That little piece of kindling that gets the fire going. That initial source of inspiration that takes on a life of its own. That single note from which the entire symphony grows. That single spark of life that signals an idea’s movement value, almost screaming to us, something wants to be built here.
And so, in this new blog series, I’m going to be deconstructing my favorite moments of conception from popular movies. Each post will contain a video clip from a different film, along with a series of lessons we can learn from the characters.
Today's clip comes from the Woody scene in I'm Not There:
What can we learn?
Scratching itches early and often. Dylan’s moment of conception is well documented. It started with a book. Guthrie’s autobiography inspired him to begin mimicking the folk hero’s speech patterns and songwriting style. Years later, when his idol became ill, the moment of conception continued. Dylan tracked down his hero at the psychiatric hospital, played a song he wrote just for him, and the tune was met with the legend’s approval. The rest was history. Pardon the pun, but this scene strikes a chord with me. Growing up, I never needed to run away. I was fortunate enough to float on a tsunami of in house support. A family of joiners. People you don’t even have to ask. People who believe saying yes to others is the ultimate love language. People who just want to be part of everything. Whatever you’re doing, whatever you’re thinking, whatever you’re feeling, they’re happy to be there. Physically, emotionally and spiritually. On board at a moment’s notice. It’s the opposite of pulling teeth. Relentless affirmation. Instant encouragement. Endless participation. Radical acceptance. You’re never met with a tilted head. The point is, we all need a secure human base to operate from. People in our corner to support us. Even if it’s just one person sitting in hospital bed, holding our highest vision in front of us. That can be enough to send an artist on a creative trajectory that lasts a lifetime. What support system can you count on?
Quality is surprisingly overrated. Dylan couldn’t sing. Or play guitar. But that didn’t stop him from selling a hundred million records, rewriting the rule of pop music and becoming the most influential musical figure of the twentieth century. Proving, that talent is helpful, but sometimes, there are bigger creative fish to fry than simply being good. If your art represents something important, builds an emotional connection, tells a remarkable story, starts a movement, inspires a revolution, changes popular culture, defies the norm, crosses categories, gives voice to a new generation or raises global consciousness, then quality is neither here nor there. Job number one is to create an exhibition of love through your art. Dylan knew that intuitively, that he didn’t have to be great to get started, but he had to get started to become great. And that over time, his shortcomings would be eclipsed by his mighty love. Are you spending time increasing your talent or increasing your character?
What did you learn?
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