For thirty years, as bigger and more conventional rock stars have shimmered and melted away in hot spotlights all around him, Tom Waits has stayed on his dimly lit side stage, sitting at his piano (or guitar or sousaphone or cowbell or fifty-gallon oil drum) creating extraordinary sounds for a loyal audience. As for the devotion he inspires and how he claimed his unique position in American music, the artist has only this to say: “There’s an aspect of going into show business that’s like joining the circus. You come to learn that there’s certain people in show business who do the equivalent of biting the heads off chickens. But, then, of course, there’s the aerialists…and sideshow curiosities. You work with what you came with. Well, maybe I came in with no legs. But I can walk on my hands and play the guitar. So that’s just me using my imagination to work with the system.”
It’s interesting to read about why people do things. Take James Kochalka for instance:
Kochalka’s fecundity is no accident — if he stops being able to make a living through play, he’ll have to grow up. His output is also what makes him a force in the indie-comics world. Few cartoonists working today can boast Kochalka’s impressive oeuvre, spanning the medium from sweet children’s books to raw autobiography to gratuitously filthy adult strips.
As Wil Shipley says, you need to have a reason, and if that’s good enough, success seems to follow.
This doesn’t work. Your idea sucks. No, I’m not calling you stupid — my idea sucks, too. All ideas suck, because they are just ideas. They’re worth nothing.
My success is because I worked to make the idea real. A lot. All my life. Starting when I was 12, I learned to program, and I’ve programmed every spare moment since. I didn’t become a millionaire until I’d worked at it for eighteen years. There was no genius idea I had. I just kept working, hating what I did before, and working some more to make it better.