So yesterday I wrote an article for Fine Art Views, an online marketing blog for artists. (They also host websites for artists and do a fine job, too!)
Someone commented on how creative I was to think of the title, Sipping From the Fire Hose.
I used the phrase as a metaphor for the power of the internet. So useful for so much, an astonishing resource not even imaginable a decade ago. We use it for shopping, research, information, selling, marketing, self-promotion and connection. I call it the “Galactic Encyclopedia”.
But everything has its dark side. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and overly-involved in things that take your farther and farther away from your own creative efforts. And when you start comparing your efforts to those of others, it can make you feel pretty darn squished.
I can’t take credit for the actual phrase, “sipping from the fire hose”. It’s been around awhile. A quick Google search turned up this definition from the Urban Dictionary:
to be overwhelmed (with information, work, etc.);
to do something intensely;
to be inundated
(Oddly, it also turned up a blog called Sipping from the firehose.)
What made me think of it was, I’d heard that phrase twice in six months. I heard it from two different friends, who are also friends with each other, but who rarely see each other anymore (one of them moved pretty far away.)
Both of them were describing their respective jobs, which they both love.
But there’s simply too much to do. No matter how hard they work, or how much they try to chip away at their respective massive workloads, there’s always more coming down the pipe.
My friend Carol had just been in my studio a few days earlier. That’s when I heard the phrase for the second time.
Because of the coincidences, I couldn’t get it out of my head. All day I kept thinking, “Sipping from the fire hose….sipping from the fire hose….” I could even see Barb making a gesture like she was trying to drink from…well, a fire hose.
I had to write a column in a hurry. (My poor editor, Carrie Turner at Fine Art Views. No matter how many times she gives me a heads-up, I still forget when my column is due. In my defense, she says the late ones are often my best.)
(Okay, I think she’s just being kind.)
I was enmeshed in editing my series of ebooks. I could not think of an original thing to say.
All I could think about was that stupid phrase…sipping from the fire hose…
Then….the good and the bad about water. How everything needs it to live. And yet too much is awful, too.
I thought, “What in my professional life is wonderful and awful?”
I was sitting there, tearing myself away from my project. Which I was doing on the internet. Which was totally, mind-blowingly amazing. Unheard of ten years, even five years ago. My husband had just told me that the technology for on-demand printing was expanding so quickly, that information I’d read that was more than six months old might already be out-of-date.
I was thinking about the power of the internet….
And how lost and confused and discouraged I’d been the day before while researching how to create a book cover….on the internet.
Sipping from the fire hose….
Once I had my metaphor, the words just poured forth. (Another water metaphor!)
For me, the use of metaphors helps me wrap my head around a concept. I don’t know how other artists/writers/creative people do it. But that’s usually the starting place for my writing.
There you have it. That’s where my ideas come from. They come from:
My friends. Complaining about work.
A funny phrase: Six months apart in time, 150 miles apart in space, and connected heart-to-heart in friendship.
And Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series, with the amazing concept of the Galactic Encyclopedia.
And watching Kenny Roberts, the Yodelin’ Cowboy (on WNEM-TV Channel 5 in Michigan about 55 years ago. One day he sang Cool Water. (Although maybe I’ve squished this with the westerns we also used to watch nonstop around the same time.)