I don’t always share in the community, but I always always participate in our topic. At the professional level, I’m like a producer—behind the scenes and promoting the success of others, and also seeing the next stone we jump to together. At the personal level, as a community member, I’m a lurker! It’s funny to have gained this sudden understanding about myself. It’s the paradox about these community projects for me: when it comes to my own personal growth, I am who I have always been, the introvert, the observer, and the internaliser. But I am also growing more into owning who I really am these days – the writer. That part of me has been suppressed by my lifestyle and interests for the past 20 years, and it has almost singularly been the Artist Date that has kept it alive and well in my back pocket. I love this practice.
You may already know about my shameless obsession with rock stars on YouTube. Interviews with the musicians I love are like a Tony Robbin’s seminar to me. I get so much information in those interviews about how to take my projects forward. To me, the members of the communities are like my bandmates—sometimes I play the guitar, sometimes I sing, and sometimes I play the piano—so this concept really resonates. Music videos are like the smoke breaks I used to take when I was working on the projects or writing topics and posts. The song rolls around in my head like a craving, and when I get stuck for the next word or I need to switch gears, I watch the video and dance around.
Appropriately, my fave song these days is “Smoke Baby” by Hawksely Workman.
Lately, I’ve been listening to this song in the mornings, much like a meditation, because it captures my alter ego perfectly: “Cocaine and Montreal and back out on the plane, Baby.” I sometimes think if I had actually been able to do drugs, there would have been no stopping me and Montreal, all the way to New York on the back of some hyphenated serpent. Hopped up on Christmas lights. Something like that. When I listen to that song, that part of me is completely satisfied, and I can move towards what my writer-self will grow into over the next few years.
My real full-body Artist Date this week though, was on Friday night. I cheated a little because I knew the topic, and yet I was still doing last week’s “one thing that scares me.” I knew there was a concert happening, but I didn’t have a pal because it was a last-minute local find (thanks Spotify…it tells you concert info now!). I was scared to go to the concert alone—frankly because it was a really small venue and I couldn’t disappear into a stadium. I was worried I would have to sit at a table with strangers and be social. Then, ding! It’s Artist Date week, and suddenly it was a no-brainer.
For me, thoughts of new experiences and feeding my creativity trumps my fear of the unknown every time. I bought a ticket and decided I would be an explorer at the concert. I’m very glad I did. There were fewer than 200 people at this show, and the piano player cut left around the crowd for the encore, bumping me. He’s just a normal guy who gets nervous, too! I was lucky to be there, and especially in that specific frame of mind.
It’s impossible to put into writing all that I learned at the concert on Friday. Parts of the crowd were like the last 25 years of my life flashing before me. There are no drugs quite like Intention, and I intended for the evening to bring me what I needed to know for the next part of my journey in my career and in my life. I intended for it to distill itself into one or two clear threads or ideas, like a map to the next town.
This is what I discovered:
These writing communities are public for me, and when I am part of a band, it’s easy. I don’t have to be the centre of attention or get on stage to perform. My job is to use my writing to facilitate and promote other people’s work. That makes me feel amazing. The sticking point lately has been what to do as they become more public. I’m getting compliments for my writing, and I’m feeling my oats about sharing my creative work. What happens when that happens? I’ll have to get on stage and I will have no privacy. But that’s not even true. This is the place where rock stars and writers diverge. Writers put the book on the stage, and let it do the singing. And when I am in a crowd, my life will still be blissfully private and creative. I will still get to be me and a writer at the same time.
That’s clarity of purpose.
Photo Credit: fanart.tv