2007 9:36 PM

Perhaps some dirty space news could inspire you.... Just an idea! ;)

Posted by: Elizabeth at November 28, 2007 1:19 AM

okay, so how exactly do we go about making something without inspiration? i always end up frustrated when i try to do that

Posted by: joey at November 28, 2007 3:29 AM


Posted by: Leyan at November 28, 2007 5:39 AM

I like the tone of your delivery in this one, it's silly and different. Did I just use the word silly? Hard to think over pimple-cream ad I can't stop...

Posted by: Anton at November 28, 2007 3:33 PM

Great point Ze. It reminds me of an episode of 'the show' from...oh, I don't remember the date. In it you talked about how ideas are 'brain crack' that people hold onto because however bad things get 'at least they still have those ideas'. You advocated putting an idea into motion as soon as possible and detailed your fear over the ideas running out.

That message staid with me and it's become a bit of a personal motto. It's true that the brain is a muscle because the more ideas you put into practice, the faster new ones start coming and the better they seem to be.

Thank you.

Posted by: Justin D at November 28, 2007 5:37 PM

You pretty much summed up why I prefer the East Coast (or the midwest, or the northwest, or the mid-Atlantic, or Guam) to LA. Thanks!

Fighting to quit brain crack.

Posted by: Dan at November 28, 2007 7:00 PM

I heart you and the things you make. woohoo

Posted by: adam at November 28, 2007 8:42 PM

Spot on, Ze!

Inspiration is usually so fleeting, we wouldn’t want to be at it's mercy.

Ps. I’m a Londoner and plan on visiting a friend in New Jersey next summer. I can't wait to see why it’s the butt of all the jokes :)

Posted by: Gen at November 28, 2007 10:56 PM

so in other words.... "where the fuck do ideas come from?"

Posted by: moondog at November 29, 2007 12:30 AM

It's gray and somber here in Maine today so I'm thinking of you... especially if you are in LA and feeling gray and somber.... and uninspired between zero and one. Sounds like a place for opportunity!

Posted by: bridgeovertroubledwater at November 29, 2007 10:36 AM

You are so awesome. Really, really, awesome.

Posted by: Samara at November 29, 2007 11:13 AM

Thank you for keeping me company.

Posted by: ryptide at November 29, 2007 2:21 PM

I hate the sun in California too. Indeed, it is EVERYWHERE.

Posted by: Anne at November 29, 2007 8:18 PM

Thanks for being so dang awesome.

Posted by: Marie at November 29, 2007 9:01 PM

Wise words my friend!

It seems like you are very aware of your mental state and are not discouraged no matter what. Love yourself so you can love others...

Want some candy?

Posted by: OpenDictator at November 30, 2007 10:14 AM

Thanks Ze. I spent most of last week trying to get some stuff done and hitting the 'no inspiration' wall hard. It was making me feel fairly shitty. And then this video came along, capping off that week, and so it spoke to me. The timing was really something, and along with brain crack and cycle busting, this has been added to my list of videos that I need to watch regularly.

Thanks for everything, Ze. If I had any candy, I'd give it to you, somehow.

Posted by: EatThePath at November 30, 2007 10:16 AM

Thanks for keeping us company.

Posted by: Dan Bruno at December 1, 2007 12:54 AM

Love ya, Ze.

I now have your 'making stuff' quote up over my easel.

I painted three paintings today. Didn't especially feel like it.

But, my god, when you're right, you're right.

Posted by: Tara Wheeler at December 2, 2007 12:58 AM

"My God, we have to keep on making things" (The Keeping You, Co.)

Thing about inspiration: give one, get one. An "inspirational" poster is probably not giving much inspiration to anyone. But ze's gift of inspiration to the world is the gift that keeps on making things.

Keep it up!

Posted by: Alexandre at December 2, 2007 2:02 PM

I just thought you should know Ze that you've inspired me to write again and I wanted to thank you. Thank you so much for this post, for your inspiration, for your laughter and for turning cloudy mornings into sunny ones. We all fight to make a difference, and you should know, you've made that difference to mine, and many many other's lives. Thank you.

Posted by: Lauren at December 6, 2007 2:15 PM

this has been the most inspirational thing i've ever seen/read/heard.

thank you.

Posted by: Bill at January 18, 2008 1:49 AM

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