part of this tribe

Two things today have got me thinking about my “tribe” and how it gives me moral support in the emotional roller coaster that is a creative life.

The first was some mindless TV browsing which lead me to watch a show on discovery channel, curiosity. The topic – could modern man survive the life of a “caveman”. You can see more here. I don’t want to be a spoiler, so I’m not going to tell you how the experiment turns out, but what it got me thinking about was the role of morale, how the emotions of others sap or energize us. One of the “lessons” the group took away was how disconnected and distracted we are in modern life.

The second was spending the morning with some of my teaching colleagues as I watched them pursue their own art forms. At the college the art adjuncts all share an office, so we are a diverse bunch with a range of interests. One of  my “office mates” is a director, who is currently filming a feature length apocalyptic movie. This morning his crew was here at my house bright and early to shoot some scenes. Film is intriguing to me because it is so non-sequential (I don’t even know if that’s a real word, but …). When I make an art work, all the experiences and processes build on each other. For the film they shoot out of order,  it is amazing to me that they can hold a complete vision together in all these many pieces. And acting astonishes me, to inhabit another skin, to live in some other moment. It was really an amazing journey to watch the whole crew practice their craft.

Another colleague is acting in the movie, so between takes we were talking about the trials of art in academia, about the competition, of the kind of ugly rat race it makes art become. I was contrasting that with all the support I find in other communities, like this world of blog. Here people give supportive, positive advice and feedback, here art opportunities, trials and techniques are shared.

It was such a pleasure today to support Ryan’s creative journey, even if I am baffled by his craft – to work alongside a colleague’s vision, instead of competing against him – just for a few moments to be part of a real tribe. So tonight a big thank you to all of you, my virtual tribe for your support, for sharing your journey and your wisdom, because of you I know it is OK to lay competition aside, it’s not something I ever learned in school.

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