To the majority of creative minds, there is not much that means more the crumpled ball of paper if you think about it. You might be a writer or maybe an artist or even a musician, yet we have all come across the crumpled paper stage. It connects us in a way. For instance you (yes, you), what do you think about when you see a desk littered with destroyed rolled up sheets of what used to be growing in a tree farm?
You might think, “What a mess. This person needs to get their priorities straight.”
Or maybe you think they’ve been defeated and crimpled their work after becoming angry or over ridden with tears.
Or it could be determination, even after all those inoperative ideas, still working hard and succeeding.
Or you could be thinking something completely different about the waste of paper, energy, ideas, and time distributed listlessly around the room.
Some people even find the mess attractive and inspiring, but I think we can all agree it represents the creative mind. The smudges caused by haste or trying to rub out mistakes, the eye-catching creases, the ink or lead markings that trace ideas on the paper, it’s part of the maker, not just representative of their mind, but of the stages we go through that decide whether we will succeed or fail. First the creative energy driven start when all you can think about is working and writing or drawing, designing and mapping out your mind in physical form. Then comes debate and analyzing, is it actually as good as you first thought it was? If not could you change it and make it better or do you need to start again, maybe just ditch the whole project? This is where each person takes their own path. You might actually like your original piece and keep it the way it is (or else you hate it but you’re just too lazy to make it better). You could edit it on the same page and then redo it later. The paper will most likely still end up crumpled in that case, in less you just like keeping messy original drafts. Then there’s the final option (that branches out into more branches, of course), and that’s the one where you most definitely think it’s trash or else think it’s too much work to continue and throw it away. The trash option has two options, one of which is whether you want to just throw it away and end it there of course, and the other one is where you decide you actually want to start again and improve your idea and make it just right.
If you choose the trash option… what you do with the paper if what defines whether or not you’re an artist.
The people who choose the first option (more often than not, people like me) decide their idea isn’t worth the time and therefore have denounced their creativity and their intelligence, leaving the plain poor scribbled on sheet of paper in the trash bin and back it up by walking away dejectedly and defeated (probably to watch their favorite team get beat and then a night of moping around in bed, because if you’re going to be loser, you have to go all the way. Source: Experience at being a loser.), and so you realize the person is clearly not an artist for they don’t decide to pursue their ideas and instead decide to literally stab them to death. Whether it was a song they were writing, a novel they were planning out, or a sketch they were drawing, it is now abandoned and killed by its own creator, lonely and destroyed all alone, surrounded by banana peels and pencil shreds at the bottom of the plastic pail tucked under the desk.
Now we move on to the people who choose option two, which, as the Romans would say it, defines their voyage something like “Veni, vidi, and vici”. They have come, they have seen, and they will conquer, even if it takes more work and more use of that famous pen or pencil, they have decided their idea will live on, even if it’s on a piece of paper, so the paper still ends up crinkled up in a nice cozy little ball in the deep den of useless items about to head to the landfill, but it at least has a legacy, wouldn’t you say? At least its journey from the forest combined with that of the creative mind has led something to success in the end.
So the next time, you want to make fun of that wrinkled up parchment in someone’s trashcan, contemplate the possibilities of its quest, the success factor behind it, and think about interest you never took in the tree’s post-mortem life.