I’m not a creative person. Now typing that “out loud” might elicit some “of course you ares”, and that’s super sweet, but I’m ok with it. I promise no one is going to compel you into including that in my eulogy. The truth is my brain is simply not wired that way or perhaps it’s that my muse is on a smoke break, who really ever knows. (I would end that with a question mark, but it’s more rhetorical (unless of course you know what became of my muse, then do tell.)) I’m left brained. Although, judging by my grades from school, it clearly does not convey any special adeptness in it’s left brainy specialties. (Why left brain? WHY?!? It’s just theoretical mathematics. Get that X girl, get it!)
Now, that doesn’t stop me from dabbling. For example, I can draw some of the most adorable dust bunnies with these overly-large, super-solicitous eyes (if you anthropomorphize dust bunnies, you don’t have to sweep them up, because it’s like declaring war on an endangered (endangered because I just typed it) species – this is fact). Granted, I’m more likely to doodle a series of hash marks or cubes, but that’s beside the point. When inspired, I’m a dust bunny drawing pro. I’ve tried improv (you remember that brief foray into personal humiliation – the one where all of my classmates were approached to move forward and I was applauded for making regular payments – my pro skill) and then I tried sketch writing (where my teacher actually couldn’t remember my name after 8 months and everyone else was encouraged to go forward with sketch shows and videos). Now some of this stems from me being a bit odd and squirrelly, but some of it is just genuinely me not being particularly good at it and people recognizing that, (which is always a tad awkward). However, I don’t let my awfulness stop me from trying! Go me! I’m content to spread my badness. Make my videos. Take photographs. Run up on a stage where they’ve invited two people to come up and then realizing a quick game of “short straw” is going on in the crowd before I get a partner. Write my blog and ultimately just revel in my creative mediocrity. Go Meh-ness!
But here’s the rub. (No, I haven’t been drinking.) Anyway… the rub! Not everything I see others produce is always great art either, but that whole “treat your friends the way they want to be treated” thing usually compels me to offer them encouragement. That’s especially true if they’re trying something new or challenging. If asked I offer up my “what if’s,” but mostly I tend to say “great job!” I make an effort to acknowledge what people are sharing and recognize that a piece of their soul lives is in their art. Apparently, “wow, that’s right shit!” is discouraging to some.
So, last week I did something that was hard for me and then I displayed it for a small world and got crickets in return, with a couple of exceptions. My soul laid a bit bare and the cool (sarcasm) sound of absolutely nothing. By comparison, I told Facebook I forgot my breakfast and immediately got 22 likes. Maybe the takeaway is that this is where my real strength lies – not in creativity but my slow, public descent into dementia. Great. My dreams realized.
Where we stand at this moment – I’m done. I’m done applauding. I’m done helping. I’m done with “the favor”. I’m done encouraging. That thing my friend did better meet MOMA standards. If they wouldn’t display it, then don’t think I want to see it as a .jpg in an email attachment. If it’s not on “Funny or Die;” it’s clearly not worth viewing. If it isn’t published; it’s not worth reading. If critics aren’t aware of it, and there’s not a blurb stating “Bold!” then you’re absolutely wasting my time.
Ok fine, I suppose that won’t actually be the case, but it really feels kind of liberating and also somewhat compound sentence-y. I made many words!
Maybe I’ll offer some advice instead of declaratives. If you have friends who have chosen to share with you – whether it’s something completely new to them or it’s old hat, then take a moment to really look, listen and acknowledge. That’s your one job as a friend; it’s actually your most important job. I guarantee they’ll reciprocate.
To my friends who always take those moments – thank you!
Who emptied the liquor cabinet?
People should listen and utilize your advice. It’s a world where everyone is a winner and everyone demands to be told so with glowing smiles and adoration – yet most feel no need to return the favor to others. So odd. Just take one minute and recognize the effort. Find some phrase to use on one specific part you liked. Demonstrate you paid attention. Then ask a question, like where are you planning to go with this next?…offer something positive to improve – without laughing or cutting down the effort. We need to encourage each other – not suck all the praise in and leave.
It’s just social manners…people used to have those…and while some cried “fake”, life was so much more pleasant. People happier, too?
When I wrote that i had a moment of “are you having a millennial moment of needing applause” and had to pause before I hit that Post button. While I acknowledged that I’d love a gold star for breathing, in this case I just needed one of the gang of folks to just say “hey, I saw that” since it was potentially a revenue earning thing. When I heard nothing and combined that with the fact I was doing something brand new, my go-to “positive” thought was, “wow, you really must have embarrassed yourself – what were you thinking – get under that rock, run, don’t walk”. Of course, the end result of me making a blog entry is I ended up shaming people into responding. I’m a tad embarrassed, but not enough to back down since I really needed the feedback. And I’m still a bit frustrated that I’m always the first to say “hey, got it – really liked that blue sky – nicely done” (and I also completely own and acknowledge that I’m occasionally a big baby). Thank you for reading my whining.
On Mon, Jan 19, 2015 at 5:47 PM, The Big Blue Mess wrote: