#sparkchamber 081219 — Buddy Scott
After more than two-and-a-half years of #sparkchamber magic, we welcome our very first self-identified closet romantic. Buddy Scott, a civil servant by occupation and an avid reader and history buff by passionate pursuit, has taken the long road to just the right place. Navigating along an uncertain path describes [what this writer considers to be] the very essence of creative process. Creativity isn’t just about making — art, music, choreography, architecture, pastries, knitgoods — but more broadly, about making it through. It’s about meeting the challenges, solving the problems, finding the way to the other side. Ideally, but not necessarily, with a smile. And in that spirit, in his own words, the champion of figuring it out as you go along, Mr. Buddy Scott.
When I was younger, I really thought the military was my calling. I came from a background of being a “service brat,” and when I got to high school, there was an ROTC program, which I excelled at. I attended a military junior college and did well at that, so you’d think I was looking at 20 or 30 years in the military.
Once I got there however, I quickly realized that I was much better at playing a soldier than I was actually being one. But that was okay, because somewhere along the line between college and the Army I became enamored of being in broadcasting. So, when I got out of the Army, I got into radio. And did that for 15 years.
That was fun, but, you know that old saying that you should do what you love and not worry about the money because that’ll follow? Well, it never followed. And at the age of 40, I saw someone in the mirror who was never going to be the next Rick Dees or Howard Stern. I took stock and decided to do something a little more substantial ... which ended up being in healthcare. Back to school to get the necessary training and background, and eight years later I’m a licensed chiropractor.
Then Real Life intervened. In short order over the next two years I went through a divorce, had a major medical emergency and was forced into bankruptcy over the bills related to the medical thing. I spent the next eight years working my way back from all that only to find that my career was once again something of a millstone around my neck. I enjoyed what I was doing, but I was going broke doing it.
Long story short, I now work as a civil servant. Secure job, decent pay/benefits, nothing flashy. I’ll likely retire doing what I’m doing now. I sometimes look back and wonder what it would have been like to do one thing for 30 or 40 years. But then I realize that I’ve had some interesting experiences in my professional life and I’m not sure I’d change a lot of it. It’s made me realize that I could do just about anything if I set my mind to it.
In his free time, Buddy reads — the news of the day/week [The New Yorker, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Time magazine] — or anything that has to do with a historical event, “It's like catnip to me.” And on top of all that, he’s currently reading two books concurrently, “one about the preservation and dissemination of certain scientific texts from Antiquity through the millennia to modern times, and one on the spread of Christianity in the First Millennium.”
1.] Where do ideas come from?
Sometimes they come out of nowhere, unbidden. Mostly, though, I think ideas come from a need for something, whether it’s a solution to a practical problem or just a need for a new way of thinking about something.
2.] What is the itch you are scratching?
I don’t create anything in the classic sense. I’m not artistic or talented in that way at all. But the ‘itch’ I scratch is the one that tells me that I have to understand what came before so I can better place into context the world I find myself in.
3.] Early bird or night owl? Tortoise or hare?
Definitely Night Owl; that seems to be the one thing I can look back at over the course of my life and point to as a constant in terms of when I’m most comfortable. As for tortoise or hare, I’ve found that I tend to procrastinate and then, with a deadline of some sort looming, that’s when I get busy.
4.] How do you know when you are done?
You could make the case that you’re never really ‘done’. With me, I’m not artistic or creative in any real way, but for example, when I read a book, you’d think, “I’m done when I get to the last page.” But are you really? If it’s a history book, there’s always more to learn about whatever it is that you’ve just finished reading. I don’t read much fiction, but when I have, I find myself wondering what’s next for the characters I’ve just come to know. Their story can’t be over when the last page says The End, no matter what has happened in the previous few hundred pages. You can get to a point where, if you’re creative, you decide to stop fussing with something and let it be whatever it is at a certain point and I guess then you’re done. But are you really?