On Minding the Gap, Getting Lost, Exploding Songs, and The Fruitful Darkness

Hey Creators!

Happy Monday from Austin, TX! There are now 149 creators in our community. We’ve added 5 members to our community since last week. We’re making amazing progress and I 👏🏻love👏🏻to👏🏻see👏🏻it.

Thank you all for being a part of the community.

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Here’s what I have for you this week.

👣On Minding the Gap

Ira Glass is an American radio personality known for his work on NPR. He is the host and producer of This American Life. He’s also been involved with All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and Talk of the Nation. In addition to his work on the radio, he’s written two books.

In other words, Ira has intimate knowledge of the creative process.

The beginning of any creative endeavor is marred by uncertainty.

You have a sense of what you want to create.

But the first version - the first hundred versions - often look nothing like your vision. It’s difficult to overcome the dissonance between your project as you see it and your project as it is.

The Gap is because of your Taste.

You have great Taste.
Your Taste is why you got started.

Because you had a since of What Could Be.
You wanted to create something.

Something as good as what you were inspired by.

But there is The Gap.

Not the store with the impeccably dressed mannequins, the space between where you are and where you want to be.

“Minding the gap” - maybe put better as not minding the gap - is key to seeing your vision actualized.

Here is Ira Glass on The Creative Process:

🌳On Getting Lost

I worked my way through Betwixt and Between: The Liminal Period in Rites de Passage by Victor Turner this week. It's a fantastic essay from his book "The Forest of Symbols" which I've yet to read. 

I was reminded of the concept of "liminality" when a friend asked about essays or ideas that changed my life. Here is what Wikipedia has to say about liminality:

"In anthropology, liminality (from the Latin word līmen, meaning "a threshold") is the quality of ambiguity or disorientation that occurs in the middle stage of a rite of passage, when participants no longer hold their pre-ritual status but have not yet begun the transition to the status they will hold when the rite is completed."

(Click here to get the notes from the article on my website.)

I’m also feeling it hard right now.

I’m in between roles and establishing a new role for myself. I’m building a consulting company - which feels weird to own (and that feels weird to admit as it’s something I’m not “supposed to do”).

But transparency and authenticity are two of my core values. I wouldn't be practicing them if I didn’t readily admit to this.

I’m working on it. I’m working through it.

Even just admitting it feels better.
Owning it.

If you’re feeling this way, two things:

1..) You’re not alone.
2.) Drop me a line. Let’s move through it together.

I also finished Self-Renewal:The Individual and the Innovative Society by John W. Gardner. I haven't put my notes together on this one yet but I highly recommend it. 

It is an incredible book. Here’s a few quotes I’ve pulled out so far:

On evolution of self and society:

Heraclitus observed that 'No one steps twice in the same river'; and twenty--five centuries later thinkers are still rediscovering the inescapable reality of change. Life and the world keep flowing and evolving.

On the necessity of a pointed, but loving, tradition of criticism:

A tradition of vigorous criticism is essential to the renewal of a society. A nation is not helped much by citizens whose love for their country leads them to shield it from life-giving criticism. But neither is it helped much by critics without love, skilled in demolition but unskilled in the arts vy which human institutions are nurtured and strengthened and made to flourish. Neither uncritical lovers nor unloving critics make for the renewal of societies.

On the importance of flexibility for growth and innovation:

The same flexibility and adaptiveness that we seek for the society as a whole are essential for the organixzations within the society. A society made up of arteriosclerotic [note: thickening/hardening] organizations cannot renew itself.

💣On Exploding Songs

I started watching Song Exploder on Netflix. I like the show because you get insight into the storytelling that goes into a song, the thoughtful construction, and how the artists seek to convey emotions through their music. The episodes are also quick.

I watched the episode with Dua Lipa first (which is actually the last episode of the second season [there are two seasons on Netflix so far]…go figure).

Here’s a Tweet with a quick quote from the episode with Dua Lipa:

I've only watched two episodes (Dua Lipa + The Killers) but I’m hooked.

On The Fruitful Darkness

This is the final line from Betwixt and Between (the article discussed earlier) by Victor Turner:

"In this betwixt and between period, in this fruitful darkness, king and people are closely identified." (p. 110) 

Trevor Hall has a song of the same name:

Here are a quick sample of the lyrics:

“When I look back on those years gone by
All those mountains standing in my mind
I could have folded, could have turned around
But all good stories have their ups and downs

So, I had to find my way through….

The fruitful darkness
Is all around us
In bloom

The dark within my dark
Is where I found my light
The fruit became the doorway
And now it's open wide.”

The darkness is fruitful. It takes immense courage to keep going, to find your way through. But meaning will emerge from the depths. Your best self will emerge if you hold the courage to mine the darkness.

Keep going.

If you are feeling uncertain, if you are struggling, if you don’t know your path, as always, I am here to support however I can.

That’s all I have for you this week.

Wait! One more thing: here’s the end of my favorite Christmas movie of all-time, It’s A Wonderful Life (I’d say spoiler alert but the movie is from the 1940s):

It’s an incredible movie….

and it’s a wonderful life.

Happy holidays everyone!

Until next time,