The Importance of Community in a Selfish World
Last Wednesday, I had a reading for a full length play I'm working on. I worked on this play for about six months last year, lost inspiration, and put it down. I knew I wanted to go back to it but didn't know how to end it or even how to pick it back up. After a few conversations with some individuals in my artistic tribe, they gave me a good swift kick and encouraged me to get back on that wagon.
So, I did.
I set a date for my reading and continued working on my play. Nothing like a deadline to make me get rid of all the excuses and get stuff done! And, nothing like a deadline to unlock some inspiration that seemed hidden.
One issue that I have as a playwright, artist, and frankly, as a person, is that I am a perfectionist. One of my mentors is constantly trying to teach me to just write and not make it perfect. Nothing will be perfect and I will always hinder my progress trying to achieve the impossible. (I don't usually say a lot of things are impossible, but perfection is. No one and nothing is, and once you accept that, life is a little bit easier to digest.)
So, I wrote and COMPLETELY changed my story from the first draft. And, it wasn't perfect, but it was good. At least, I thought so. I had questions. I had parts that I didn't like 100%. I had areas that needed some clarification. I knew all of these things and I still loved what I wrote, even though it was unfinished. Two days before my reading, I put the final touches on my draft and said, "This is what they will get. I can't make a DRAFT perfect."
Wednesday, I was nervous but ready. I had a community of people that came together for me. They believed in me, my talent, and my potential. They came together after a long day of their own stuff and supported me. I had a community of people who put aside their needs for one evening to help me get one step closer to my goal. Not many people can say they have that.
After the reading, we held a discussion about my play. The good, the bad, the opportunities. And what's amazing is that all of the constructive criticisms were the very things that I had questions about. I was on the same page as my village. Now, if that isn't confirmation that I'm on the right track with this play then I don't know what is.
Ever since moving to Atlanta, the journey down here has been interesting but good. It hasn't been easy but, my God, it's been unforgettable. I have people surrounding me that support every step I take in this artistic journey. Individuals that offer up their time, resources, and information without asking, "Now, what can you do for me?" It wasn't always like that back home in Maryland. Rarely did people want to invest in you because they believed in you. It had to be a trade off or nothing at all. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that's always a bad thing. Everyone needs to hustle to move forward. But, we've gotten so stuck in that, that we forget the need of watching each other's back. I always want to help someone else because I know that I needed/need help myself.
I challenge you to take some time and look at your community. What do you have that you can offer? I'm not saying volunteer all your time but a quick email, conversation, words of advice...those don't cost too much. Just a few minutes of your time. And those things always have a way of coming back to you ten times better. I promise.
Thank you to my community, my village. Thank you for believing in me and what's ahead. And to those reading this blog, thank you for being a part of my community near and far. And don't worry, you'll get to hear this play soon. It's on it's way to a stage soon.
I believe that.