I’m sitting here re-watching the show 24. The post I want to write about going back to old favorites doesn’t seem to want to come crawling out of my head. Nor do the thoughts about a post about how creative people experience the world differently. Instead they just want to play peek-a-boo.
Then I realized that I’m an idiot. These posts don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Not entirely. The way I see the world as a creative is one of the reasons I always have an old favorite on in the background when I work.
I am a writer. I am a creator. I see beauty, inspiration and story everywhere I look.
I’m not a big fan of silence. Unless I’m meditating, reading, editing or taking in the gorgeous views of nature I really don’t have much use for it. Even when I write I have something on in the background. It helps me focus. I’m weird. And I accept that.
Hell, I don’t even sleep in silence. I sleep with either the TV, Stitcher, Overdrive or Audible telling me a story. Yes, I am 39 years old and still fall asleep being read bedtime stories. You should try it sometime, you might like it.
Then again I am also a notorious insomniac and maybe the voices just keep me company.
But the fact is, there’s so much content across all these different mediums that it would be impossible to consume it all and have any kind of actual life. So why waste time going back to old favorites, or things you have seen before?
To be fair I’m not sure that I would if we didn’t live in a world where access to these things came with my streaming services. I would not actually pay real cash money to watch something that I have already seen. I spend enough as it is.
I have a few different reasons for doing this.
One, as I said, I am not a big fan of silence. I feel more comfortable having something on in the background. I have lived alone for years, and absolutely love it, but the silence can get claustrophobic. In this way, I’m similar to people who like having the radio on in the background at work, or while they are tooling away in their garage. I just do it with TV I have seen before.
I also go back to these old favorites because seeing them before means they won’t distract me from what I am doing. It’s one thing to listen to something new while driving or cooking or cleaning, etc. But when I am in the middle of trying to write a post, or a podcast script, or a story or a novel outline, I need to be hanging on my own words, not theirs.
The two shows that I most frequently go back to are West Wing and LOST, which also happen to be my two favorite shows (I’m in the minority I actually liked the ending of LOST). At this point, I could probably recite each episode line by line.
Since I spent years both as a political consultant, and stuck on a remote island, it makes sense that these shows would speak to me. Okay, so only one of those things is true.
But there are only so many times you can re-watch a show. You need some other pieces to throw on this fire. My most recent three have been X-Files, House and currently 24 (which all originally aired on FOX now that I think of it).
If watching Star Trek and Lost in Space re-runs with my mom created my love of Sci Fi when I was a kid, X-Files solidified and turbo-charged it. For a bit, I actually wanted to be an FBI profiler so I could be just like Fox Mulder.
House is the only medical drama that ever actually gripped me (no, I wasn’t an ER fan, judge me if you want). It was based on the character Sherlock Holmes, also not one of my favorites. The fact that two things I didn’t really care for could be blended to create a show that unique and delicious is what creating is all about.
And 24 brought a truly game changing format to the TV medium. Never before had a television show spent an entire season covering one day, hour by hour. Events occuring in real time. Even in the always fast-paced spy game genre, there was a danger of things moving at a snail’s pace without ingenious writing.
Those are the most recent three. The examples go on and on.
None of these shows have much in common other than their quality. And even though I just have them on in the background, I still see something new each time I watch.
The concept of learning something new everytime you go back to an old favorite, or a classic, was a favorite mantra of one of my lit instructors in college. I was so inindated with new material to read and analyze, the concept went right over my head at the time.
I get it now.
Plus there is just something comfortable about having them on in the background. And I swear to God it helps me be a better creative. It keeps me motivated. And makes me hungry.
I see the awesomeness of these shows that I love and get inspired. It creates a feeling of being nurtured and pulled in the right direction all at the same time. It feels like home.
Creatives see the world differently. We find inspiration everywhere, even from the ghosts of content past while we write in the present, to make it our future.