What to Do with Trophies

March 16, 2012

Oh Creative One! Every year on American Idol, it is the same thing. A singer is told that he/she has the “best voice” yet, or heard today or ever.  Early on, if you can hit a note and wear deodorant and pass for sane, then you are deemed to have a great voice and are slathered with compliments. I have been in a similar position. When someone likes my writing, a part of me is relieved and relaxed and thrilled. It feels  simply good to hear that someone else sees why you like what you do. Then, later on in the competition, the contestant falters. He/she fails to get the votes or hit the notes. What then? Where do the contestants go?  How abandoned the contestant must feel. How let-down the contestant must feel. Once told he/she was amazing and then told that he/she failed and is no longer the “best voice” yet, today, ever….

Adored Creative One! I’ve got a task for you. When you receive these compliments, I want you to put them on a shelf in your heart as if they were trophies. I want you to keep them as shiny markers of a moment in time. View these compliments as markers of the time when your talent and your hard work collided with another’s recognition. Put them on that shelf in your heart. Look at them now and then. Buff them up and let them sparkle. But do not take them with you when you walk out your door. They will become too heavy to carry and cumbersome if you take them all. What’s more, what will you do when you fail? Carry that with you too? No, these compliments and failures are simply markers in time. Do not let them get in the way of your gifts. Now, get back to work.



November 22, 2010

Oh Creative One, you know I’m a fan of shows like American Idol and the X Factor. I love it when someone who is groaningly bad is actually told to focus his energy elsewhere. As Simon Cowell says, “You should never sing in public again.” Though, I find that I am worried about my own creative work in similar way. Perhaps if there were a contest for writers, I would be groaningly bad. Perhaps I shouldn’t even dream for a career where I am at least reasonably paid for the work I love to do. But then, I think of my husband who runs 15 miles every two weeks or so. He is no marathon runner. He isn’t fast. He still has a gut from sitting at a desk or an airplane most of waking hours. But it keeps all of him healthier if he runs. A few miles here, a few more miles there, and 15 or more when he can.

Aware Creative One! Respect and practice your creative work for the simple fact that it is a necessary part of keeping the whole of you well and fit. When you can, how you can, for however long you can. I’m glad you’re here even if you are groaningly bad.


March 12, 2010

Oh Creative One! You all know I’m an American Idol fan. But here’s what I don’t like. What I don’t like is that you don’t ever see what happens to these artists that don’t make it. The goal is shiny and big. But I find that the most inspiring artists are the ones that have a daily life with less bling.

Inspiring Creative One, what we don’t see is surgeon who is an amazing photographer, or the mum who tumbles words like small ocean stones, or the garbage man who plays a mean fiddle on Tuesdays at the pub. I am here to tell you that I see you and I’m so glad you’re here. Have a great weekend.

More Mythical Creatures

February 25, 2010

Oh Creative One! I am an American Idol fan. I’m not a “reality tv” fan, but I am an American Idol/ X factor fan. The theme this week was “defining moment.” Like “starving artists,” I also find “defining moments” unrealistic. If you listen to these guys, there is so very much practice that goes into defining moments. And, what’s more, these “moments” often do not fully define the artist. No heavens open. Money does not rain down on them. It’s a bit like mistaking a wedding for a marriage.

Patient Creative One, keep at it. Don’t let society’s belief in fleeting and ill-defined “defining moments” rule your creative life. You are here for a reason. You must practice. You must wake every day and choose to respect the artist that you are.