The Creative process

There is nothing more precious than your own creation
(Trust me on this)
What you build is your own. Whether it is your art or the talent you nurture, or your home, or whatever it may be; whatever you create, whatever you nourish, whatever you nurture or cultivate is yours.

This is yours.
Every day, this is you. This is you in the morning. This is you in the afternoon, and this is you before you close your eyes at night. This is who you are

What you chose to create is what you want the world to see, —even if it’s just a few simple words with different meanings, —the words you use are your words. You used them. You formed the sentence and you placed them on a page. Whatever is said about them, good or bad, at least you put yourself out there

At least you created something.
So write on, I say. Or play on; whichever the case may be. Move forward and don’t quit. Don’t quit no matter what because THIS IS YOU!

I went to a small fight promotion in Hempstead, New York. The seats were cheap and so was the venue. The ring was centered in the middle of a large gymnasium with glossy light colored wood gymnasium floors. The ring girl was wearing short shorts and a bikini top. Her skin was not what I would call pale. I would only say her skin was pale enough to accentuate the scattered bruises on her thighs.
The lights were bright in the auditorium. The chairs were lined up around the ring, equally, and reached back a few rows deep. These were considered to be the expensive seats. The cheaper seats were along the wall on the wooden bleachers. As for me, I sat front row with a friend of mine with hopes to see something good.

Most fighters were in the ring for the first time. The bouts were short armature kickboxing fights. Most of the fighters knew each other. There were young fighters from different schools, which was obvious because of the matching shirts and outfits.

None of the fights were exceptional or technical. They were all low level, first time, or early in the sport fights with young kids screaming from ringside to cheer for their friends.
However, midway through the venue, I saw a tall thin fighter enter the ring. He was very pale. His short hair was white. His legs were like poles without any real definition. His arms were thin, but long, and his blue eyes appeared to reveal a sense of fear.

His opponent was less nervous and more experienced. He was short with freckles, blue eyed with rusty blond hair, and the last name of Murphy. I knew his name was Murphy because his teammates screamed for him at the side of the ring.
The tall thin fighter had no one at ringside. With the exception of an older brother, the fighter had no one to cheer for him. The young fighter’s brother was very quiet. He wore a Krav Maga fighting systems shirt. His strong, muscular arms bulged from the short sleeves. His nose appeared to have been broken more than once and his hands looked as though they could punch through steel. It was clear this man had been in the ring before. It was also clear to me that I felt sorry for anyone that would face or disturb the older brother while viewing the fight.

The tall thin fighter stood in the center of the ring across from Murphy as the ref went over a brief speech about the rules, Murphy returned to his corner and snarled.
The tall thin boy looked as nervous as a bait dog used in a mismatched dog fight. He paced his corner. His pole thin legs moved in his long white shorts with red stripes down the side.

Murphy punched his gloves together.
His team shouted, “Go get’em Murph!”
The bell rang and the fight was on. The two fighters met in the center. Murphy came out quickly but his nervous opponent moved cautiously.

“Get him, Murph,” screamed the boys from Murphy’s gym.
The two circled around the ring. They both gave the occasional shoulder fake and hip shake to draw in the other.
Murphy was shorter. He was more comfortable. He was waiting for the right time to throw the first of many devastating punches.

“Hit’em Murph. He ain’t got nothing,” screamed one of Murphy’s boys

The tall thin fighter moved in close enough for Murphy to land the first shot of the fight. Murphy landed punches and kicks at will.
I was two seats away from the thin fighter’s brother. I watched the brother’s jaw clench with frustration. I watched his fist clench. I watched Murphy punish this young blond haired boy, bloodying the kid’s face and opening his lip. The fight was stopped in the third round, but the thin boy refused to quit.

I watched this tall blond-haired fighter step into the ring. And yes he lost. Yes, he took a beating. Above this, I watched this young man climb into the ring and give all that he had.
There were some that said this kid had no business being in the ring. And maybe they were right. This was his first fight. Maybe he should have waited. Maybe the kid was trying to please his older brother. Everyone in the gymnasium had their own opinion on the fight

And me, I saw this young man as a kid that wasn’t afraid to try. I saw the underdog remind me why I am such a fan of his. I saw a young man so willing to improve himself at his sport that he climbed into a ring and took whatever was thrown at him.
I saw a boy in his early moments of competition, whom by the way is probably a killer by now, more defined, matured, and would probably love to see Murphy again. I am sure that young man matured into his talent. I’m sure he did not quit and I am sure his ability improved. I am sure this young man created his own way by nurturing his dreams to better his talent

There is nothing more precious than your own creation.
(Trust me on this)
Whether it is the words I leave behind, or the house I run, my family, my wife, my daughter, my car, the clothes I wear or the car I drive; This is me. Every day.

Creating . . .

I once spent a morning eating breakfast across from the beach in Ft. Lauderdale. It was around wintertime when the Florida sun was kind enough to leave color on my skin; meanwhile, my cold return to the New York City weather was quickly approaching. I went down to see my mother, but funds were tight. I stayed in a nice section of town, but I was at the edge of where the wealthy stay. I stayed on one of the side streets in a small, beaten down place, where drunks lived and rambled on about poetic versions of their life.

“You get what you pay for,” said a woman about the motel when she was leaving. She complained about her room when I arrived at the door of the motel’s small office. “And I better not have bed bugs,” she shouted.

I assume this place was nice once. However, whenever it was nice was long ago. I accepted my key from the woman at the counter, smiled politely, and I did my best to understand her English while broken with her French accent.

She might have been pretty once too. She was overly tanned with platinum hair, small, petite, and she smelled from coconut oil, which I could only assume was spread across her skin so she could bake in the sun. I suppose her age hovered in the upper 60’s, but she dressed inappropriately younger, and I think parts of her body that I could have lived well without seeing in a skimpy nothing suit.

My room was small wit a small air conditioner set in the wall. The floor was an imitation hardwood that felt more like a rubbery linoleum.
The bathroom was small; the pink tiles, blue toilet, and the yellow ceiling were too much for the eyes with the lights on. It was like the woman said out loud when she complained downstairs. “You get what you pay for.”

Early the next morning, I left my flop-house of a motel room to watch the sun come up. I took a walk on the beach and I listened to the wind move through the palm trees. I could hear the waves folding over and tumbling into the shore. Only, the waves were calm and not harsh at all. It sounded more like a hushing noise, which was perfect for me.
Best, were the smells around me. I could smell the ocean. I could smell the warmth of an empty beach. There were no sounds of aggression. There were no horns honking like there would be in places, like say, Lexington Avenue at Grand Central Station.

Aside from the occasional morning jogger, there was no one else but me, sitting happily alone in a warm silence. There were no arguments for that moment. There was nothing but a moment of clarity.
After the sun took its place on stage, I found a small restaurant across from the beach. The front entrance was beneath white awning which blended into the white façade of tall white hotel.

I was greeted at the front podium beneath a white umbrella by a young woman holding a well-styled menu. She was friendly, tan-skinned, with a bright smile and white teeth.
The young woman sat me close to the sidewalk so I could have an uncluttered view of an empty street, with an empty background of an empty beach, and the ocean behind it.

I ordered a steak and eggs (the eggs were poached, of course) with home fries and hot sauce —got to have the hot sauce and hot to have the toast to help assist all the juices and sauce and to help pick up every bit and piece of home fries on the plate.

I sat back and sipped my coffee from an over-sized coffee mug. I faced the sea and watched some of the outgoing ships sail off to ports unknown.
Everything was slow and easy. I thought to myself, “If I ever hit it big, I could see me doing things like this on a daily basis.”
(The only difference would be the flop motel. I was only two blocks from The Ritz Carlton. I suppose a place like that would do just fine.)

I made a deal with myself. I promised to never forget this moment. And I kept that deal. I remember everything about that morning. I remember everything down to the seasoning on the steak and how the yolk from my eggs broke open and I stirred in the hot sauce to mix all the flavors.

I remember the waitress asking about my New York accent and how she’d planned to go there in the fall.
I made a deal to remember every second of this for moments like now. This way, I can thumb through my mental Rolodex (that’s like an address book on a wheel in a tin cover shaped like a roll of toilet paper for those who are too young to understand what a Rolodex means) and when the streets cover with ice, or whenever the snow falls, I can relive this moment exactly as it was.

The way I see it folks, we are all a compilation of events. We are all a mixture of emotion and memory. This is us, every day. This is us when we wake and when we go to sleep.  I think about the tall blond fight and Murphy. I think about places like that beach in Fort Lauderdale. I think about my dreams, my plans, and the man I want to be. There is nothing more precious than this. These are my dreams and it is my job to work towards them on a daily basis.

Each day comes with its own challenge and every creation we make is like art, and like most art, there will always be critics and there will always be inaccurate interpretations. There will always be someone looking to destroy what you build or point out the flaws in your plan. But let me ask you something . . . what do they know?

It’s easy to criticize

It’s harder to build

And it’s even harder to fight back sometimes

But keep building, I say.

Build as best as you can because no one can stop you

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