I was walking down 18th Avenue in the Goose Hollow neighborhood of Portland yesterday and saw where Simpsons’ creator Matt Groening had inscribed a doodle (see below) of Bart Simpson and the year of his high school graduation. Inspiration strikes in the damnedst of places, even when you’re just on a healthy jog.
After getting lost on the way back to my place (in the near-freezing rain-mist) for an hour and a half, I got into a well-prepared hot tub and recollected the longer-than-planned streethike in the Southwest Hills. Tired and pink-skinned from the weather exposure, the warm water soothed what seemed to have become frozen. I thawed out, but my mind had already done so the moment my eyes glanced down on the Groening sidewalk slab.
In every episode of The Simpsons, there has always been subversion layered into the content. Like all good art that comes from real places, a raging against an overlording body may either peep or completely roar from inside the perspective of whomever created the piece itself. A huge amount of time may exist between the two furthest points where an artist is inspired to build something from an infantesimal genesis to the behemouth of what it may eventually become. Or, inspriation may keep hitting like mile posts on a long road trip, with consistent frequency and nary skipping a beat.
I’m in between those two stretches on the spectrum of hitting inspiration. When there is a lull, it’s usually because my brain and self are not open to the consistent lights and sounds that gleam into a person’s creative engine, jolting what jutters and making it hum with speed and accuracy. When things are humming, an artist is able to insert the subversion that is necessary to encapsulate a feeling for a piece, the satire that thrives inside the reason something gets borne in the first place.
Normal is comfortable. Conventions are comfortable. Commonplace is comfortable. The opposite is what challenges. I hope I’m taking it upon myself to challenge those three things within myself, and then the exterior, which nearly demands consistent subversion and satire so that things may be shown in a different light. A different perspective. The very reason for art. The very reason for words on a page.