Posted by: morrowsl | August 8, 2013

Hearing My Own Drum


Recently, I stepped a curious foot into the realm of creative people who are not my friends and family to have a look around and see if there was a place for me in their world.  For such a long time I’ve heard “you should try to publish” or “people will want to read this” from those who love me and it is encouraging and supportive and comes from a place of love.
The problem with being encouraged and supported by those who love you is that, if you believe everything they say, you just might end up being the kid at the talent show who really can’t sing, in spite of her mother’s insistence that her voice is like birdsong.
I’m mean, really, not all birds have lovely voices and most mothers can’t tell their kids the truth, if it will hurt.

So, I joined this online group and started posting my dailies there.  The dailies are usually a story or sentiment centered around a photo of my coffee cup.  I started it on a whim and people seemed to like it and then they started to look forward to it and I felt compelled to keep going lest I totally wreck someone’s day by taking away something they so eagerly awaited each morning.  I mean, who am I?

There were all sorts of people in this group, hundreds of them, although most of them never posted a word or shared a photo.  Those who did had much to say and the photographers had beautiful things to share with the group and it felt like such an inspiring place to be.

But then, we started getting notices from the person who started the group saying we shouldn’t say and/or do certain things because that wasn’t what “we are doing here.”  More people were added.  We got more notices.  It began to feel uncomfortable.
“We are not a cute animal group!”
“We are not the place to bring your grief!”
“We are not here to give photography lessons!”

On and on it went until it felt more like a detention center than a center of creativity.

Each day, trying to come up with the inspiration for my photo felt more like preparing for an exam.  I’d had months of ideas popping into my head, sometimes three or four at a time, and suddenly I could find not one thread to follow.  Where I had stores of confidence, suddenly I was coming up with doubt.  Not in myself, but in the idea of what I was taking to the group.  Was it really what “we’re doing here” or was it the tone deaf overly loud voice that makes everyone shudder?  Would it pass the test and not be a cute animal photo or overly sad?

In my past, having dealt with my full share of difficult people, I determined early on that there are certain personalities that I will always be drawn to and others I will run from as fast as possible.  And then there are the ones that I just seem to be able to piss off without having to try much at all.  This person was one of those.

I believe the term is “God complex.”  They believe so strongly that they are the only true voice, the final word, the visionary.  The Great and Powerful Oz!

Well, I’m not Dorothy.  I’m not interested in being shuffled along down someone else’s idea of my life path having my thoughts and ideas redirected, or worse yet, snuffed out entirely.
The excuse I was given for why I was banned from the group is that I was far too paranoid about the lax privacy of the group.  Which is utter bullshit.  I was banned from the group because I was a non-conformist who wouldn’t agree to turning myself into a lemming so that I could say I was getting approval from Oz.

Well…  you live and learn.  I’ve been voted off the island before and I survived.  And I always land on my feet, even if every now and then I have to perform my own version of Stumbellina in the process.

The happy ending is that I realized that those other talented people who wrote interesting stories and poems and took amazing photos don’t really give a rat’s ass about “what we are doing here” because they have their own thing to do.  As do I.  We are banded together to share our own creativity and to support and encourage, and yes, to even say “you’re a bit flat, dear” if it’s needed.
Because to thrive and grow, creativity needs more sunshine than rain.


  1. Yes, I love you, but be rest assured, had your writing not been inspiring, amusing and just plain entertaining, I would have patted you on the head and said…”That’s nice dear.” We can’t ALL be just being nice. You’re good! Get used to hearing it!!!!! And the hell with the Jon’s of the world.

    • I know I can trust you, Elle. I’ve known that from the start. It’s time to test it and see if it flies. And, as per my usual, I took it to the wrong starting point. But there’s good that came of it and I’ll learn to trust the others like I do you. Well, that’s not true. I’ll never trust anyone with my writing as much as I trust you.
      Thanks for always being honest.

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