In Season Seven of Creative Lift, our theme is Living the Artful Life. Today’s episode is titled, You’ve Already Started.
It’s been a while since we last published a season of Creative Lift, partially because I’ve been living my own version of the artful life in these past few months. In January, I dove into a new challenge, stepping in as the Interim Executive Director at Portola Valley Theatre Conservatory. When the opportunity first presented itself, I was surprised by the way I immediately leaned in, feeling drawn toward a wholehearted “yes!” Given that I also wear a number of other hats professionally and creatively, it didn’t seem to make sense to add more to my plate.
But that’s the thing about an artful life—it’s surprising and unpredictable. An artful life colors outside the lines of expectations. And when you’re living the artful life, you find that the support you need shows up in serendipitous ways.
I’m sure I’ll tell you more of this unfolding story at some point, of what it has meant to play an interim role, and what I have learned from my experience. For now, I’ll share one lesson I’ve learned with regard to the artful life.
Stepping into new creative territory may require engaging with a different set of circumstances and people. For me, familiar challenges I’d faced for years at Society of Young Inklings presented themselves as infinitely more solvable when seen through the lens of a fresh organization. Questions people had asked me that had seemed beside the point came into focus as essential. I realized I needed to answer these core questions for the theatre and then turn right around and answer them for SYI. Also, the additional perspective and expertise of this new group of people helped me erase my fear and self-doubt. Issues that seemed like personal shortcomings revealed themselves to be business as usual.
There’s a myth about “real” artists, that they are lone geniuses. My experience is that the further I isolate myself, the more challenging it becomes to dream up courageous solutions and innovative work. That said, if we chose to engage in interesting, eclectic opportunities, if we don’t close ourselves away in quiet rooms to produce a steady stream of work, we may not always have the capacity to create and deliver creative work at the cadence we prefer. What’s more, we may not deliver a straight line of creative work. Our new projects may surprise us, and surprise others. And while that approach may not be the most commercially strategic way of living life as an artist, it seems particularly artful to me.
We’re playing our way to… not the page in this case, but to the body of creative work that we may not even realize is inside of us. We’re heading into the unknown. We’re daring to live the artful life.
In today’s episode, we’re talking about giving ourselves permission to let go of the “perfect” life in order to open our hearts to an artful one. We’re also noting that we’re not starting from scratch. Our lives are already polka-dotted with artful moments. If we pay attention and follow our curiosity, we can connect those dots and see what’s been there all along and what’s possible next.
You can also help others find the show by rating and reviewing it on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to the show. Your words make such a difference for them—and for me, as I continue to create this show. Many, many thanks in advance. And of course, a big thank you to Alex for his fantastic editing of the show.