I'm starting something new today! Every Friday, I'm going to feature a guest post or interview, along with a giveaway of a product or book or CD or something I love. And I'm so glad my friend Becca Wilhite is helping me kick this off. She's famous, you know. A published author. She's written two delightful young adult novels for Shadow Mountain, and writes witty prose on her blog as well. We've known each other over 20 years (!!!), and I couldn't love her more, nor be more proud of her. She has such a unique voice, and I love that she makes me laugh and makes me think.
Creative people make me nervous.
And I'm not only talking about the ones who attend conferences where costumes are recommended.
I have always felt supremely underqualified around creative types. Back in the High School day, I was surrounded by people who were more talented than any teenager deserves to be, more funny than I ever hope to be, and more clever than they could have possibly recognized. And I didn't feature in any of those categories, at least in my own mind. But the few who were truly creative -- the ones who could make something out of nothing, they were the ones who consistently blew my mind. That kind of creativity that (I'm pretty sure) can't be taught -- it just IS -- has always left me squirming.
So it was an epiphany moment for me when, in a science class of all places, I made a connection between the first law of thermodynamics and personal creativity. As you know (of COURSE you know), the first law of thermodynamics says that matter cannot be created or destroyed; it can only change form. When you burn a stick, it doesn't disappear. It becomes ash, smoke, gas. When you bang together hydrogen and oxygen molecules, you aren't creating water, you're just opening the door for it, or something.
And I realized that I already knew that. I already believed that -- not so much about matter, but about thoughts. About ideas. About art. I already believed (and continued to learn, recognize, and understand) that the picture, the story, the melody... it's out there. It's waiting for me to bang some molecules together and let it in. My stories are waiting for me to put them in words. I'm not being clever here -- loads of artists say this. Why do you think books tell the same stories over and over and over? The Quest. The Return of the Rightful King. Forbidden Love. Cinderella. You know Arnold Friberg? He paints heroic portraits of Bible prophets and George Washington and stuff. Once he gave a town-hall chat in my frozen mountaintops, and I heard him say, "The picture waits for me to paint it. If I don't, someone else will."
Someone else will?
I want to do it. I want it to be me. I want to feel the jolt as sodium and chloride (whatever that is) smack together and cube up into salt crystals. I want to laugh out loud at a scene that came from MY keyboard. I want to sing a song that will make someone's arms bust out in goosebumps. I want to make someone cry. You know, in the good way.
I want to be ready to tell the story when it comes to me. I want my fingers ready. I want my eyes open. I want to be the channel through which the funny flows. Through which the beauty rises. Through which the magic comes. Because if I'm not ready, someone else will catch the vision that floats, waiting.
But nobody will do it like I will.
Let it be me.
You can enter up to two times by doing one of the following:
1 - Leave a comment below describing the most beautiful or most magical thing you saw this week.
2 - Go to Becca's author page on Facebook, click "LIKE" and come back here to leave a comment to let me know you did it.
(I'll be choosing the winner using Random.org, so if you want to have two separate entries in the giveaway, be sure to leave two separate comments.)
And because this is our grand kickoff for Giveaway Friday, I'm also going to add an autographed copy of my CD for the winner. The winner will be announced on Tuesday, February 21. Get commenting!