Obviously I have a few things to say about the creative act. I'm really intrigued by why we do it, how we struggle with it, and what we hope to get from it. In a sense, creativity assumes an end game. We want to make something so that it exists. It begins as an embryo, an inkling, moves into action and structure and the blood, sweat, and tears of a lifetime and then, God willing, we have something to show. When you begin making enough things, or living enough years to look back on your body of work, the end game begins to look a little silly. What end game? One project ends and the next begins. One dream fizzles at the spark of another. There is always something more to seek. It's at once debilitating and exhilarating.
Today marks the fourth year that I've been married to one of the finest humans I know. Four years we've cheered each other on, battled each other, fought, forgiven, dreamed, traveled, grown, but most of all - most of all - we've created.
Husband and I have had lots of career successes and failures together. He helped me out of a job that was ruining my life, I cheered him on when he worked in Alabama for nine months living his dream, we both hit our own personal walls at separate times when the other one had to peel our sticky, smeared faces off the brick and back to reality. We've been through it and back again. From what I've heard about life, I assume this will continue.
And when I think about my creative end game, I know the biggest part of it has to do with us. I know that whatever creative carrot I put in front of my nose, whatever I decide to chase, the real "end" won't be about how many books I sell or how many gigs I land. It will be about how authentically I lived and how that spurred us to create a better life together.
And let's be clear, a better life doesn't mean we're wealthier or more well known or even critically respected. It means we're richer. It means we can make choices outside of our comfort zones. It means we can try something brand new just to see if it'll work. It means nothing is a given. It means possibility in every moment. It means our marriage gets created on our terms and looks the way we want it to look. It means we accept the uncertainty and general confusion of life and dive in together. It means we take every moment together to fill our lives with something more vibrant than before. It's about vitality.
I don't think you need a husband or partner of any kind to live a rich life. Husband and I have had many a conversation where we acknowledge that our marriage is a bonus not a necessity. But when living out the life I want gets heavy with anxiety, or stunted with staleness, or manipulated because I've lost my presence, having him there to hold my creative feet to the fire helps redefine me.
For me, four years with this guy has meant every day is a chance to be a better woman. It has given me courage to step out from the shadows I created for myself and stand unapologetically in my work. It's helped me smell the bullshit from a mile away. It's made me into a bolder version of myself.
Making a life with him is the best creative act I've ever committed. No end game needed.