By Trent Rentsch
As an early holiday gift to myself, I’m re-doing my home studio space/man cave (yes, I freely admit that there are options for recreation. You know, all work and no play…). New desk, new rack mount unit, fresh sound proofing, guitar holders on the walls, triple monitors with a matrix switcher for multiple video inputs (Overkill? Did you miss the part about “man cave?). It’s the space I’ve been talking about having for a long time, but for one reason or another have never gotten around to making a reality. As I type this, there’s still a lot of work to be done, but it’s well enough along that it was great to walk in, flip a switch, and have everything light up, ready to start writing… until I saw the monster in the corner.
There are some things I was not prepared for when I moved “down South” to Raleigh… the humidity, the total and complete lack of a grid system in road design, the need for a translator when I spoke to my Step-Father who grew up “’round here.” I slowly adapted, and after 14 years, I’m fairly comfortable here… heck, I even crave grits from time to time! But there are some things that I doubt I’ll ever get used to... like, sweet tea, and the BUGS.
I type BUGS all caps on purpose, because that’s how they grow them down here. Big. Not just a little Big, a lot BIG. BIG FREEKING BUGS. Like, I’ve owned smaller dogs! Brrrrrr.
With that in mind, imagine what transpired when I stepped into my new Creative sanctuary, only to find it invaded by a BUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUG! One of the really, really BIG, Creepy, Roachy types… yeah, they called them “Palmetto BUGS,” but we all know them for what they really are… disgusting.
To my credit, I did what any red-blooded American Man would do in my place. And after I finished screaming like a little girl, I summoned up what was left of my dignity, grabbed the nearest heavy object, and chased the invader around the room, pounding, cursing… and completely losing it under the pile in the corner. For the moment, his whereabouts are unknown, but I imagine him under those boxes… waiting, plotting his kamikaze run up my pants leg. I continue to write, but know my next word could be my last… who knows when he might resurface, ready to battle for supremacy of the Man Cave, er, Studio?
I suppose I’ve always been a little greedy of my studio space, wherever it has been. To me, Creating has always been a deeply personal, mostly solo affair. I go in a room, dive into whatever project is at hand, “slip into the zone,” and get it done. No muss, no fuss… no “interruptions.” And God help anyone who dares interrupt!! True, in all these years only one coffee mug has been embedded in a wall, but plenty of people have endured tantrums short of that, simply for walking in at the wrong time… yeah, I’ve been that jerk.
Sad, stupid me, spending years building these little Creative cocoons, insulated from who knows how much potential Creative input? Imagine the missed opportunities for collaboration… the chance to make the work better, stronger, simply by bouncing my thoughts off others… and listening to theirs.
My only saving grace is that in the last few years I’ve finally noticed what a Creative Scrooge I have been, and have made an effort to break down the walls… letting others inside, not selfishly hoarding, but truly being a part of teams I work with. I’m a long way from perfect, but I would like to believe that I’m more willing to play with others these days, to listen and adapt… and I also believe the finished Creative has been stronger for it.
Yes, there is always someone who is going to bug us… people we don’t want to have time for, people that, for whatever reason, we don’t respect, or worse, loath. Still, they come at us with needs, questions, opinions… and irritation. I believe that one of the best gifts you can give yourself this holiday season is to take baby steps towards tolerance for these people. This isn’t a lecture about “being a better person,” it’s more utilitarian; everyone has something to teach us, if we’re open to them.
Creating in a vacuum just doesn’t work, in the long run… we need fresh input…. even if it’s from a creepy crawly alien fiend. I thank my studio “guest” for that… not that it will save him if he makes another appearance…
Trent Creates words, voices, audio and music. His professional home is Krash Creative Solutions. You can contact him at: