page 209 there are no bad rules

“There are no bad rules or good rules. Only rules that fit the situation and serve the art.” — Rick Rubin, The Creative Act, page 209

  • And even then I’m not convinced we even need to call them rules. It’s more “what does this piece (song, painting, dress) want?” What does it need to exist, to support it, to help it take shape? How do we cut away what is NOT that?

  • My feelings about this are conflicted. I’m really good at this paring away. In another life maybe I was a bonsai master. I can see what doesn’t fit, what is extra. I understand what needs to be left on the floor at the end of the day. Things that don’t belong just … glow, and ask to be removed. My sense of economy is unshakable. It’s a solid strength of mine.

  • If I overthink this, though, I start to believe that it’s only connected to my negativity and because of that, somehow tainted. Because: I started making clothing out of a deep ambivalence about it. Since childhood I struggled with its meanings, its messages, its gender implications, its practical discomforts, and the implications of whether I belonged, well, honestly, anywhere. So I commenced my professional making life with a set of confident guiding principals about what I did not want.

  • Oh. Okay I get it. There are no bad rules. My original ambivalences (still lurking) don’t require any added judgments. They’re just fine. They help me “fit the situation and serve the art.” I just tricked myself into believing this. And it may look like I tricked you too but, honestly, I figured this out as I wrote it.

The Creative re-Action:

Responding to Rick Rubin's "The Creative Act"

Is just that. I open the book at random. I read a sentence. I respond to it.