As a sort of light-hearted joke on the subject of nostalgia, I recently suggested we bring back marauding hordes, in a Facebook post. You know – for old time’s sake. The reaction of my friends to this suggestion both amused and surprised me. They were all up for it! Mad for it, in fact.
I’m sure they were all speaking in jest, of course, but it got me thinking about getting artistic projects done by marauding your way through them. Think about what must be in the mind of the marauder. In spite of any random obstacle they may encounter, some of which they can’t even imagine before they set out, they have set their mind on conquering all that comes before them, against whatever odds, no matter what. It’s a do or die approach and there is no turning back. Death or glory!
When you think about it, that’s a pretty good way to approach the completion of your painting, your album, your novel, your sculpture, your software application – whatever long-lived project you might be working on. Just maraud! Pillage, lay waste to obstacles and shout with a blood curdling yelp, as you go. Be fearless. Take no prisoners. Be all conquering. Be in command. Set the agenda. Do it your own way. Do it with speed and limited forethought. Do it with determination and a lust for the plunder that awaits. Do it because you can.
The implication, of course, is that you have the numbers, a fast steed, the right weapons and a strategy that catches your opponents off guard (whatever you define as your opponent). You have a good chance of success because you’re ready, but more importantly, because you’re up for it. You want the win. You want all that the win will bring you. You have a clear and tangible image, in your mind, of how much better life will be for you, after the marauding, and you are determined to get to that point.
So next time you struggle with procrastination or think you can’t possibly complete the project you have before you, go into “marauding horde” mode. Think about a rapid, sudden, energetic, determined, no-holds-barred campaign in which you are victorious over whatever lays ahead. If you can do it together, with like minded people that share the same goal, so much the better. Don’t think too much about it, just ride forth. Adjust your tactics, as you encounter your enemies. Dispatch those enemies with contempt and in short order. Never have a doubt about your ability to overcome anything. Don’t hang around. Get on with it. Don’t let anybody catch up to you. There is more territory to conquer.
There may be something to be said for this approach, when you feel disenfranchised or oppressed. Form your horde and maraud. Think how successful a method of political change this turned out to be for Genghis. It might not have been pretty, but it was unarguably effective. If I were at the top of any power structure that seems smug, safe and secure in its tenure, I would fear hordes. Marauding works. At some point, large populations realise that they have had enough, have nothing to lose and are going to take back what is rightfully theirs, whatever it takes. Fear is all that keeps us from change.
So marauding is a really interesting method and way of thinking. It’s not a bad way at looking at completing things, is it? Especially art.