I witnessed something this week that I have witnessed far too often. – A very talented, accomplished writer, was rejected. This writer worked very hard to enter her manuscript into an international contest and did not make the final cut. She turmoiled in defeat, feeling inadequate and rejected. This is something all creatives have experienced at one time or another.
I’m sharing a TED talk video today that features Elizabeth Gilbert of EAT PRAY LOVE. She talks about the pressure on creative people since creativity and suffering are somehow now inherently linked. Too often, I see precious friends suffering with the universal pressure of imparting divine works in the state of mere-mortality. It’s depressing how few artists get the deserving attention of their work.
Writing is a unique career in that very few of us can make a sustainable living at it, yet hundreds of thousands of people cast their works into the world. What is up with that? It’s like salmon who swim upstream, few make it back to spawn, yet they all try anyways. They have to try it is in their nature. Even the reality that most will face imminent death does not stop them from making the journey. I believe along with Gilbert that the creative process is a result of divine intervention that many will be called but few will make it, whatever that means…
Why am I bringing this up? The world is a cruel beast to us all no matter what we do, but it seems that the world likes to take creatives and chew them up for breakfast. If creativity is really a divine expression then we should expect nothing less than a divine struggle that some don’t make out alive. As Gilbert points out some of our greatest creatives over the last 500 years we have lost, often at their own hand. This struggle literary drives people mad, to the point they hurt themselves. It’s a sad reality. What can we do about it?
For starters, we can start a conversation. We can confront the problem, and suggest ways to help the writers in our lives separate themselves from their genius.
If you’re a reader, you might be questioning what this has to do with you. Everything. As readers, writers, consumers, musicians, and all artists, we must celebrate all creative geniuses. We must cheer with them when they win, cry with them when they don’t. We need to share this divine burden with them.
How? We can give them honest reviews, send them encouraging email, and even stalk their Facebook pages. Let’s show these creative geniuses that they are appreciated and not alone. Next time you read a book, appreciate the opportunity to be gifted with the show of genius, the glimpse of G-d in that work.
Check out the video. Hopefully, it will inspire you to have some empathy for the creatives in your life.
Who’s the writer/creative in your life that you want to most appreciate today? Share in the comments.