I recently read David Lynch's Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness and Creativity. The book is short and sweet and focuses on ideas, transcendental meditation and filmmaking. It's also full of solid gold that can be applied to pretty much any creative endeavour and to life.
For me, the best bits are when he talks about finding ideas and following them wherever they may take you. I always thought I had to have an idea before I could start - the big idea that would drive me forward and from which everything else would flow, but that's just not the way things work. It's all about the little ideas. Little glimpses. Tiny pieces that will eventually fall into place. Words, images and sounds that just seem to come around, tapping you on the shoulder asking to be remembered, to be kept in a drawer for later. Following that one little idea will lead you on to other ideas. Ideas about what to write, to read, to research, to aim for, to believe in and what to do next. But we have to have desire. Desire to create, to understand, to change and grow, and a desire to move forward. Without it nothing will happen and we'll be here forever, turning in circles, breathing in and out.
When I was 17 and couldn't sleep, I turned on my old portable TV and watched Annie Hall while blowing cigarette smoke out the cracked window. There's one scene, where Alvy and Annie talk about their relationship, that I can never shake. Alvy says: "A relationship, I think, is like a shark. You know? It has to constantly move forward or it dies."
"Keep moving forward" are words I’ve etched onto my bones. They're words I tell my friends when they are at the bottom. The words I tell myself when I feel like all the light has gone. If we don't have the desire to move forward, to be better, to change, to love, to live, to fuck up and try again then we've got a dead shark on our hands.
We've got to keep moving forward, trying to catch the big fish.