Oh, those kooky creative types…

IMG_2345

This could be my New Orleans style coffee talking BUT today I applied for the most wonderful job. At least, I think it’s a job. The call for inquires was so broad that I may have missed something.  Well, either way, the application process was wholly satisfying.

Because of the unstructured application, when I was done and finally hit the “send” button I felt a little like I was sending my baby off into the world. I’m not someone that ever feels that way. Ever. Actually just writing that sentence made me mildly uncomfortable. However, I had the thought that my feelings might be similar to what a writer or artist feels when they mail off a manuscript or reveal their latest piece. Do I hope the intended audience will like what I have to say? Sure. I’d love it to be well received and get my rock star job. More importantly though, I felt good my submission and the exercise of applying in and of itself was valuable. So, does the response I receive it REALLY matter? Nope. I love what I submitted and strangely (and quite surprisingly!) that’s enough. Huh. What?!

As someone living in Los Angeles but not in a “creative” field, I’ve always marveled at how writers here can retain their inner fortitude in the face of so many dead-ends and flat out rejections. I’m consistently impressed by the discipline and ability of friends and family (yes, those writer people are everywhere!) to navigate the competitiveness of the industry. There is vulnerability in creating something-anything- new. Continually creating and putting yourself out there again and again must be…well, hard.

I could not do what these people do. Really. However, this afternoon I think I caught just a tiny glimpse into how they do it. They keep going because they believe in what they do. They believe in their voice and the value of their poem, short story or script. This is a simple concept but as someone in an entirely different field, this is a brand new experience for me.

My sense that the unwavering ability to persevere as an artist/ creative person is because at your core, you know what you are doing is (for you) quality “work” which fuels you intrinsically and that gives the work  inherent value. I love what I submitted today and Ithink ultimately, this is how is has to be. The world likely won’t give you validation, at least not when seeking it or needing it to move forward. I find that kind of thing comes at the most unlikely moments, typically when it is least necessary. Additionally, it was a pleasure to write a few pages for such an unorthodox job application. A pleasure to apply to be part of something meaningful, creative and innovative.

When “work” becomes a relative term I know I’m on the right track. I’ll let you know how it goes. To be continued…

Poem for a Monday

IMG_8090

Kindness

by Naomi Shihab Nye

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.