No updates had come through.
I was heartbroken.
It’d been a few months since I last visited, but there was always a new article to devour. Every single time.
It was a particular series of articles, one that had been running for years. Reading the latest in this series had started a ritual, one that involved good coffee, taking my phone off the hook, and closing down email.
But not this time. This time there were no updates. I hadn’t visited in almost six months, but there was still nothing to be found.
I bet you’ve had this happen to you.
Maybe a band that you adored and defined a decade for you decided to part ways and no longer make new music?
Maybe a book series that you feel in love with, one which you saw more of yourself in than any other piece of art, stopped because the author got bored or died or the publisher stopped returning her calls.
Or maybe a filmmaker whose movies were always the ones to make you feel better when you were sick, or ones you always watched with friends or family, started making awful money makers instead of something worth watching.
The work we love becomes a part of who we are. We grow alongside it and use it as markers along our own timelines.
So it’s no wonder it hurts when the those markers stop coming.
We love these pieces of work, but sometimes our love turns into idolatry.
We put the work on such a pedestal that we don’t ever think ourselves capable of reproducing such magnificence, so we never try. We don’t dare venture a step towards such greatness, we the mere mortals.
So when the maker stops making, we think the thread is finished, and assume a line has found its end.
We trick ourselves.
We make believe that the makers of such great work are special.
But they aren’t.
They might geniuses, yes, but they’re still human.
Their work that we so admire was inspired by other work, work that they themselves put upon a higher step. What to us is work to be admired is to them revivals of their own dead heroes. It’s work that was produced as homage to something they loved.
So why shouldn’t you do likewise?
All creative work worth noting is connected somehow.
There’s a family tree of ideas, and although some of the children on the end of a few chosen branches are so unique and wonderful and beautiful that they seem to be of their own species, they’re still a part of the rest of the family.
Every piece of creative work is inspired by another piece of creative work. Even the cave paintings of Lascaux were mimicking the beauty that nature distilled in her animals.
So when you find your heroes are no longer with you, bring their work down from their pedestal and use them as inspiration to create work that echoes your admiration.
Bring them back through homage.
Do what you think they would have done next in their careers, where should they have gone? What should they have made? How would they have reflected on what’s going on around them today? Or around you?
Mourn your lost heroes and thank them by making something in their honour.