Cavities have nothing to do with this, but I needed another word with a VIT in it, so there’s that. What I wanted to write about today, though, is the connection between positive encouragement and creative people.
I love being creative. I know I’m not alone. I really think that all of us are born with the drive and need to create, whether it’s cooking, designing interiors, crafting, poetry writing, music, acting, art, we are creative creatures. Some folks are more practical, and work at jobs that are technical and methodical, so they have to pursue hobbies that let them release those creative urges. Others work at creative professions and don’t have much technical or business know-how, like me, my hubby, and some artistic people I know. We may seem flighty to some folks. And, maybe we are.
Early last fall, hubby and I gathered with a bunch of creative types on the set of the Brothers Barbarian season 2, and it was really refreshing to be surrounded by creative people. The atmosphere seemed to be charged with a creative vibe that was exhilarating. Of course, it is also a lot of hard work, logistics, etc., involved in such a project. But, in the evenings, when shooting was done, a lot of us gathered various places around the historic Doe Run Inn to shoot the breeze and raise a glass or two.
One of the people present at these gatherings was the highly-creative, charming artist Larry Elmore. We had never spent a great deal of time with the man before, so it was a real treat just to relax with him and hear his stories. He is a wonderful storyteller. One of the things he talked about one night was the need for creative people to be around positive people who can encourage them. He created a word picture, saying that it’s like we are bugs, floating on the river of life, surrounded by a bubble that keeps us afloat. That bubble is positivity. It keeps us from drowning in the current. But, it’s fragile, and can be easily burst. That is why creative people need to be constantly surrounded by positivity, so that they can stay afloat and keep their heads above water.
My husband and I loved that illustration and found it to be very true for us. When our comic comes out, we get a lot of positive feedback from readers, for the most part. But, once in a while, there are people who for whatever reason don’t like the way we do things and feel the need to tell us about it. That can be hard to deal with sometimes. My husband has developed a sort of thick skin, at least compared to me, and most of that criticism rolls off his back, but it still gets to him sometimes. For me, being the protective person I am, I tend to get a bit more agitated toward negative criticism that I feel is unwarranted. It’s hard for me to keep my emotions in check sometimes. But, I try and I’ve gotten better at it.
If we let it, those kinds of feedback could weigh us down and we’d quit. But, thankfully we have enough people who regularly encourage us, that putting out the magazine is a pleasure. Jolly is a happy fountain of creativity, for the most part.
Perhaps this is the part where the cavities actually come in, for there are some folks who are so consistently sweet that we do feel like we’re getting cavities. We appreciate those people more than they know.
Funny thing is, I always feel silly giving feedback to celebrities via Twitter, at conventions, etc., that I like what they do. Part of me feels that it is the right thing to do once in awhile, to just bring them encouragement, but another part of me thinks that they probably get so much praise (much of it empty), that it must just sort of be almost annoying. Then, I have to remember how we feel when people come up to us, or write us, and say that our comic has helped them through some rough patches in their lives, given them laughter in bleak or difficult times, and helped them rediscover their love for the hobby of roleplaying games. We always appreciate that stuff.
One of my favorite things is when a young child comes to our booth at a convention, with his parents, and his folks talk about how much he loves the comic. To see a sweet face looking at my husband like he’s a hero puts a lump in my throat sometimes and makes my heart feel warm and glowing. I also love getting letters from military members thanking us for giving them times of laughter. That means so much to us to be able to bring even a flicker of joy to these fine men and women.
In short, we appreciate all the positive feedback we get from our fans. They are the ones who have helped us get to issue 200 and beyond. We hope to keep bringing the laughs and fun for a long time yet.