Campus comment: the concept of a horse

Andrew Bird, one of my favorite artists and a guy from Illinois who can play the violin a few different ways, writes in his song “Case in Point,” “you know, you can’t ride the concept of a horse, but still I try.”

I enjoy the visualization this metaphor subtly provides, and I’ve begun to draw parallels within my own life.

Many times I find myself visualizing situations, goals being accomplished or dreams coming to reality, while not immediately pushing towards becoming tangible.

This is a repetitive and costly mistake, and although it sounds like procrastination, it’s really not. It’s more of an inability, hesitance or possibly even fear of taking something from my own mind and making it concrete.

For some reason, many of us get cold feet when it comes to our thoughts and ideas. That’s why I’ve focused on writing more of them down, and with better detail. Because the longer an idea lingers, the further it drifts from actualization.

Hopefully the feeling you should be documenting, your next life-changing event that occurs, conflicting thoughts you have, or fascinating, curious ideas popping into your head from time to time, nags at you until something is done about it.

The decision to be more deliberate with my ideas and experiences has brought some personal changes to my life. For example, the first time I traveled outside of the country, I had the intention of keeping a detailed journal of everything we did. However, when I got there, in the moment, I hardly wrote anything.

Roughly two years later, when I studied abroad, I started off being by myself for two weeks. My brown leather journal became my primary source of expression, and eventually, a detailed account of my favorite memories.

And for whatever reason, even experiences that I might have considered insignificant at first, seem more real now that they are written down.

I’ve tried to do the same since I’ve been back home, even with ideas, poetry and thoughts. Life is your story and it should be documented. You can’t ride the concept of a horse, no matter how long you try.

Empty your mind. Put it down on paper. A concept can be formed into something concrete, and you will benefit from it as long as it’s important to you.