On Your Mark
A 'Note' to my fellow creatives
I composed this quicky, little muse-ical last week for the Notes community to discover. A fellow writer suggested I spruce it up and send it out as a standard post to reach more of my people. So, ICYMI … and even if you didn’t miss it and want to read it again … here it is.
I’m a fast walker. Thanks to a ruthless combination of long-leggedness and hyper-nervous energy, it’s not uncommon for me to pass joggers when I’m out on a trail. So, I was really cruising the other day when this little feather caught my eye. My brain said, “hold up” and my feet skidded to a stop.
I walked back to the spot where I saw the feather and this time, I had to really look for it. It was so well camouflaged, I wondered how it managed to grab my attention in the first place.
I spotted it, reached down to pick it up, did the usual MOM thinking about germs and bird flu, did the usual NERD thinking about what kind of bird it came from, snapped a photo to “lens” later1, and put it in my pocket as a souvenir.
As artists, we are constantly leaving feathers behind for people to discover. And we do this knowing that most people aren’t going to see the feather we left for them. It’s too well camouflaged. And too likely to be trampled or kicked aside by someone trying to get to the more obvious, brightly colored feathers around it.
Some people will notice your feather and just keep walking.
Some people will notice it and really appreciate it.
And then keep walking.
But at some point, someone is going to see that feather you left behind and it will stop them in their tracks. It will make them turn around. It will make them want to reach down and pick it up. To turn it over in their hands. To wonder where it came from. To take a picture of it. To bring it home and find room for it in the place they keep the things they’re not ready to let go of.
My goal as a writer (and as a person searching for purpose) has always been to leave a mark. Whether that mark is left in one person, five, fifty, or five thousand.
Creative work is tireless.
And at times it seems pointless.
But the more feathers we’re willing to leave behind on the trail, the more chances they’ll be spotted, picked up, wondered at, and cherished2.
All this to say, to my friends and readers who are artists, at heart or in practice, keep at it. Get behind yourself and push if you have to. Push someone else, too, while you’re at it3.
We can’t all get famous, make lots of money, and win awards.
And most of us won’t.
But we can all leave a mark.
And most of us already have.
Thank you for joining me on this little departure.
Your next fiction feast is going to have a real meat and potatoes vibe. Not sure what that means? Me neither. I guess we’ll find out together on August 17th.
For the bird nerds: Lens says Northern Flicker or Red-Tailed Hawk.
To those of you who have pushed me. In some cases, repeatedly. Thank you.
💜 *hat tip* 🥂