Whether overt or in secret, it is the aim of every creative spirit the world has ever known. No matter how deep rooted or hidden in the creator's psyche, their goal is to move their audience -- to make them think, to make them feel…to make them act. I can admit that it has been my goal with all that I do to inspire those around me and this weekend, I was graced with the knowledge of just HOW inspiration I've been to a select number of amazingly talented individuals.
This past June, while taking part in the Yellowsprings Street Fair as a guest of Superfly Comics & Games (thanks Tony!!), I met a troupe of teens (honestly, unbeknownst to me by their poise and wit) that charmed their way into an immediate friendship! They were A LOT of fun -- and after we chatted (probably far longer than any of us had intended), with a bunch heartfelt giggles, they made me part of their band!
|From left to right: Sawyer, Me, Liz, Abigail and Rachel!|
Now, I've gained a fan or two in my time as a comic creator, but there was something special about these guys! They supported me, not just purchased some of my stuff, but truly aimed to support ME -- as an individual -- and that level of support really has no measure! I was grateful for that alone, but it grew exponentially when Sawyer asked me not only to come to their production of The Pirates of Penzance, but to be the celebrity guest presenter at their awards ceremony. I don't know how YOU rate success, but for me -- this tops almost every accomplishment I've attained thus far!
The play was A LOT fun! Their acting company, Young Frog Productions, features a range of players from ages 9 on up, who are truly talented and fun! At an age when the reality of life's woes begins to show, they are honing their skills -- transforming from awkward (pre)teens to wondrous personalities on the stage. They have heart, ya'll and I can tell you, that goes a VERY long way.
The award show -- aptly titled, the EPIC Awards, celebrated the cast and crew for all their hard work. It was a great means of encouragement and acknowledgement! I was asked to present the Most Inspiring award (the reason for which, I wouldn't fully grasp until AFTER the awards show) and I wrote the following speech:
"Inspiration. "An inspiring or animating action or influence." (Webster's Dictionary) It is the life's blood of creativity -- the lynchpin of the divine alchemy that takes a word or verse, an image or melody and transforms it into something new. The whims of inspiration are as unique as its outcomes -- while some seem to drink from its well at every turn, others may find their grip too tight or to wide to successfully wield it's magic for long…if at all. Understanding that magic is as personal as a fingerprint; as individual as a snowflake. And tonight, we aim to encourage those brave enough to share what inspiration has wrought in them and to celebrate the one whose work stands out amongst them…"
The actual speech had a minor tweak at the end, which you can see the video of below (YES! Highlander!!!)
After the awards show, where I truly fit amongst them REALLY set in. Meeting me motivated them. I had been the talk of the town (so to speak), because I was successfully living my dream, had created memorable work, but was still a person. Someone approachable, congenial and generous. I'm greatly humbled to be recognized for that -- and I'm proud of these young actors (note, I'm NOT calling them aspiring, because after 3yrs of stage-life, they ARE actors) would take that position unto themselves, planting the seeds for them to be of equal import to someone else.
In the face of such an acknowledgement, I feel it no less my duty than to maintain that level of excellence -- to create more and do more for others. I take that beautiful burden to heart…no less inspired by them.