The Daily Rambling Artist: This is a Call: Creative Resilience

The Daily Rambling Artist: This is a Call: Creative Resilience

During high school, I did have the luxury of having a car. This meant that I often found myself waiting until 6 pm or later for my ride home. To fill that time, I decided to immerse myself in as many after-school clubs as possible. One of these clubs was the Key Club, where we were tasked with completing 60 hours of community service throughout the year.

One day, there was a speech tournament, and I volunteered to assist. I can't quite recall the specifics of what I was doing in the hallway, perhaps guarding a door, but I was certain that my role was of great significance. I could feel it.

At that moment, my friend Jon had to leave early because his ride had arrived. I said, "Later, Dude," and went back to my guarding. I heard the sound of running footsteps before I saw Jon rushing back down the hall, visibly out of breath when he finally reached me. "Kurt Cobain died," he said. He’d heard it on the radio when he got into his dad’s car. This was, of course, a time before social media and iPhones. We sat there in stunned silence, and then he ran back to his ride.

Jon and I were seemingly the only ones in our school profoundly affected by this tragic event. Our friendship was largely built on a shared passion for music, bands, and random musings, which made the news all the more devastating. We both loved watching and reading music interviews, finding inspiration in the fact that these musicians were living their creative dreams. We'd seen Nirvana live, and we were excited to see them again that summer.

The news of Kurt Cobain's death was unsettling for many reasons, but one of them being because it shattered the notion that achieving one's dreams guaranteed a perfect life. It was a heavy concept to process at just 17 years old, and as I write about it, it remains a weighty thought to process—especially for someone who is creatively inclined.

With time, the Foo Fighters emerged on the music scene, and both Jon and I were immediately drawn to them. When they announced a tour stop in our town, we shelled out our 16 bucks for our tickets and stood in line. I’d heard the album and liked it, but I don’t think that’s why I was there.

I was still in mourning, and the desire to see Dave Grohl's face and Pat Smear's was overpowering. Part of what we had lost was present in that room, but what mattered most to me was that they were still there, creating. As the music erupted, chaos ensued, and the crowd's energy was intense. We expressed our emotions through raw aggression, yet beneath it all, a sense of happiness lingered. I’ve never been in a pit where so many people were smiling so much. It led me to believe that others there, like me, like us, were there for the same reason: to heal and persevere. 

-Sergio Santos