Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Santa's a big fat nothin' without his elves...

Okay, peeps, before I get down and into it, I think you all are in need of an apology.  Sorry for the absence!  There's a lot of plates spinning over my head, and the Blog one nearly stopped and came crashing down.  And that's not fair!  So, we're up and running again.  I'm not going to promise a schedule of regular entries for the holiday season - I mean, let's be serious - but I'm going to try to get back on the horse for weekly entries.

Whew!  Okay, all that grovelling out of the way, now on to the FUN!

Let's talk about elves and how much more important they are than big ol' Santy.  There's a lot of metaphors I could use, but it IS officially december now, so none are quite as fitting.  There are very few things one can do in this world without help.  I'm thinking going to the bathroom and cleaning lint from your toes are some of the only examples.  Being a speech pathologist or an author (or Santa!) do not make that list.

I heard an inspiring interview with one of my fav singer songwriters, Feist, today.  In it, she was discussing her new film Look at What the Light Did Now about the making of her latest album Reminder.  I haven't seen the film, but from the interview I gathered it won't be your typical rockumentary.  The main focus of the film is showing that Feist is only one piece of a much larger endeavor.  She, amazingly humble as always, discusses how most of her ideas came from creative "conversations" with friends and peers, and she highlights all of the other amazing artists (like photographers, shadow puppeteers, other musicians, visual artists, and film artists) without whom her whole career would not be possible.  At one point, the interviewer asked her if she ever feels guilty that she is in the limelight, while many of the people who've been instrumental in helping her still go largely unrecognized.

I loved her response.  She laughed and said, "Why do you think I'm making this movie!?"  Then, went on to say how she wants to movie to be more about the people around her and the whole creative cooperative process rather than about her.

It made me think a lot about my own creative process with writing.  I mean, we know the obvious helpers like agents, marketers, publishers, editors, etc, but what about the people nearer and dearer to the process?  I mean all of those (incredibly important!) people I just mention usually come into play AFTER the process is almost done.  I don't know about you guys, but I can't write in a vacuum, and when I do, the ideas are much less articulated.  I have a crit partner (Shout out!) who I bounce ideas off of constantly.  Even before writing a section, I might fire off an email saying "does this make sense?" or "what would you say to this?"

And what about people who aren't even in the field?  My boyfriend and I now have two detailed outlines of novels I'll get on after I finish Drowning.  Both came about as a result of long road trips where we got into in depth conversations about outlandish topics.  (The latest formulated itself after a 3 hour conversation on the Theory of Relativity we had while driving across the Mojave Desert)  These ideas never would have been discovered if I didn't share my creativity and my writing process with others.

I guess what I'm trying to get at is not to forget the elves.  Don't shut out others' creativity at the expense of your own, because look at the beauty that can be created by a collaboration!

Who do you guys let in your creative process?  Who are your elves?

1 comment:

  1. Great post, and not just because of the shout-out and the fact that I love Feist :-)

    I think I would have abandoned my serious novel writing aspirations a long time ago if it hadn't been for my elves. Because honestly, I find the act of writing quite painful. If I wasn't actually able to share my ideas, or share the act of having written with somebody who cares, then a lot of the fun would be gone for me! Whenever I'm in a rut, bouncing an idea off of you never fails to get me going again, so thanks for that!! Ditto to all the other people who likely feel like they're living in 1836 London half the time :-)

    As time goes on, I'm starting to let more and more people in. I used to keep the writing thing quite hush hush...but *most* people actually respond really positively, and ask all sorts of questions about writing in general that get me thinking! (As long as they don't ask the dreaded 'so what's your book about?' then I'm happy :-))


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