Get Back: Study in the Creative Process : Pt 2

Early Beatles. United Press International, photographer unknown, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

read part 1

Most of the film is the four Beatles facing each other with their instruments. It was a constant feedback loop, in real-time. When Paul doesn’t like how Ringo fills a gap, he says so, and the change is immediate. Same with the words; John or Paul pull Mal (their longtime road manager) over and they constantly re-work the lyrics. Contrast this with how I have always experienced feedback. At work, feedback is given (on code, on projects, on presentations) after a submission; the opposite of real-time. Same with writing; I struggle to find avenues for real, helpful feedback, and when I do, it is weeks or months after its creation. I wonder if workshops or retreats are the natural equivalent… part of the experience is writing something and presenting it the same day. Curious about how tightening that loop effects the work. Also, how much of the magic here is because of their physical proximity? Hard to envision this level of collaboration and feedback, and camaraderie happening over Zoom.

If the Beatles weren’t working on new songs, they filled time by playing covers. I can’t find any references to support this, but assumedly most of the covers were songs they played in Hamburg. One of them would rip into a tune and the other three would follow. It looks like they’re just having fun or blowing off steam, but it’s practice disguised as play. The musicianship of the band is stunning, honed from literally years of playing as a bar band in Hamburg as teens. See the 10,000 hour rule. And they never (at least not as edited) warm up with scales or anything else. They use these songs to unwind and practice playing as a band.

As usual, I’m looking for takeaways. The biggest is the importance of collaborators and peers to give honest and timely feedback. Another is to embrace obstacles, rather than looking at them as blockers. Should my inability to get past traditional gatekeepers truly stop me from publishing my work? Or do I need to figure out ways to get around this restriction. Interesting. And maybe the biggest takeaway is the obvious and incredible magic of tea and marmalade to the creative process.

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