Sitting on a comfy black leather sofa in the little cove of
a trendy coffee house, I studied the faces of my new acquaintances. They were nice people, very vocal and self-assured,
eager to share their writing talent with the group, keen on publishing their creative
words for the entire world to feast upon.
I sat with my trusty laptop providing a barrier between me
and the unknown. My trusty Dell placed a familiar friendly warmth between my own
insecurity and their cool confidence. I listened. They laughed. I laughed on the inside.
They talked about their lives…an ex-marriage that had been
the catalyst for fifteen ‘happily single’ years; one marriage that had started
out with a wild, adventurous honeymoon and settled into a harmonious sharing of
life’s enormous responsibilities; and another marriage that had produced a
whole lot of children, with a caring spouse at home tending them all, perhaps with
the hope of a take-home coffee cup arriving later to smooth the edges of
another long day. I failed to mention my
own happy path down the road of matrimony, 30 years and going strong. Nor did I
mention my own two college sons still living at home. No, I listened. And I began to laugh on the outside. My laptop slid off to the empty cushion next
to me, and there was less of a barrier between me and these new faces.
Still, I cringed when it was time for my critique to
begin. I’m sure the drawing in of my jaw
and the tightening of my facial muscles was visible, though I tried to hide it with
a smile. What started out as fairly
painful, ended up being a joyous exercise in self-examination. Having your creativity inspected under a
microscope is akin to stepping on a scale and having your weight announced to
an entire mall full of people. Extremely skinny people might not understand
that. Extroverts may not understand it
either. But a person’s creativity comes from
the soul; it is a delicate, precious thing that should be nurtured and
protected. Inspiration should not be
contained, hidden, or stunted, and yet in releasing it, that is precisely when it becomes
vulnerable. Creativity, in all forms,
should compel the creator to laugh wholeheartedly for all to witness, because it
is a joyful thing! And once that joy
exists, the vulnerability dissipates. I wish the process was simple and
uncomplicated, but for me it is a tedious route.
I recently opened a fortune cookie to find this message: Talents that are not shared are not talents. I keep that little slip of paper tucked in
the pocket of my Nook. It is there to
remind me that I must allow myself to be vulnerable and open. It is there to remind me that great joy
I look forward to honing my critiquing skills, so that I may
offer more input…and laughter…at the next gathering. Live, Laugh, Write… Drink Chi!