10. Developing good taste
The work of knowing what the market wants…
Gabe Anderson’s theory, which we agree with, is that you decide what you like (your muse, your calling) in some measure based on what you see in the world and what you think will work.
And the match between what you think is good and what is good is called *good taste.*
Prompt: Who/what do admire? What is your version of good? What are you seeking to emulate? Who else is making good work?
These are simple questions, but difficult to answer. Given the genre as you see it, who else is making work that you would have been proud to make? What does best-in-class look like to you? Is your taste better than it used to be? How could it be better?
Share something you believe is good. Maybe it’s the best minute from an unknown political speech. Or perhaps share a screenshot of a beautifully designed book cover. Or copy and paste a paragraph from an unheralded blog post that represents the kind of work you’d be proud to create. [And it’s not fair using something that’s already famous–that’s delegating your taste to the market.]
A Beautiful and Softheart
Let’s start with the first question.
Who/what do admire?
I have HATED pop culture for as long as I can remember because the idea around it breeds inauthentic personalities with people tying their values and self-worth to some other person who is considered “worthy”. On a similar note, I unfortunately dislike the same 5 or 6 revolving scientists/humanitarians/political activists commonly rattled off and are claimed to be amazing. While true in a sense… the world is so much larger, and there are so many more people to rightfully be in awe of. Regular people who have overcome trials I cannot even begin to fathom, but choose to silently continue doing good in the world without expectation or desire to validated by others. Rather, their validation stems from the impact of their actions.
What is your version of good? What are you seeking to emulate? Who else is making good work?
This is probably going to come off as a cop-out answer, but the very same people I admire fit the criteria for this question. My idea of good is performing actions to impact the lives of others in some meaningful way, and nothing can be considered better :heart: For me to be able to emulate those people I admire and change the lives of others, but in a unique way only I can bring into the world, could be no greater emulation.
Share something you believe is good.
I feel like a broken record when I post prompt responses like this… but I’ll go on anyway. I quite literally stumbled onto this musical artist named Softheart, and all the lyrics to his music spoke to every insecurity I was feeling. He’s a relatively young white guy from New England who had a pretty run-of-the-mill childhood (compared to me as a relatively young Latino from the suburbs of Northern Virginia), but also felt like something was lacking, like he meant to do something great, but could never muster the courage or confidence to take the next step forward. He himself is the only factor preventing his achievement to the next level, but he drowns in all his insecurities, continually stressing himself out in a circular cycle of despair. Because expressing negative emotions is still considered to not be part of the culture of men, especially those who grew up in an affluent white upbringing, he had no one to turn to, and the despair festered deeper. This resonated with me as I too had a lot of self-inflicted tragedy that I could not justify when my upbringing was ostensibly perfect in comparison to real tragedies others have had to face in their childhood, and I felt like I had no one I could relate to. Suddenly, a connection formed.
My favorite song title is named Don’t Know What I’m Running From, which hit the nail on the head because he describes the emotions and actions associated with despairing over a foe you can’t even decipher. My second favorite song is named Ego Death, and it deals encompasses everything I spoke about in the last paragraph. The one outlier from his usual style of music is my favorite song named Beautiful, and… the summary is hard to describe, but these two passages stand up to me as, well, beautiful!
Why do i try
When i can't fight
But i just won't quit
Why do i try
I try cause my momma never raised no b!tch
Momma never raise no
No she wouldn't raise anything but a great so
If it's for anything it's to raise dough
So that i can go buy my momma a big ol' crib
If it’s for anything, it’s to fight for someone else who matters (a future daily in the making!)
Crazy how life can make it
All fall right into place
I promise i'll never fake it
Always stay the same
Do it for the love
I never did it for the fame
Someone one told me that if I stay morally righteous and always do my best, no matter how much the circumstances want to break or tempt me, things will have a tendency to work out. The last two lines are reflected in my answers to the first two questions, and to stay true in your committal to help others without any gain for yourself, is truly beautiful.