How to Be Creative :: Section 3&4

MacLeod highlights the value of authenticity and hard work, and reveals the challenges and rewards of being creative.

You will read a section of the manifest each day and blog about your findings. Blog about what you have learned? Main ideas, keywords, etc.

3. Put the hours in.

Doing anything worthwhile takes forever. 90% of what separates successful people and failed people is time, effort, and stamina. I get asked a lot, “Your business card format is very simple. Arenʼt you worried about somebody ripping it off?” Standard Answer: Only if they can draw more of them than me, better than me.

What gives the work its edge is the simple fact that Iʼve spent years drawing them. Iʼve drawn thousands. Tens of thousands of man-hours.

So if somebody wants to rip my idea off, go ahead. If somebody wants to overtake me in the business card doodle wars, go ahead. Youʼve got many long years in front of you. And unlike me, you wonʼt be doing it for the joy of it. Youʼll be doing it for some self-loathing, ill-informed, lame-ass mercenary reason. So the years will be even longer and far, far more painful. Lucky you.

If somebody in your industry is more successful than you, itʼs probably because he works harder at it than you do. Sure, maybe heʼs more inherently talented, more adept at networking, etc., but I donʼt consider that an excuse. Over time, that advantage counts for less and less. Which is why the world is full of highly talented, network-savvy, failed mediocrities.

So yeah, success means youʼve got a long road ahead of you, regardless. How do you best manage it?

Well, as Iʼve written elsewhere, donʼt quit your day job. I didnʼt. I work every day at the office, same as any other regular schmo. I have a long commute on the train; ergo thatʼs when I do most of my drawing. When I was younger I drew mostly while sitting at a bar, but that got old.

Put the hours in; do it for long enough and magicallife-transforming things happen eventually.

The point is, an hour or two on the train is very manageable for me. The fact I have a job means I donʼt feel pressured to do something market-friendly. Instead, I get to do whatever the hell I want. I get to do it for my own satisfaction. And I think that makes the work more powerful in the long run. It also makes it easier to carry on with it in a calm fashion, day-in-day-out, and not go crazy in insane, creative bursts brought on by money worries.

The day job, which I really like, gives me something productive and interesting to do among fellow adults. It gets me out of the house in the daytime. If I were a professional cartoonist, Iʼd just be chained to a drawing table at home all day, scribbling out a living in silence, interrupted only by frequent trips to the coffee shop. No, thank you.

Simply put, my method allows me to pace myself over the long haul, which is important.

Stamina is utterly important. And stamina is only possible if itʼs managed well. People think all they need to do is endure one crazy, intense, job-free creative burst and their dreams will come true. They are wrong, they are stupidly wrong.

Being good at anything is like figure skating—the definition of being good at it is being able to make it look easy. But it never is easy. Ever. Thatʼs what the stupidly wrong people conveniently forget.

If I was just starting out writing, say, a novel or a screenplay, or maybe starting up a new software company, I wouldnʼt try to quit my job in order to make this big, dramatic, heroic-quest thing about it.

I would do something far simpler: I would find that extra hour or two in the day that belongs to nobody else but me, and I would make it productive. Put the hours in; do it for long enough and magical, life-transforming things happen eventually. Sure, that means less time watching TV, Internet-surfing, going out, or whatever.

But who cares?

4. If your biz plan depends on you suddenly being “discovered” by some big shot, your plan will probably fail.

Nobody suddenly discovers anything. Things are made slowly and in pain.

I was offered a quite substantial publishing deal a year or two ago. Turned it down. The company sent me a contract. I looked it over.

Hmmmm…

Called the company back. Asked for some clarifications on some points in the contract. Never heard back from them. The deal died.

This was a very respected company. You may have even heard of it.

They just assumed I must be just like all the other people they represent—hungry and desperate and willing to sign anything.

They wanted to own me, regardless of how good a job they did.

Thatʼs the thing about some big publishers. They want 110% from you, but they donʼt offer to do likewise in return. To them, the artist is just one more noodle in a big bowl of pasta.

Their business model is to basically throw the pasta against the wall, and see which one sticks. The ones that fall to the floor are just forgotten.

Publishers are just middlemen. Thatʼs all. If artists could remember that more often, theyʼd save themselves a lot of aggravation.

Anyway, yeah, I can see gapingvoid being a ʻproductʼ one day. Books, T-shirts and whatnot. I think it could make a lot of money, if handled correctly. But Iʼm not afraid to walk away if I think the person offering it is full of hot air. Iʼve already got my groove, etc. Not to mention another career thatʼs doing quite well, thank you.

I think the gaping void-as-product-line idea is pretty inevitable, down the road. Watch this space.

How to Be Creative :: Section 1&2

MacLeod highlights the value of authenticity and hard work, and reveals the challenges and rewards of being creative.

You will read a section of the manifest each day and blog about your findings. Blog about > What this means to me is… use main ideas, keywords, etc. (Forming Interpretations)


So you want to be more creative in art, in business, whatever. Here are some tips that have worked for me over the years.

1. Ignore everybody.

The more original your idea is, the less good advice other people will be able to give you. When I first started with the cartoon-onback-of-bizcard format, people thought I was nuts. Why wasnʼt I trying to do something more easy for markets to digest, i.e., cutie-pie greeting cards or whatever?

You donʼt know if your idea is any good the moment itʼs created. Neither does anyone else. The most you can hope for is a strong gut feeling that it is. And trusting your feelings is not as easy as the optimists say it is. Thereʼs a reason why feelings scare us.

And asking close friends never works quite as well as you hope, either. Itʼs not that they deliberately want to be unhelpful. Itʼs just they donʼt know your world one millionth as well as you know your world, no matter how hard they try, no matter how hard you try to explain.

Plus, a big idea will change you. Your friends may love you, but they donʼt want you to change. If you change, then their dynamic with you also changes. They like things the way they are, thatʼs how they love you—the way you are, not the way you may become.

Ergo, they have no incentive to see you change. And they will be resistant to anything that catalyzes it. Thatʼs human nature. And you would do the same, if the shoe were on the other foot.

With business colleagues, itʼs even worse. Theyʼre used to dealing with you in a certain way. Theyʼre used to having a certain level of control over the relationship. And they want whatever makes them more prosperous. Sure, they might prefer it if you prosper as well, but thatʼs not their top priority.

Good ideas alter the power balance in relationships, that is why good ideas are always initially resisted.

If your idea is so good that it changes your dynamic enough to where you need them less or, God forbid, THE MARKET needs them less, then theyʼre going to resist your idea every chance they can.

Again, thatʼs human nature.

Good ideas alter the power balance in relationships, that is why good ideas are always initially resisted.

Good ideas come with a heavy burden. Which is why so few people have them. So few people can handle it.

2. The idea doesn’t have to be big. It just has to change the world.

The two are not the same thing.

We all spend a lot of time being impressed by folks weʼve never met. Somebody featured in the media whoʼs got a big company, a big product, a big movie, a big bestseller. Whatever.

And we spend even more time trying unsuccessfully to keep up with them. Trying to start up our own companies, our own products, our own film projects, books and whatnot.

Iʼm as guilty as anyone. I tried lots of different things over the years, trying desperately to pry my career out of the jaws of mediocrity. Some to do with business, some to do with art, etc.

One evening, after one false start too many, I just gave up. Sitting at a bar, feeling a bit burned out by work and life in general, I just started drawing on the back of business cards for no reason. I didnʼt really need a reason. I just did it because it was there, because it amused me in a kind of random, arbitrary way.

Of course it was stupid. Of course it wasnʼt commercial. Of course it wasnʼt going to go anywhere. Of course it was a complete and utter waste of time. But in retrospect, it was this built-in futility that gave it its edge. Because it was the exact opposite of all the “Big Plans” my peers and I were used to making. It was so liberating not to have to be thinking about all that, for a change.

It was so liberating to be doing something that didnʼt have to impress anybody, for a change.

It was so liberating to have something that belonged just to me and no one else, for a change.

It was so liberating to feel complete sovereignty, for a change. To feel complete freedom, for a change.

And of course, it was then, and only then, that the outside world started paying attention.

The sovereignty you have over your work will inspire far more people than the actual content ever will.

The sovereignty you have over your work will inspire far more people than the actual content ever will. How your own sovereignty inspires other people to find their own sovereignty, their own sense of freedom and possibility, will change the world far more than the the workʼs objective merits ever will.

Your idea doesnʼt have to be big. It just has to be yours alone. The more the idea is yours alone, the more freedom you have to do something really amazing.

The more amazing, the more people will click with your idea. The more people click with your idea, the more it will change the world.

Thatʼs what doodling on business cards taught me.

How to Be Creative :: Sections 25/26

MacLeod highlights the value of authenticity and hard work, and reveals the challenges and rewards of being creative.

Read the sections from Mr. MacLeod’s manifesto on how to be creative. Then meditate on what you read and post your own, well crafted reply about what you have learned from the two sections, highlight some key words & post any questions you may have.

Blog about: WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED? MAIN IDEAS/KEY WORDS/QUESTIONS, etc.

25.You have to find your own shtick.

A Picasso always looks like Picasso painted it. Hemingway always sounds like Hemingway. A Beethoven Symphony always sounds like a Beethovenʼs Symphony. Part of being a Master is learning how to sing in nobody elseʼs voice but your own.

Every artist is looking for their big, definitive “Ah-Ha!” moment, whether theyʼre a Master or not.

That moment where they finally find their true voice, once and for all.

For me, it was when I discovered drawing on the back of business cards.

Other, more famous and notable examples would be Jackson Pollack discovering splatter paint. Or Robert Ryman discovering all-white canvases. Andy Warhol discovering silkscreen. Hunter S. Thompson discovering Gonzo Journalism. Duchamp discovering the Found Object. Jasper Johns discovering the American Flag. Hemingway discovering brevity. James Joyce discovering stream-of-consciousness prose.

Every artist is looking for their big, definitive “Ah-Ha!” moment, whether they’re a Master or not.

Was it luck? Perhaps a little bit.

But it wasnʼt the format that made the art great. It was the fact that somehow while playing  around with something new, suddenly they found themselves able to put their entire selves into it.

Only then did it become their ʻshtick,ʼ their true voice, etc.

Thatʼs what people responded to. The humanity, not the form. The voice, not the form.

Put your whole self into it, and you will find your true voice. Hold back and you wonʼt. Itʼs that simple.

26. Write from the heart.

There is no silver bullet. There is only the love God gave you.

As a professional writer, I am interested in how conversation scales.

How communication scales, x to the power of n etc etc.

Ideally, if youʼre in the communication business, you want to say the same thing, the same way to an audience of millions that you would to an audience of one. Imagine the power youʼd have if you could pull it off.

But sadly, it doesnʼt work that way.

You canʼt love a crowd the same way you can love a person.

And a crowd canʼt love you the way a single person can love you.

Intimacy doesnʼt scale. Not really. Intimacy is a one-on-one phenomenon.

Itʼs not a big deal. Whether youʼre writing to an audience of one, five, a thousand, a million, ten million, thereʼs really only one way to really connect. One way that actually works: Write from the heart.

How to Be Creative :: Sections 23/24

MacLeod highlights the value of authenticity and hard work, and reveals the challenges and rewards of being creative.

Read the sections from Mr. MacLeod’s manifesto on how to be creative. Then meditate on what you read and post your own, well crafted reply:


Today’s sentence starter: A conclusion that I’m drawing is …

23. Worrying about “Commercial vs. Artistic” is a complete waste of time.

You can argue about “the shameful state of American Letters” till the cows come home. They were kvetching about it in 1950; theyʼll be kvetching about it in 2050.

Itʼs a path well trodden, and not a place where one is going to come up with many new, earth-shattering insights.

But a lot of people like to dwell on it because it keeps them from having to ever journey into unknown territory. Itʼs safe. It allows you to have strong emotions and opinions without any real risk to yourself. Without you having to do any of the actual hard work involved in the making and selling of something you believe in.

To me, itʼs not about whether Tom Clancy sells truckloads of books, or a Nobel Prize Winner sells diddlysquat. Those are just ciphers, a distraction. To me, itʼs about what YOU are going to do with the short time you have left on this earth. Different criteria altogether.

Frankly, how a person nurtures and develops his or her own “creative sovereignty,” with or without the help of the world at large, is in my opinion a much more interesting subject.

24. Don’t worry about finding inspiration. It comes eventually.

Inspiration precedes the desire to create, not the other way around.

One of the reasons I got into drawing cartoons on the back of business cards was I could carry them around with me. Living downtown, you spend a lot of time walking around the place. I wanted an art form that was perfect for that.

So if I was walking down the street and I suddenly got hit with the itch to draw something, I could just nip over to the nearest park bench or coffee shop, pull out a blank card from my bag and get busy doing my thing. Seamless. Effortless. No fuss. I like it.

Before, when I was doing larger works, every time I got an idea while walking down the street Iʼd have to quit what I was doing and schlep back to my studio while the inspiration was still buzzing around in my head. Nine times out of ten the inspired moment would have passed by the time I got back, rendering the whole exercise futile. Sure, Iʼd get drawing anyway, but it always seemed I was drawing a memory, not something happening at that very moment.

If youʼre arranging your life in such a way that you need to make a lot of fuss between feeling the itch and getting to work, youʼre putting the cart before the horse. Youʼre probably creating a lot of counterproductive “Me, The Artist, I must create, I must leave something to posterity” melodrama. Not interesting for you or for anyone else.

You have to find a way of working that makes it dead easy to take full advantage of your inspired moments. They never hit at a convenient time, nor do they last long.

Conversely, neither should you fret too much about “writerʼs block,” “artistʼs block,” or whatever. If youʼre looking at a blank piece of paper and nothing comes to you, then go do something else. Writerʼs block is just a symptom of feeling like you have nothing to say, combined with the rather weird idea that you SHOULD feel the need to say something.

Why? If you have something to say, then say it. If not, enjoy the silence while it lasts. The noise will return soon enough. In the meantime, youʼre better off going out into the big, wide world, having some adventures, and refilling your well. Trying to create when you donʼt feel like it is like making conversation for the sake of making conversation. Itʼs not really connecting, itʼs just droning on like an old, drunken barfly.

How to Be Creative :: Sections 21/22

MacLeod highlights the value of authenticity and hard work, and reveals the challenges and rewards of being creative.

Read the sections from Mr. MacLeod’s manifesto on how to be creative. Then meditate on what you read and post your own, well crafted reply:


Today’s sentence starter: It makes a difference that this text was written because …

21. Selling out is harder than it looks.

Diluting your product to make it more “commercial” will just make people like it less.

Many years ago, barely out of college, I started schlepping around the ad agencies, looking for my first job.

One fine day a Creative Director kindly agreed for me to come show him my portfolio. Hooray!

So I came to his office and showed him my work. My work was bloody awful. All of it.

Imagine the worst, cheesiest “I used to wash with Sudso but now I wash with Lemon-Fresh Rinso Extreme” vapid housewife crap. Only far worse than that.

The CD was a nice guy. You could tell he didnʼt think much of my work, though he was far too polite to blurt it out. Finally he quietly confessed that it wasnʼt doing much for him.

“Well, the target market are middle class housewives,” I rambled. “Theyʼre quite conservative, so I thought Iʼd better tone it down…”

“You can tone it down once youʼve gotten the job and once the client comes after your ass with a red hot poker and tells you to tone it down,” he laughed. “Till then, show me the toned-up version.”

This story doesnʼt just happen in advertising. It happens everywhere.

22. Nobody cares. Do it for yourself.

Everybody is too busy with their own lives to give [two-cents] about your book, painting, screenplay, etc., especially if you havenʼt

sold it yet. And the ones that arenʼt, you donʼt want in your life anyway.

Making a big deal over your creative shtick is the kiss of death. Thatʼs all I have to say on the subject.

How to Be Creative :: Sections 19/20

MacLeod highlights the value of authenticity and hard work, and reveals the challenges and rewards of being creative.

Read the sections from Mr. MacLeod’s manifesto on how to be creative. Then meditate on what you read and post your own, well crafted reply:


Today’s sentence starter: The author is trying to make me (see, feel, know, do) …

 

 19. Sing in your own voice.

Picasso was a terrible colorist. Turner couldnʼt paint human beings worth a damn. Saul Steinbergʼs formal drafting skills were appalling. T.S. Eliot had a full-time day job. Henry Miller was a wildly uneven writer. Bob Dylan canʼt sing or play guitar.

But that didnʼt stop them, right?

So I guess the next question is, “Why not?”

I have no idea. Why should it?

20. The choice of media is irrelevant.

Every mediaʼs greatest strength is also its greatest weakness. Every form of media is a set of fundamental compromises; one is not “higher” than the other. A painting doesnʼt do much; it just sits there on a wall. Thatʼs the best and worst thing thing about it. Film combines sound, movement, photography, music, acting. Thatʼs the best and worst thing thing about it. Prose just uses words arranged in linear form to get its point across. Thatʼs the best and worst thing thing about it, etc.

Back in college, I was an English Major. I had no aspirations for teaching, writing or academe; it was just a subject I could get consistently high grades in. Plus, I liked to read books and write papers, so it worked well enough for me.

My M.O. was, and still is, to just have a normal life, be a regular schmo, with a terrific hobby on the side.

Most of my friends were Liberal Arts Majors, but there the similarity ended. We never really went to class together. I dunno, weʼd meet up in the evenings and weekends, but I never really socialized with people in my classes that much.

So it was always surprising to me to meet the Art Majors: fine arts, film, drama, architecture, etc. They seemed to live in each otherʼs pockets. They all seemed to work, eat, and sleep together. Lots of bonding going on. Lots of collaboration. Lots of incestuousness. Lots of speeches about the sanctity of their craft.

Well, a cartoon only needs one person to make it. Same with a piece of writing. No Big Group Hug required. So all this sex-fueled socialism was rather alien to me, even if parts of it seemed very appealing.

During my second year at college, I started getting my cartoons published, and not just the school paper. Suddenly I found meeting girls easy. I was very happy about that, I can assure you, but life carried on pretty much the same. I suppose my friends thought the cartooning gigs were neat or whatever, but it wasnʼt really anything that affected our friendship. It was just something I did on the side, the way other people restored old cars or or kept a darkroom for their camera.

My M.O. was, and still is, to just have a normal life, be a regular schmo, with a terrific hobby on the side. Itʼs not exactly rocket science.

Looking back, I also see a lot of screwy kids who married themselves to their medium of choice for the wrong reasons.

This attitude seemed kinda alien to the Art Majors I met. Their chosen art form seemed more like a religion to them. It was serious. It was important. It was a big part of their identity, and it almost seemed to them that humanityʼs very existence totally depended on them being able to pursue their dream as a handsomely rewarded profession etc.

Donʼt get me wrong, I knew some Art Majors who were absolutely brilliant. One or two of them are famous now. And I can see if youʼve got a special talent, how the need to seriously pursue it becomes important.

But looking back, I also see a lot of screwy kids who married themselves to their medium of choice for the wrong reasons. Not because they had anything particularly unique or visionary to say, but because it was cool. Because it was sexy. Because it was hip. Because it gave them something to talk about at parties. Because it was easier than thinking about getting a real job after graduation.

Iʼm in two minds about this. One part of me thinks itʼs good for kids to mess around with insanely high ambitions, and maybe one or two of them will make it, maybe one or two will survive the cull. Thatʼs whatʼs being young is all about, and I think itʼs wonderful.

The other side of me wants to tell these kids to beware of choosing difficult art forms for the wrong reasons. You can wing it while youʼre young, but itʼs not till your youth is over that The Devil starts seeking out his due. And thatʼs never pretty. Iʼve seen it happen more than once to some very dear, sweet people, and itʼs really heartbreaking to watch.

How to Be Creative :: Sections 17/18

MacLeod highlights the value of authenticity and hard work, and reveals the challenges and rewards of being creative.

Read the sections from Mr. MacLeod’s manifesto on how to be creative. Then meditate on what you read and post your own, well crafted reply:


Today’s sentence starter: A conclusion that I’m drawing is …

17. Merit can be bought. Passion can’t.

The only people who can change the world are people who want to. And not everybody does.

Human beings have this thing I call the “Pissed Off Gene.” Itʼs that bit of our psyche that makes us utterly dissatisfied with our lot, no matter how kindly fortune smiles upon us.

Itʼs there for a reason. Back in our early caveman days being pissed off made us more likely to get off our butt, get out of the cave and into the tundra hunting woolly mammoth, so weʼd have something to eat for supper. Itʼs a survival mechanism. Damn useful then, damn useful now.

Itʼs this same Pissed Off Gene that makes us want to create anything in the first place—drawings, violin sonatas, meat packing companies, websites. This same gene drove us to discover how to make a fire, the wheel, the bow and arrow, indoor plumbing, the personal computer, the list is endless.

Part of understanding the creative urge is understanding that itʼs primal. Wanting to change the world is not a noble calling; itʼs a primal calling.

We think weʼre “providing a superior integrated logistic system” or “helping America to really taste freshness.” In fact weʼre just pissed off and want to get the hell out of the cave and kill the woolly mammoth.

Your business either lets you go hunt the woolly mammoth or it doesnʼt. Of course, like so many white-collar jobs these days, you might very well be offered a ton of money to sit in the corner-office cave and pretend that youʼre hunting. That is sad. Whatʼs even sadder is if you agree to take the money.

18. Avoid the Watercooler Gang.

Theyʼre a well-meaning bunch, but they get in the way eventually.

Back when I worked for a large advertising agency as a young rookie, it used to just bother me how much the “Watercooler Gang” just kvetched all the time. The “Watercooler Gang” was my term for what was still allowed to exist in the industry back then. Packs of second-rate creatives, many years passed their sell-by date, being squeezed by the Creative Directors for every last ounce of juice they had, till it came time to firing them on the cheap. Taking too many trips to the watercooler and coming back drunk from lunch far too often. Working late nights and weekends on all the boring-but-profitable accounts. Squeeze, squeeze, squeeze…

Your office could be awash with Clios and One Show awards, yet your career could still be down the sinkhole.

I remember some weeks where one could easily spend half an hour a day, listening to Ted complain.

Ted used to have a window office but now had a cube ever since that one disastrous meeting with Client X. He would come visit me in my cube at least once a day and start his thing. Complain, complain, complain…about whatever… how Josh-The-Golden-Boy was a [horrible] writer and a complete phony…or how they bought Little-Miss-Hot-Pantsʼs ad instead of his, “even though mine was the best in the room and every bastard there knew it.”

Like I said, whatever.

It was endless…Yak Yak Yak… Oi vey! Ted, I love ya, youʼre a great guy, but shut the hell up….

In retrospect, it was Tedʼs example that taught me a very poignant lesson—back then I was still too young and naïve to have learned it by that point—that your office could be awash with Clios and One Show awards, yet your career could still be down the sinkhole.

Donʼt get me wrong—my career there was a complete disaster. This is not a case of one of the Alphas mocking the Betas. This is a Gamma mocking the Betas.

Iʼm having lunch with my associate, John, whoʼs about the same age as me. Cheap and cheerful Thai food, just down the road from the agency.

“The only reason they like having me around is because I’m still young and cheap. The minute I am no longer either, I’m dead meat.”

“I gotta get out of this company,” I say.

“I thought you liked your job,” says John.

“I do,” I say. “But the only reason they like having me around is because Iʼm still young and cheap. The minute I am no longer either, Iʼm dead meat.”

“Like Ted,” says John.

“Yeah…him and the rest of The Watercooler Gang.”

“The Watercoolies,” laughs John.

So we had a good chuckle about our poor, hapless elders. We werenʼt that sympathetic, frankly. Their lives might have been hell then, but they had already had their glory moments. They had won their awards, flown off to The Bahamas to shoot toilet paper ads with famous movie stars and all that. Unlike us youngʼuns. John and I had only been out of college a couple of years and had still yet to make our mark on the industry we had entered with about as much passion and hope as anybody alive.

We had sold a few newspaper ads now and then, some magazine spreads, but the TV stuff was still well beyond reach. So far, the agency we had worked for had yet to allow us to shine. Was this our fault or theirs? Maybe a little bit of both, but back then it was all “their fault, dang-it!” Of course, everything is “their fault, dang-it!” when youʼre 24.

Back then it was all “their fault, dang-it!” Of course, everything is “their fault, dang-it!”
when you’re 24.

I quit my job about a year later. John stayed on with the agency, for whatever reason, then about 5 years ago got married, with his first kid following soon after. Suddenly with a family to support he couldnʼt afford to get fired. The Creative Director knew this and started to squeeze.

“You donʼt mind working this weekend, John, do you? Good. I knew you wouldnʼt. We all know how much the team relies on you to deliver at crunch time—thatʼs why we value you so highly, John, wouldnʼt you say?”

Last time I saw John he was working at this horrible little agency for a fraction of his former salary. Turns out the big agency had tossed him out about a week after his kidʼs second birthday.

Weʼre sitting there at the Thai restaurant again, having lunch for old timeʼs sake. Weʼre having a good time, talking about the usual artsy-fartsy stuff we always do. Itʼs a great conversation, marred only by the fact that I canʼt get the word “watercooler” out of my head…