Leave it to a writer to appreciate the economy of words; to say more with less —to deliver one of the best commencement speeches of all time.

In essence, the speech can be summed up with one simple, yet riveting statement:

Make good art.

Now, to the passerby, the uninitiated, those who do not think of themselves as creative —this may seem trite.

It may sound like a cute platitude first semester students put on the top of their social media feeds, enthralled with the possibility of writing the next great American novel.

However, underneath the surface —there is a delicate truth to the statement.

No matter who you are or what you ‘do’:

Make good art.

In a world dominated by the pursuit of wealth, run amok with blind ambition through capitalism, where countless young people trade what they really desire for shadow lifes and careers:

Make good art.

In a world where cynicism reigns supreme, where genuinely good people are mocked and criticized, where a media culture builds people up to the highest of peaks; only to tear them down and pour salt in their wounds:

Make good art.

In a world that has stripped away our curiosity, the inner child who dreams with reckless abandon, who keeps their eyes to the sky, to the possibilities of the world and replaces them with the been-there-done-that’s:

Make good art.

In a world that want you and I to fit in a conventional, predetermined box, to sit down, to get in line, to be a cog in the machine, to be leveraged to pay strangers, errr shareholders a higher dividend in the stock market:

Make good art.

In a world where it is easy to feel burdened by the incessant noise, chaos, injustice, racism, blaring misconceptions and where the line between fact and fiction are not blurred, they are pummeled into oblivion:

Make good art.

And here’s the kicker:

Whatever your ‘art’ is —is enough.

Personally, I never for a moment thought of myself as creative in any shape, way or form for the first 2.5 decades of my life:

I thought creativity was for ‘other’ people.
I thought creativity was something you’re born with.
I thought creativity was for a select iota of the population.

(I’m actually convinced it wasn’t even in my vocabulary.)

Now, decades later —and I don’t go one day without speaking of creativity or tapping into it in my own life.

As Chase Jarvis from Creative Live told me during one of my favorite interviews of 2020:

“Anyone can be creative.”

Chase Jarvis, Resist Average Podcast

And it is in fact this openness, this curiosity, this acceptance of radical novelty where we tap into this source:

Be creative with a ‘thank you’ letter.

Be creative with how you tell a story.

Be creative with a social media post.

Be creative with tonight’s dinner meal.

Be creative with how you parent your kids.

Do this long enough, at least once a day —and you will learn the lesson Neil Gaiman so eloquently stated:

Make good art.

One response to “Make Good Art by Neil Gaiman”

  1. […] on your strategic marketing.Spent on your unique creative work.Spent on acquiring skills to get paid.Spent on long-term, effective projects.Spent on building […]

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