creative life: The Other Guy’s Stuff

31 Aug

Be interested in the other guy’s stuff.  It’s in your own self interest.  Our Composer of Music for Art fired up the computer this morning after the usual coffee, and as usual, started with her inbox.  Naturally – craving that instant self-gratification of seeing who has reached out to HER, expressed interest in HER.  Because HER is what she is all about.  Not.

Well – having recently joined a forum group on Yahoo MediaPlayer, our Lady has been getting e-mails from other forum members which share problems with the application and solutions.  Her first instinct is to skip over these emails – because who cares about the other guy’s issue.  Especially if it is not a problem for her.  But being the artistically growing woman she is, and maybe in a hungover inspired moment of openness, this morning she actually read and thought about some OTHER guy’s issue with Yahoo Media Player.  She even checked out his link to see if she could understand what he was dealing with.

Well – whatever the problem was, it seemed to have been solved.  And lo and behold, she was on the guy’s website, which had a bunch of really well-produced, interesting sounding country music clips. here is the address:  And guess what – the audio she discovered there may be just the ticket for any number of nature paintings that she might show on

So she shot the guy an email, sharing that she thought his problem appeared to be resolved, that she loved his stuff, and thought there might be some opportunity for collaboration.  So – in a moment of willingness to be concerned and interested in the other, there was an almost immediate positive return of energy.  Needless to say, the reciprocal value is not always so direct and immediate.  In fact, it might even be argued that the altruistic behaviors in which we engage on a regular basis may have longer range, unpredicted benefits to ourselves on a much more profound and subtle level.

For example, our Girl’s tradition teaches about the value of charity, and specifically of tithing.  There is a story about a son who inherited his father’s field.  His father always gave away a tenth of the crop, and his field increased in production a tenth each year.  The son felt he could not afford his father’s practice of  largesse, and stopped the practice of tithing.  Under the son’s watch, the field decreased in production a tenth each year.  Get the idea?

In addition to sharing our own creative work in various stages to solicit feedback, we can enrich our perspective and our creative capacity by finding time to immerse ourselves in the work and struggles of others.  We return from these efforts potentially exhausted on the one hand, but on the other with a new clarity concerning our own creative efforts.

As we gain an appreciation of the “Silent Partner” in our creative work, a universal force with which we join in our efforts to bring something new into the new world, we also begin to understand that our creative thoughts in some media are part of a community of thought within that discipline.  We don’t lose by sharing our creative ideas with others, rather we strengthen the collective community of thought on a subject and facilitate our own personal progress in the cycles connected with conception and execution of projects.

As we value the work of others in this way, we find ourselves celebrating what is working for others and empathizing with what is not working.  We have distanced ourselves a bit more from that green-eyed Monster – Jealousy.  This distancing from such a negative emotion all by itself facilitates all sorts of richer creative thinking.

Celebrate the success of the other guy!  It is really your success as well.

spark on


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Posted by on August 31, 2011 in creative life


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