Put It Out There – Whatever “It” is For You
“You were invited, and you showed up, and you simply cannot do more than that. They might throw you out…but the ballroom is often more welcoming and supportive than you could ever imagine.”
– Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic
I was flipping through Elizabeth Gilbert’s delightful book, Big Magic; Creative Living Beyond Fear, the other day and came across one of my favourite passages. It’s a great story and since it made me laugh out loud, again, I thought I’d share it with you.
It’s a good reminder about finding the courage to put whatever it is we have to offer to the world out there. Sure…we might get laughed at, scorned, criticized, teased and/or rejected. But if so, so what? We’re tough. We can take it.
But chances are pretty good that if we love what we’ve come up with, others probably will, too. And if not, oh well. If we enjoyed making (or baking, creating, designing, writing, composing, sketching, building, painting, sculpting, etc) it, then the effort was worth it.
Here’s the basic story from the Big Magic book:
There once was a young American painter. He saved up all his money and went to live in Paris to be inspired by art and beauty. He lived on the cheap for months, painting and showing his art to anyone who would look. One day, he got chatting with some wealthy people at a cafe and they invited him to a masquerade ball at a beautiful chateau in the country.
He said yes.
He worked really hard on creating his costume, rented a car and off he went to the ball. The butler confirmed his name on the guest list and announced his arrival. Everyone turned to look and the party ground to a halt. It was in this moment that the young man realized his mistake. This was a themed party, in which all the aristocrats were elaborately dressed in period costume.
He was dressed as a lobster: a home-made lobster, complete with red spandex tights, painted red face, bobbing antennas and red ballet slippers.
But did he run back out the door, like many people would’ve (myself included)? No. He swallowed his pride, held his head high, stepped onto the dance floor and had a wonderful evening. People loved his audacity and willingness to roll with the punches.
He was the life of the party.
“We did not come all this great distance, and make all this great effort, only to miss the party at the last moment.”
– Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic
No, we didn’t. So if you have a book to write, a blog to start, a song to sing, a poem to compose, a house to build, a painting to create, a drawing to sketch, a business to start or an education to get, do it.
Get thy butt on the dance floor of life while the party’s still in swing.
And even if you look as bad as Elaine did on Seinfeld, hey, that’s life. We’re still talking about that episode, aren’t we 🙂
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Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is the CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and the Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her weekly blog, please sign up here.