When you dare to dream a dream, it’s yours. You can sculpt it. Paint it. Sing it. Write it. Share it.
But it’s still yours.
No one can pick up where you left off because the dream is in your bones. No one else’s.
I love collaborating. I love sharing ideas, riffing off other people, taking an idea and making it better. Together.
People often tell me I should do stand-up. And, maybe I should. But, I don’t love being the center of attention. I love being the co-center of attention. I love the back-and-forth of wit and humor, taking a joke too far, one-upping for the sake of fun. Not competition or accolades. Pure fun.
I wish all creating could happen in this environment. In relationship. The ebb and flow of imagination. The exchange of ideas. The joy of the journey.
And, amazingly, a lot of creative endeavors can happen this way.
But, some can’t.
Or, at least, some parts can’t.
The more I create, the more I am faced with the reality that when an idea is birthed from deep inside me, no one else can “do it for me”.
That doesn’t mean no one else can speak into the creative process. But, I am coming to believe that no one else can take my vision and manifest it into reality.
Gosh, I wish they could.
I wrote a poem several months ago. I woke up at 3:30 in the morning with the beginning of the poem on the tip of my consciousness. It was so strong, I knew I had to get out of bed and capture what I could.
Over the course of the next several weeks, I continued to work on the poem. Sometimes the inspiration came, again, in the middle of the night, but, thankfully, some occurred during daylight hours as well.
I had a sense of the poem in my bones. The way I felt. The way I wanted the reader to feel. The message to be conveyed. The rhythm of the words. The form. Structure.
But, as I kept working, I felt a little scared.
What if people didn’t get it? Didn’t like it? What if I didn’t know how to end it? How to order it?
I wanted to hand it over to someone else to finish. To polish. To absorb the pressure of the outcome. Or at least to share it.
I did share the poem with a few people. Ultimately, ten different friends.
At first, I was hoping someone could fix whatever might be broken or tell me how to finish it or that it was finished.
In time, I realized no one could know if it was finished but me.
I shared it with ten friends because I wanted to make sure a wide variety of people felt seen in the poem. Not just people who are wired like me.
I got a variety of responses. Some were generally encouraging. Some more specific in noting where they saw themselves in the poem. A couple of friends who know me well gave me very detailed feedback. Some in the form of questions. Some in the form of pushback on how something read with curiosity around if what they interpreted was what I meant. And one noting what she saw missing.
Even with this amazing and helpful feedback, the poem was mine to complete. I had to decide if I agreed with the suggestions. I had to decide if I was okay with the ambiguity around interpretation or if I wanted to rewrite something in order to provide clarity. I had to decide if I wanted to fill in the content my friend deemed was missing. Did I agree that it was missing? Or was that something that could be included if it was her poem but didn’t belong in mine?
At the end of the day, no one else could place the final period on my poem. I had to either come to a place where I felt it was complete or decide I was finished writing and tweaking.
Suggestions and feedback are helpful. Because the origin of the poem is in my bones, once the feedback enters my body through my eyes, the core of my being lets me know if the suggestion “fits” or not. It’s often not decided on a conscious level. I feel it.
It is risky to create. Often, I have no idea where I’m going. I find my way in the midst of the journey. I start with an idea, a spark, a pull, and only in the creating do I figure out what I’m actually saying, where I’m actually going.
When I get lost along the way, or just scared that I’m lost, I wish I could hand my dreams over to someone else and have them lead me home. But home is inside me. Only I can navigate my way through the unknown and ultimately find my way.