The Smell Of Dead Clowns

by Joshua Routh

Dominique Jando, the acclaimed circus historian, would often walk into our training space when I was in the Clown Conservatory, with his nose held high, chin thrust forward and say in his strong French accent, “Eh, it smells like dead clowns in here.”

It wouldn’t matter what you were working on, whether it was something you thought would be brilliant, or a piece where you were struggling to find the funny; when he said those words, you did indeed die.

What was worse, was when he would walk among us, like some circus Severus Snape and say, “Make me laugh, clown.” Inevitably there would be no making him laugh. I got close once, but I also almost received a concussion from taking a folding chair to the head. It was more stadium wrestling than it was circus.

Thus, I find myself in the precarious position of telling myself I would write something weekly. Something interesting, informative and unique. I can hear Jando’s voice saying to me, “Be profound, clown.”

The problem isn’t content, I have lots to say. It also isn’t time, I can always make time to create. Just like when I was in the Conservatory, I have material and much of it good material. It is the principle of, ‘Be Good On Demand'.

This principle is often the thing that causes me and I would assume most people the deepest struggle. When creation is spontaneous, it feels inspired and the words flow magically, as if it truly was the muses whispering in your ear. When there is a demand, or pressure, often there are parts of us that rebel.

Part of me wants to be punk rock and kick over the computer shouting some ramblings that, “I am an artist and you can’t rush art!”

The people pleasing side of me wants to make excuses for my inconsistency.

Another part of me knows the truth, that my rebellion and procrastination are fueled by a bit of ‘analysis paralysis’, combined with a dash of ‘imposter syndrome’ and a healthy dose of just plain humanity.

My creativity and marketing guru of choice, Seth Godin is fond of saying, “Just ship it!”, and “Do the work, ship the work, now you’re creative.” Seth also writes a blog post a day. Some of them only a few sentences, some longer, almost always profound.

So here I sit, honoring my inner Seth. Honoring and channeling my inner Joshua as well.

I am reminded of the idea that to create, is like time traveling. Someone in the future, maybe an hour, maybe a few days, maybe a hundred years will connect with these thoughts and ideas I am sending out in this little corked bottle that is this newsletter.

They will hear my voice as they read it and we will connect. Some might respond, some might stay in the shadows and observe. Either way, once I press send, this will have shipped.

So I will, and hopefully you will read it. If not, that is ok too. Today I shipped. That part is mine and only for me. If you want to build self esteem, do esteem-able acts. If you want to be creative, create.

Is there something that is holding you back from fulfilling the creative work you wish to do?

Here are a two great books that often get me back on track —

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

The Practice by Seth Godin

All the best and keep living ‘To The Hilt’,

Joshua Routh

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