Creative Tag Teaming

Last week, I met up for drinks and dinner with a friend that I have known for almost 20 years. It is amazing to me by-the-way, that I know someone for 20 years, but I do. Actually, he was my very first “real” boyfriend with a capital “B” and it took a while of growing up, but now, we are good friends. A lot can happen after you are 16. 🙂

R and I have always been each others best creative supporters. He was the first person who told me that I could sing. Before that, most people told me to be quiet while a song came on, or, that I was too loud. And of course, when your 16 year-old boyfriend tells you that you can sing, you believe him. And it goes from there. After we broke up, I think that I had a bit of an “Anne and Gilbert”-type rivalry going on in my mind only but in my case, it was more about beating the boy who broke my heart than any kind intellectual discourse. But, now, thankfully, after years of reconnecting, our friendship can be that creative support system once again. And all artists need one.

SARK talks a lot about this in her book Make Your Creative Dreams Real and The Creative Companion. She says that is so incredibly important to surround oneself with the people who will support your vision, rather than dig away at your fragility. The funny thing is, R was one of those guys in high school that had that certain something that made one think that he would succeed in any creative endeavor and so I was shocked when he went into something else entirely different. And, like me, put his creative dreams on hold in exchange for being and “adult.” And now, facing our late 30s wondering where the time went and feeling confused and baffled by “how we got there.”

We decided to be each others “Creative Support Team.” R wrote out some of our fears and blocks as well as needs and desires. We then discussed what would a REAL goal be. Not the, “I shall have you my first chapter in two weeks” goal (which honestly won’t work for me) or the, “I will have my entire first side of the album completed” (yes we still think in sides of records and tapes); but instead, “I will have a compilation of some of what I have written put in some kind of structure for you when we meet up the first time.” We promised to call each other on our bullshit but also talk about why it is that we didn’t finish something. We also said that we would not give each other any creative feedback at first because this wasn’t what this is about. We might, however, if we get a “flash of intuitive insight” mention that.

And because it was a full moon on Thursday night. And because I have been told that there was some kind of cosmic “Stargate” opening up last week. And because I felt like there was “synchronicity” in the air – this is going to work. Mostly because I need deadlines and this will force me to meet them.

And, as I continue to read Montgomery, I am engrossing myself in a creative process of my own. I am learning about how I write and create my stories. I have noticed that I write a lot in my head for days even before I put pen to paper. I have noticed that I prefer the pen to paper then the click of a keyboard for true inspiration. I like the shuffling of paper and making notes. I have noticed that I get muddled if I think too much about where to go and I have noticed that I feel solid and whole when I sit and work.


About Melanie J. Fishbane

My novel, MAUD: A Novel Inspired by the Life of L.M. Montgomery was published in 2017 through Penguin Random House on April 25, 2017. I hold an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Here I talk about my writing process, things I love, and creative people who inspire me.
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