The Outpost

Reflecting on Ep 45: Deconstructing Destruction
By Dinah Mattson
Published July 20, 2022

Krista is “friends with watermelon”, but she’ll rip apart a fern to make a picture of a turtle; so the question is: what role does destruction have in creativity?

In this episode of the podcast Lacey started out by attempting to divert everyone from the constant, rosy talk about “creativity”, only to be sucked back into the subject by her own strong inclination to it – this phenomenon will come up again as the episode goes on. 

So, the conversation quickly became not destruction instead of creativity, but destruction’s role in creativity, with all parties seeing destruction less as a thing antithetical to creativity, but… divergent? We’ll come back to this.

First, we must address the community questions!

Beginning with: “Do you do much work with contractors and freelancers on your projects? Can you talk about working respectfully and productively with other artists and creatives that you bring into your projects?”

Tom and Marc spoke about encouraging freelance artists to bring themselves to the projects they are hired onto by Orange Nebula; to express something of who they are and allow themselves to become a part of the project. To have your work be your own, to reflect something personal, is an empowering thing; even when you’re working to achieve someone else’s vision. As an employee of Orange Nebula I personally felt encouraged hearing them speak about the freedom we should feel to make our work our own, within the context of a company.  

“We do respect their voice and we are hiring them because we want that voice, not because we want them to perfectly execute our voice.” – Tom 

The Krista Podcast Special

Krista was able to speak into the subject from the other side of things as a former freelance artist hired by O-Neb, and she agreed with everyone else that the feeling of respect for her voice motivated her to bring herself fully to the company’s project. The level of confidence they expressed in her ability – by giving her freedom within the parameters of the project – energized her.

The conversation then evolved, deservedly, into something referred to as “The Krista Podcast Special”.

What Marc and Tom pointed out as Krista’s distinguishing traits, in the world of amazing artists who are creative and make amazing art, were: her constant, expansive, creative mindset; her willingness to bring that thinking to all parts of Orange Nebula’s workings, and not just the art; and her self-sustainability and personal motivation.

“[She] would do her own research and come up with ideas and thoughts that were not provided for her.” – Marc

These were ultimately the features that motivated them to bring her onto the team full-time.

The second question

The KPS continued in community question number two, as Krista took the lead in the discussion.

The question was: “I have a whole bunch of things I’ve been dreaming about and want to make. I want to work on all of them at once, but part of me feels like I just need to pick one to take seriously and focus only on that. What do you think is more productive: working deeply on one project? Or jumping between multiple active projects?”

No one can seem to decide, except Krista, unsurprisingly. And Krista chooses option two. Though, sort of, both.

Really, everyone on the couch ultimately picks both.

Why both?

To have the one project that you are taking seriously allows you to push through the more difficult, uncomfortable, scary, boring parts of that project, to bring it to completion. It must be done! (You say.) And, therefore, it gets done. But to simultaneously have ventures that you allow yourself to take less seriously – and which you allow yourself to occasionally lend your creative energy and focus to – allows you to rest, or be re-energized, and feel less pressure. Maybe this helps you to rebuild confidence in your ability, which can seep away during the most trying parts of a project that is nearing completion. Not only this, but it allows you to cultivate, continuously, seedling projects that will one day become the (almost) all-encompassing, taken-seriously, actually-getting-done work of your dreams!

…One project, in its seedling form, can be what you’re doing when you’re procrastinating from the other one… A lot of times procrastination isn’t laziness, it’s fear.” – Krista

I haven’t referred enough to Lacey who now points out that we can empower ourselves by defining what we will work on, and what we will not. That we chose what will take up space and energy in our lives and our thoughts – she suggests these things would be those serving our deepest purpose. But this does not limit us to working alone.

“I think it’s important to work on other people’s projects, too… there is this, just, immense inspiration that can come from being a part of someone else’s dream, that can also feed into your own project.” – Lacey

This thought throws back to the previous community question and the role that a company project has in the creative life of an individual participating in it. How cool is that?

OK, time to blow stuff up! 

The main topic. Which I like to call: Destruction versus Preciousness; illustrated in the quote Tom loves, “Kill your darlings.”

Destruction can evoke feelings of awe and wonder, and feelings of wildness and freedom. It is a fiery place to be inspired by, liberating you from the “tyranny” of preciousness. 

When asked how the mindfulness and intentionality of her method jives with the idea of destruction, Krista spoke of “freeing limitations”: the freedom created by limits and limited choice. There is only so much paint a piece of paper can take before it is ruined and unusable; and within that finite space of choice Krista finds she has something to push against – something to push off of – to direct her and get her to where she is going. 

Which is funny considering that earlier in the episode, during a Krista praise-session, Lacey described projects as balloons that everyone else floats inside of, while Krista spends her time pressing her hands (and face) to the wall, changing the space and the perspectives everyone has of it. Until she inevitably pops it, sending everyone to their death. This last part doesn’t seem accurate to experience; though maybe the idea of free-fall is not too far off. And the idea of blowing up a project.  

Lacey, seemingly fascinated by the destructive power of fire (as opposed to Marc’s T-N-T and lasers), spoke of her family ritual of burning oversized, and otherwise unreasonable, projects the children made, at the end of each year. The benefit of this being not only the freedom from the items that the family gains; nor only the respect this event shows the work that they labored over; but in creating a time and a space to “put” feelings that grew up around these items and undertakings. To which Marc points out that if everything you worked to make were destroyed what you have left is who you’ve become, what you’ve learned – who you are now. 

The power of destruction is the power to change the world 

Next, Lacey changes the subject somewhat, away from intentional destruction, towards inevitable destruction, and what the group finds is that destruction – self-caused or uninvited – creates the same sort of conditions. “Something changes” and when that change is unasked for the resulting coping, and community that comes from it can be as beautiful and inspirational as anything we would choose. Tom concludes that a change – or the desire for one – is the catalyst for the creativity in the first place. 

Which led me to think that creativity and destruction are not so much two options to choose between, but two halves of an unending circle, with creativity ending inevitably in destruction, and destruction leading irresistibly to creation. Whether we like it or not, whether we look at it or not, destruction is a necessary part of anything this world has to offer, including our work. And it’s a powerful part. Do we harness that power, or do we simply accept it? Do we seek it, or do we let it find us?

The main point is that we don’t run from destruction, that we face it and open ourselves to it, and see what becomes.

If you enjoyed reading this article and want us to take the time to share more things like this, let us know in the the Outpost Community on Facebook! We’d also love to hear your thoughts and reflections on these observations and the podcast.

Click to transport to Facebook

We’ll contact you when your mini-Marc ships out.