Having cancer sucks, but it has done a couple of things for me. First, it’s made me think differently about life, death, and how I want to live out the rest of my time. Second, it’s made me more creative.

Here’s the deal. When we understand that our time is limited, we begin to take more chances. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not jumping off cliffs and racing drag cars, but I’m willing to do some things I’d have thought twice about in the past.

I’m not being foolish with my life or my money, but I might decide to buy that new car or take that long trip. And why wouldn’t I? Time is of the essence. I have blood cancer. People can live with polycythemia vera for 20-30 years or longer, but that’s not a guarantee.

Taking chances and doing things without second thoughts also pours into my creative work. Although I’d started experimenting with electronic music shortly before I was diagnosed with cancer, I’ve taken it way further than I’d have ever thought.

At first, there were certain styles of electronic music I thought I’d never produce. Most recently, I’ve started creating a heavier and darker sound under the alias, A Cult of Lies. I used to draw the line at creating music that felt too noisy or too dark, but why? Because I was conditioned to think dark and noisy music is bad, even evil.

Since being diagnosed with cancer, I have rethought that stance. Music is music. It’s a combination of notes and sounds, nothing more or less. My cancer diagnosis has led me to understand that we shouldn’t fear evil, but rather we should embrace life. That includes a willingness to take more chances, including creative ones.

You don’t become more creative by following rules and living in fear. You become more creative by going deeper. Cancer has given me a little push. – dse

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Author: Dan Steven Erickson

Dan Steven Erickson is a great undiscovered American songwriter.