eating chili in the bathtub and the creative process

Shooting from the heart…

I admit it; I’m a sensitive eater. If I’m having lunch with friends (for example) and the conversation turns to anything medical, anything having to do with physical injuries or pain, or anything that seems disgusting to me, I have to get up and leave. There are those in the world who seem to enjoy this Achilles’ heel of mine. And those who simply aren’t affected the way I am, and have no problem talking about… you get the idea.

One colleague of mine has witnessed this intolerance of mine more than once. I forget what we were talking about, maybe those embarrassing moments in life we’d rather not think about. I have an entire closet full of skeletons, so this was an easy and fun game for me; I decided to go ahead and share my story of the time I was eating chili in the bathtub and how things took a turn for the worse.

Turns out my friend has her own ‘nausea zone’ of sorts. And it just so happens to include the idea of someone… anyone, I imagine, eating a bowl of chili while taking a bath. My lucky day!

Just the other day I started to retreat from the lunchroom table because things were going “that way” again. My friend and I started laughing about the chili in the bathtub thing, and it occurred to me that it might be a really good idea to write a song about it. (If simply mentioning it can spoil her lunch, just IMAGINE what a good chorus could do!) It might even have been her idea. Talk about twisted.

Then today it hit me that if one song is a good idea, then an entire ALBUM about the central theme of eating chili in the bathtub would be even better! (And what if each song were from a different genre? I’m thinking full choirs singing about it… heavy metal… the obligatory country song… honky tonk for my friend… rap? maybe bluegrass?)

I wrote/recorded the first version of the song in about 25 minutes earlier this evening. Immediately e-mailed it out. I may mix it down and post it here… but then again, I may not. Haven’t quite decided yet.

But my point is this… sometimes the creative process (for me, anyway) is sparked by the silly, the goofy, the mundane in life, and hits me on the head like a fly ball to left field when my glove is in my lap and I’ve forgotten that there’s even a game happening. I think that when we approach our creative process as ‘play’ or ‘just goofing around’ or as ‘just a joke’, that frees us up to do SOMETHING… ANYTHING. To get paint on the canvas.

However, when I say, “Okay– now I’m going to create a great piece of art. Here I go…” (and I still do this way too often) then I myself feel blocked… too much pressure.

As a result, I try to “just goof around” all the time. That’s how every single one of our songs (music-wise) have come about.

But this doesn’t mean that it’s not serious stuff. Doesn’t mean it’s not valid– doesn’t mean it’s only a joke. On the contrary– because I approached it as a joke, my walls could come down and I could shoot from the heart instead of from the head.

What’s more honest, true and valid than shooting from the heart?

(And just for argument’s sake, if you insist upon eating chili in the bathtub, I highly recommend against setting the bowl on the edge of the tub with the belief that it won’t fall into your bathwater. I promise it’s not worth the risk.)

1 Comment

Filed under Writing & recording original music

One response to “eating chili in the bathtub and the creative process

  1. Sarah

    Before I heard your song I thought “Chili + Bathtub = Disgusting”

    Now I think “Chili + Bathtub = Still Disgusting”

    Seriously though, I really really liked your song. A whole album? That might be kind of like putting the bowl on the edge of the tub. It SOUNDS like a good idea, but if things go wrong, who’s going to clean up the mess?

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