I have this image in my head of the art world being like a pond.
In this pond and along its edges live many different creatures, all of which have a very particular relationship to the water.
The water is creativity.
At one point we were forest and prairie dwellers and heard rumors of yonder pond, which stoked an urge in us to go seek it out.
Upon arrival at the shores most of us, in our green manner, galloped ignorantly, straight into the deep parts of the waters, quickly loosing our footing. The pond that appeared so benignly magical was now threatening to show us in its cruelest manner that we couldn't swim.
Having barely made it out of the waters with our dignity scarce intact we started to notice an awful lot of chatter all around the pond:
"Have you mastered your diving 101?! Learn it here!"
"The water is ONLY for us frogs, who jump in circles!"
"Learn to swim without getting wet in only four years time!"
"The water is only for those who live in it ALL the time!"
"Don't go in the water! Only bottom dwellers live there."
Of course your own assertions about the water were swirling in your head with dizzying intimidation, too:
"It's too cold!"
"It's too murky!"
"I can't swim long enough!"
"Why didn't I float?"
And of course you were right! The creative waters are murky. It is hard to find the right tools for navigating them. Did you even muster a respectable doggie paddle?! And, yes, it is even harder to sustain a whole life inside the pond.
Maybe what you imagined to be the first graceful dive was more of a belly flop. But do you still hear your inner pond dweller call out for more?
It's true, some pond dwellers are drawn WAY deep into the waters and when they return to the edges they bring back wondrous things that are astonishing to us all. But that's not everyone. Some dive in and out in explosive spurts. Some come for certain seasons and only hang out at the edges. Others have crossed all the way to another shore. And, others still, keep drawing their backstrokes exclusively across the warm patches of water. They all love the water and heed its call according to their own evolutionary state. In turn creating a rich and healthy ecosystem.
So now that you are out on the banks and have caught your breath, take a look! What is it going to be? A jumping lesson from the frogs or a four year lesson in kicking your feet in the sand before you dive back in?