In “My Name is Asher Lev,” Chaim Potok has his protagonist taught by a senex, an older artist named Jacob Kahn, who says something that really has clicked for me lately.
Kahn told Asher that there were two ways to see the world: as geometric figures, lines and angles and regular curves (my words) and as flowers.
Wham! For some reason, thinking about that and listening to Tool’s “Right in Two,” which is one of the hardest of hard rock songs I think I’ve heard in years, really made something click in my head.
I’m not sure if there are only two ways to see the world, but it highlights the creative process for me. I see the world as both, I think, in terms of organization (law) and beauty (chaos). My music and my art reflects the dichotomy; my percussion tends to be regular and then chaotic, alternating back and forth, and I try to leverage the contrasts the best I can.
This is a freeing thought: it allows me to expose flaws when I have no choice (beauty) and solidify when I can (law). It means that what I do is what I do, and it’s representative, no matter what.