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Creating, Out of Yourself

“Do not do what someone else could do as well as you. Do not say, do not write what someone else could say, could write as well as you. Care for nothing in yourself but what you feel exists nowhere else. And, out of yourself create, impatiently or patiently, the most irreplaceable of beings.” — André Gide

The writing comes slowly. The writing comes effortlessly. The work has bursts of creativity mixed with repetition and familiarity. The things I’m most proud of often fall flat, the hits keep getting views and likes. So it shall be.

We must do the work, and see where it takes us. The work took me to André Gide recently, and I’m delighted with the discovery. Another stepping-stone on the journey across the mad stream of noise and nonsense that wants to sweep us all away before we’ve done the work. When you find such solid ground in the midst of chaos you celebrate the landing. Gide reminds us not to settle, but to make something of ourselves in our time.

The work deserves our best, because it represents our best in our moment. Should it fall flat in its time or become a surprise hit matters little, save a bit of ego stroke. Work that matters doesn’t fly on the wings of a clever hashtag or marketing campaign. That may matter to a publisher or salesperson or PR firm. What matters in the creative process is how it resonates within us. And where it takes us.

If we’re lucky, maybe it carries us to places we haven’t been before. To something unexpected and delightful in ourselves. Should be keep at it just a little bit longer.

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