Last week I went to a few events that made me think about what it means to be a part of a creative community.
First, I was at Google for work. I spent a few hours brainstorming with my team and their team in a room full of white boards with natural light and plants on the wall. Is that a creative community?
Then, I came back to DC for a Stella + Dot party I was hosting. I had a room full of smart, creative women from various backgrounds with a variety of talents sharing experiences and shopping. Is that a creative community?
The next day, I stopped by an IRL meetup for #acreativeDC at the new hot spot Maketto on H street. There were cool kids with their phones and their hashtags and their dreamy photos of DC. Everyone wanted to know what I 'did'. Is that a creative community?
Next, I met up with some friends at Goodwill DC's Summer Trunk Show. We sipped drinks and ate burritos while shopping the racks. We debated the pros and cons of moving to a new place, trying to do more than one creative thing (at one point in time) and getting paid for interesting work. Is that a creative community?
Afterward, I hopped in an Uber (which I can only afford because I have a job and am no longer freelancing), and met up with another friend at a folk concert in a gorgeous mansion in Pleasant Plains. There were a million twenty-somethings swaying to Southern storytelling. We drank a lot of the beer that we found in the fridge and sneaked in and out of the bedrooms because we were curious. Is that a creative community?
Later later, we crashed a nearby party and made friends. They wouldn't let us ask them what they 'did', but we all ate cake together and they gave us a tour of their house. Is that a creative community?
On Sunday, I sat in the park, bored, drinking with friends and friends of friends thinking about how I'd rather be reading. I could have made more of an effort, but I didn't have anything to add to the conversation that didn't feel too intense, too heavy for a lazy Sunday. No one heard me when I did speak up. Is that a creative community?
And then today, I went into the art space where I take weaving class and felt some solace threading my heddles to dress my loom. There were only two other people in the space--one working in the dark room and another painting. One asked if I would mind if she spray painted, that she would open the door for the fumes to go out. We worked in silence until I finished up what I needed to do and said goodbye. Is that a creative community?
We all want to be a part of something. If you're anything like me, you probably want to be a part of a creative community. I've found it and lost it, searched and traveled, moved and explored and sent strangers random emails to keep that search going. I've found, in the end, it's all for nothing if you aren't okay being alone--making decisions to do what makes you feel creative. Sometimes it's with other people. Sometimes it isn't. The beauty is finding a balance that keeps you from going in insane or getting depressed. I'm still working on it.
Each of these scenes made me feel like I was a part of something, but not all of them made me feel creative. I feel creative when I connect with another human being. And it doesn't matter if that's in a corporate setting or a consumer setting or a silent setting. In some spaces, with some people, you just part of a creative community. Maybe it's just something you have and some other people have and together you make it a reality.
Whatever it is I hope you find it. At the very least, find it inside of yourself. You'll be surprised who else shows up.