Day 17 – Be free, be wrong

Day 17 – A quote you try to live by

Grab some popcorn and a comfy chair, kids. It’s story time.

In 2004, I discovered a band called Kill Hannah.

In 2007, I got a chance to see them play live in a tiny dive bar in Colorado Springs.

In 2009, I joined their promotions team and got to meet guitarist Dan Wiese and singer Mat Devine.

Mat had a blog. It had first been something he was doing through their label, Atlantic Records, then they left Atlantic and he took his blog with him. Sometime between 2009 and 2011, Fuse network offered to host his blog for him. At the time, he was one of only two musicians writing on the Fuse network and actually kept up with his better than the other guy.

At first, he had a daily format. Each day had a different theme and one day was for questions. He’d get a handful of questions from fans/readers and answer them in a blog post. That eventually evolved into the primary focus of the blog with an occasional, personal story blog in between.

Sometime in all of that, I thought I’d give him a break from answering questions about romance, depression, and bullying from teens and twenty-somethings and ask something a little simpler.

So I told him I had been suffering from intense writer’s block for long enough it was starting to be legitimately painful. It wasn’t a question about love or about how to stop hurting myself but it was the thing that kept me awake at night and I thought it might be something someone else could benefit from as well, whether they were a writer, a musician, or a visual artist.

It’s been several years since he picked my question to answer from all of the questions he’d received and I still remember pretty much everything he said to me.

There were a lot of words about David Bowie and Brian Eno but the part that stuck with me was something that could have come from one of my closest friends, not the singer of my favorite band. But even at that point, Mat and I had forged what really can only be accurately called a weird relationship. We were totally comfortable ribbing each other, making sarcastic remarks toward one another. He hadn’t yet deleted his personal, yet public Facebook account and we would have snarky comment conversations (as well as offer each other genuine compliments and praise when appropriate).

I felt like all those strange conversations had really given him a glimpse into my mind because the advice he gave me was perfect for someone who is constantly self-editing, self-critiquing, and over-analyzing. He even went so far as to say, “My hunch is you know too much.”

All of what he said that has stuck with me all these years was: Don’t be afraid to get stupid. My hunch is you know too much. Be free, be wrong.

I think about that, even now, any time I find myself scrutinizing something I am creating.

Don’t be afraid to get stupid. Be free. Be wrong.

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