Friday, November 18, 2016

Creative Mornings Recap: Charles Carmody used fantasy to create a career

Fantasy Fridays

Posted by Connelly Hardaway on Fri, Nov 18, 2016 at 11:20 AM

click to enlarge Carmody (far left) speaks at Friday's Creative Mornings talk at Rutledge Cab Company. - CONNELLY HARDAWAY
  • Connelly Hardaway
  • Carmody (far left) speaks at Friday's Creative Mornings talk at Rutledge Cab Company.
We've all had a rough couple of weeks. Heck, just this morning I lost my debit card, nearly ran out of gas due to said lost debit card, and yelled angrily out the window at a stranger. Sorry, guy. But then I took a deep breath and walked into Charles Carmody's Creative Mornings (CMCHS) talk. And he reminded me what's really important in life: fantasy.

Fantasy is a big concept encompassing even bigger ideas, like magic, the infinite, the impossible, etc. Carmody started his talk by playing a song, "We Can Be Heroes," a David Bowie tune covered by Peter Gabriel on the Stranger Things soundtrack. (If you haven't watched the Netflix hit show yet, might I recommend it as a great means of escape, if only for eight episodes).

Carmody says that he first discovered fantasy in high school, when music and books helped him escape from the small tragedies of, well, being a teenager. He quoted Ursula K. Le Guin, author of fantasy and science fiction novels, who believed that fantasy can be used to address serious issues, and that resistance and change often begin in art.

In high school Carmody says that he used fantasy to "create a better world" for himself. He continued to create, forming a band — Introducing Fish Taco — that played at Millennium Music in downtown Charleston, to large crowds of high school aged fans. "And we would make songs," says Carmody of his shows at Millennium. "About dragons and ninjas ... just weird stuff."

click to enlarge JONATHAN BONCEK FILE
  • Jonathan Boncek file
Carmody never stopped creating, from the stage he built at his Spring Street house in college, to the parties he held, where he invited every person he knew, from all walks of life. "I love gathering people in a room," he says. That passion turned into a career: Carmody now gathers thousands of people in the Charleston Music Hall every year as its director.

Just last week the Music Hall hosted a number of YALLFest events, hosting thousands of kids. "To see the passion kids have for reading — reading's still a thing! Most of the books are about fantasy. There is hope. We're gonna be fine," said Carmody.

Fantasy, essentially, can be used as a means of escape. But it can also be used as spark or a story — something that shows you what is right and good in the world, and maybe even offers you the tools to create your own story.

He ended his talk with a Patti Smith quote, one that I think we should all soak in right about now.

"Build a good name. Keep your name clean. Don’t make compromises. Don’t worry about making a bunch of money or being successful. Be concerned with doing good work. And make the right choices and protect your work. And if you can build a good name, eventually that name will be its own currency.”

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