Here’s a confession.
Every time I publish an essay here on Keitharsis…
Every time I reply to your email or comment…
Every time I meet with you…
I worry that I will disappoint you.
That my writing and thinking, which initially excited you, will fade.
That those emails, you once read immediately, join that list of to-get-to emails you never get to.
At the same time, I desperately want to delight you. Challenge you. Provoke you. Prune you. Inspire you.
And to do that means I must push beyond my current knowledge and abilities and explore new territory into which I can invite you and show you around.
Which makes it inevitabile that I will, at some point, disappoint you.
This tension isn’t limited to my interest in and focus on you.
I don’t want to disappoint myself either.
And I want to be delighted, challenged, provoked, pruned and inspired too.
As a spiritual person, I also don’t want to disappoint God. I want to delight God.
As a Southerner, I don’t want to disappoint my home and heritage. I want to be a native son and source of community pride.
In the cocoon of craft, it’s easy to forget all that’s riding on our success. It’s not until we move the products of our craft into society that we enter the tension of delight and disappointment.
It parallels our relationships, doesn’t it?
We want to delight those we love. And not disappoint.
But without disappointment, there can be no real delight. And without delight, there can be no real disappointment.
You can’t have one without the other.
I can delight you and myself. And will.
I can disappoint you and myself. And will.
I can delight myself, but disappoint you. And will.
I can delight you, but disappoint myself. And will.
It’s a tension.
But this tension creates energy.
And that energy propels my creative focus and efforts beyond my current abilities and comfort zone.
And my evolving focus and efforts create work that’s surprising, fresh and infused with tension.
And that tension will either engage or alienate you.
Delight or disappoint you.
And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
It’s what makes creative work so exciting.
If you are trying to avoid disappointment in your creative life, it will undermine you and your work.
Because in minimizing disappointment (for yourself or your audience) you will minimize delight too.
You risk disappointment every day through those you love, don’t you?
Why not take that risk in your creative life too?
You won't be disappointed!
Keitharsis explores creativity, roots and the portfolio life for writers and artists.