Jay Gilligan Likes Russian Balls
I was at a juggling festival several years ago and my friend Jay Gilligan was there. He had been given a set of Russian circus juggling balls….a thin-walled, hollow plastic ball filled with a small amount of sand. Not enough to make the ball particularly heavy or solid, but just enough to keep it from rolling when they hit. It gives them a really peculiar feel to juggle, as they sort of “thud” in your hand, but with a soft whooshing sound. Super weird.
So I was hanging out with Jay and watching him work out this routine that was specific to those balls. Lots of really nifty body placement stuff, the sort of thing you would expect from Jay. Odd, off-kilter, but still graceful and interesting. After watching him for a few minutes I spoke:
“Dude, that’s a really nice routine.”
“Oh, thanks. I had these balls, and had to do something with them.”
“So you dig ’em?”
“Honestly? No. Not at all. In fact, I think I might hate them. They’re terrible. But I had to do something with them.”
Creativity is work. It’s not a bolt of inspiration that always strikes often enough to make you interesting at parties…it’s taking everything that comes your way and grinding it down to it’s essentials to see if there’s something worthwhile hiding inside. It’s checking out everything, no matter if you like it or not, because there may be something useful hiding in there. It’s often very much not fun, and most days it feels like impossible work.
But that’s what we have to do, you see. We’re compelled to be this way.
Every time I hang out with Jay, I’m reminded of this. It’s a valuable lesson to have taught to you often. Jay’s a good guy, a hard worker, and a brilliant juggler.
But he doesn’t like russian balls.
Song is “With The Fishes” by Die Hoffnung. They appear courtesy of No Idea Records.
Yo-yo used is the Velocity by YoYo Factory.