In Praise of The Circle: We Weren’t Born To Follow

Highlighting one, two or even three songs from The Circle is torture – because they’re all so good! But I ll put Superman Tonight on top of this post. And Bullet at the bottom. Full album The Circle here.

Dear Jon,
Did you even listen to The Circle, before recording your video?
Now hold on – this posts ends super happy. And there’s sex in here. Well kind of, all I could muster anyways.
But did you even listen to the beautiful and dare I say brilliant and MUCH NEEDED positive and uplifting lyrics of this 2009 album?
Or did you just browse through the song titles, and assumed you were done with your “own” (I will get back to this possessive adjective) work and didn’t need to listen to it?
I think every creator, every artist who has ever walked the face of this earth understands where you were, in which place, if you really felt like that, Jon.
A dark place.
Which is why I think that if anyone got it into their heads to berate you for not fully backing yourself – the way you usually do – they cannot be creators themselves.
They do not understand the burden of being a creative, and the process in itself being somewhere between the euphoria of the best night with a stranger (see! I m working with you here, trying to spice things up!) you ever had;

And a roller coaster ride on a track that is about to be demolished because it is past its due date;
Perhaps a bit too dangerous.
A tad too thrilling for your liking.
But you survived and your feet are planted firmly on the ground, you can shake it off.
And whether the adventure was the night with the blonde (can we make her blonde? We make her Michelle Pfeiffer) or the roller coaster ride;
You can turn it into a good story to tell your friends.
However, what would happen if you’d be eye to eye with Michelle, surrounded by other green room invitees who knew that back then the two of you….?
Or if you had to vouch for your time together, in front of a camera?
Stammer and feeling uncomfortable I reckon, nah?
What would happen if your friends would surprise you that the roller coaster had not been taken down, and the new owner of the land will allow you to go in one more time, before it is demolished?
That you can relive your adventure from 2009, which you apparently appreciated so much, because you keep telling people about it?
Not an appealing thought to go back in.
I m currently listening to the Circle, on my headphones. It’s about the 9th time since you posted your video to Instagram. I m a Twitter user myself – but you being active on Instagram is still the only appeal the medium has ever got to me.
The only alluring aspect of it is you being there.
But I m holding the line so far.
You predominantly on Insta, me on Twitter. But listening to The Circle adds to the wish to see more of you on my social media: What a brilliant album. Just like the previous 8 times I listened to it these past few days;
Not only can I not find anything wrong with it, with zero songs I want to skip, but it’s filled with magnificent songs!
And so many guitars, it’s so rock!
I genuinely love this album, Jon. And if nothing else your video has established that me and who knows how many other fans are giving The Circle the relistening it deserves. And I m betting they’re coming to the same conclusion:
The Circle is a strong, rounded album.
But, there is a way more important reason than the high quality of this album why your video was “off”. 
Because you don’t get to be the critic of your own work, Jon.
You may be the one receiving the idea, you may be writing, singing, producing, or even get to be the promoter of your own work, if you’re hellbent to do so.
But the critic?
 I personally believe nobody should be criticizing anybody:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.”
A quote from Roosevelt.
But if you disagree, if you believe criticism does have a place in this world, it is still not the creator of the work who gets to criticize his own work.
And the reason is very simple:
Because it is the work of God.
More than the people who do not create, or have the unholy profession of being a critic, or the ones who focus on joining the dots type of growth, or have the extremely valuable yet not that spectacular task of cleaning, nurturing, care taking;
The artist is none of those things.

He is usually not even particularly good at them either.
Maybe the fact that you are good serving your community in a more direct manner, has made you more judgmental to your art.

Maybe that’s why it hurts (or you think it hurts) seeing your work again.
But I m here to say on repeat:
You are not a critic, let alone you’d be the critic of your own work.
You are a builder and a care taker; And as such of tremendous value to your family and the community at large, but you are first and foremost something else:
An artist.
And the creative process is a different one. Different to placing one brick on top of another. Different to mapping out, planning, even (technically) different to having a vision of where you want to go with your art.
Builder Jon built the Bon Jovi empire.
But artist Jon?
Oh….. artist Jon did everything else.

But he did not do it alone.
But to know with whom he was, we have to go back to the meaning of creativity.
Creativity comes from creation. And raise your hand if you know who The Big Creator is? 
Yes, Jon? 
*      * 
That is, of course, the correct answer.
The answer is God.
An artist creates, and that places him on the same plane as God. Creativity is by design, a divine practice. It’s the reason why it feels so much better to be creating something, than to just try to find meaning in the ways of The Lord.
Once you start joining the process of creation, things acquire meaning and fall into place.
Because you’re no longer here, you’re “there”.
You can feel The Power of the big creator flowing through you, and in conjunction you create a song, a 3 hour rock show, or an extremely good album.
And then the sun comes up.
The cart comes to a halt.
The woman smiles at you, and it’s like a wordless goodbye that makes you sad.
But it is done.
And it was worth it.
For a brief period you were not just relieved from normal life;
You were one with God.
And it is exactly for this reason why we don’t get to be the critics of our own work. Because it was never our work, Jon.
It was God’s.
He flows through us, like he flows through all creators.
And we’re just the messenger, like all the messengers before us, and all the messengers after.
To criticize what we have created is to criticize God.
That’s why it feels so horrible to do it… and makes us feel so miserable.
Creation is never something you did for a certain outcome.
It’s not even something you can look back on and say “It took 7 days”, because any limitation, any label is preposterous.
It took as long as it took.
And it was done when it was done.
And the only reason to do it, is because the idea was hovering you, tempting you, whispering sweet promises in your ear at moments when you were supposed to be doing something worldly and extremely useful.
“Come on Jon…. I know you want to.”
“Just a few minutes.”
“I promise I ….. I promise….. I -“
And one night, one wild ride, one 1500 word blog post or one amazing album later, your feet hit the floor and you’re like:
“I really should not have done that.”
Oh but you should have, Jon.
It’s why you’re here.


Rock Star Writer 

These blog posts will go out randomly, as topics reveal themselves.
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Full album The Circle here.

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