Saturday, June 29, 2013

We, the creatives

 (OYAN Summer Workshop 2013)

We, the creatives.
Writers, artists, musicians, filmmakers, costumers, actors, storytellers.

Gathered together by a curriculum that promised to teach us how to write a novel.  We couldn't have imagined this, that it would do so much more than teach us craft.  No one could have plotted out the story of OYAN, detailed the way it would explode like fireworks and become so much more than a couple of DVDs and a workbook.

No one could have anticipated Rivendell; Bigger on the Inside; Ordinary Heroes.

We learned, through OYAN, to tell good stories, deep stories, truth-and-reality stories, honest stories.  We learned to open our hearts onto pages, let the complex beauty and tragedy of human souls rush like a waterfall into our work.  We learned to treat our stories with respect, and we learned to love them.  We learned that our stories mattered.

And we learned this together.  We're still learning

So when we gathered in Olathe, Kansas this past week to fuel our creativity, it made sense that all of the things we learned were heightened.   One flame alone in a dark room is still bright, but bring a hundred other candles nearby, and the room will glow.
"Though the embers are new/ whatever you do/ Please don't let the fire die."  -Owl City, "Embers"
I hope that everyone at the Workshop felt as I did when they went home.  Burdened by passion but also excited by it.  Eager to create and to have faith in our calling.   Soul-excited for the fire that is burning, even though it's new and sometimes it sputters.

We, the creatives.

It's easy to forget that our work is worth it when we're hunched over laptops in our respective homes, fighting with unruly characters and praying over gritty themes.   Creating, regardless of what you create, is an act that doesn't come easily and isn't often glamorous.  Between the glory moments of a perfect sentence or a finished project there are dozens of days when you'd prefer to be a plumber than a creative.

Admit it, it's true. Sometimes you think your work isn't worth the effort. Sometimes you need a spark outside of yourself to remind you of the validity of your art.

So when two hundred + candles come together, the sparks start flying, swirling, and the energy makes each ember brighter, stronger, hotter.

That's the OYAN Workshop.  That's why I came home excited about creating.  My novel, poetry, visual arts, blog posts, personality studies.  I've felt my creative soul more alive in the past week than it has been in the past six months.

But regardless of whether you were at the Workshop, if you are a creator in any sense, know these two things;

One, creating is worth it, because God is a creator, and in creating, you have the opportunity to reflect Him.

Two, create in community.  Find the place where your passions intersect with someone else's, whether that be a single friend or an internet community or a drama society or a writing curriculum. Find the people who make you want to create.  Find the people you can stay up till three am talking about theme with, or the people who will read your entire first draft and not tell you your writing stinks.  Find a place where your creativeness is valued.  Find a place that nurses your embers till they become red hot flames that won't die.

I've found my place.  It's an internet forum, and a Facebook group, and conversations about personality type and plot vs character and monkey stroodles.  It's a week in Olathe, and it's full of fresh embers, and it's my Rivendell, and it's home.

"So go out there, and make a world!" -John Green.