One of the perks of being a creative is knowing other creatives.
Most of us hide in our day jobs and in our assumed roles. We are behind screens, under fabric and yarn, or deep in our brains, and if we feel bold enough, we tell others what we're about. But when creatives find each other, we become kindred spirits. We revel in the geekery of our craft, we encourage one another, sometimes hold each other accountable, and we share.
We share. That is the best perk of all. When I have someone else's work in my hands, or on the screen, I am so thoroughly humbled. Someone else's work--that is their livelihood, whether or not they make money from it. Made of thought and sweat. And even more importantly--made of their instinct.
Last week I got the best mail, from two creatives. Both I've known a long time, both I've admired for their diligence in practice. It's a greater boon they're from the state I call home, from two places I cherish.
A hard copy manuscript from my mentor. He was actually my junior year American History teacher. I am as much a writer as I am *not* a historian. I run away from non-fiction because it puts me to sleep. (I'm sorry dear NF authors out there! I am!). History books are visual tranquilizers, but I am proud to say I never fell asleep in Jim's class. He knew how to engage us with anecdotes and personal experiences. He turned history into stories and I only realized many years later how he was able to do so: he is a writer himself.
My junior year was a pivotal one. Aside from the tumultuous stuff that happens with first loves, I enlisted in the Army Reserves (there was an op to do so in high school) and he didn't balk like the rest of the world did. I will never forget it.
I smudged out the title up above because I'm not quite sure what his plan was for this manuscript, so I'm tickled to keep it for myself.
The second piece of art I received is this gorgeous, solid, basket Julia made for me.
Nice, right? Made of thick, indestructable yarn, and look what it can hold! These are two hardbacks, and I could have easily fit two more. Perfect for books, and it's going to sit next to my bed, where I do my book swaps (because I always have more than one book going at a time).
Julia and I met in college, and we were co-RA's. That's right--Resident Advisors. Could track down pot and cigarette smoke with one whiff. Program-makers and smile-producers and parent-calmers. You name it, we did it.
We got along so well then, and now I know why. Even if we weren't active creatives back then (we were too busy sowing our oats, y'know?), we had it both inside of us.
These two things, and a sweet manuscript my critique partner sent me last week, have filled me with inspiration. This is why we seek other creatives, to fill the crevices of doubt that sometimes find their way into our own work. Seeing someone else's success, reading triumph in words, and touching the finished product that was once nothing give us that tiny push we sometimes need. And it makes our day that much better.
(p.s...I married a non-fiction loving historian so...it's not all is not lost in our household of children *winks*)