I think it began during my childhood. I would make something and another child would copy it. It did not feel like a compliment to be copied, it felt like a hit and run. And, as a child, I have had other painful thefts that happened to me that made me realize at a young age that people could and did take pieces of you without your consent.
Yes, I fully realize that we all travel to the same raw, pulsing place where creative energy has not yet taken form, and I also realize that creations or creative ideas cannot be owned. But sometimes you know that a person’s idea or work of art has been a direct rendering of your fresh inspiration, and it can hurt.
I don’t feel the same ouch when someone lifts parts of my older blog posts or ideas from past art works; I feel that they are old enough to look after themselves. It’s the new work that feels too fragile to have copies made of it. I just shared some new shy poems, which may still be in-progress and was not sure if they were ready to leave the safety of my notebook. Someone asked if they could photocopy them so she could reflect more on the writing before she gave comments. That was too much; a strong no emerged from my mouth. It was as if she had asked me if my several-week-old child could go with her for a sleep over. I know we all have a different birthing and incubation process for our work. But I feel it is important for me to really listen to my body and understand what I need when producing art and sharing it with the world. Yes, there are risks and fears that it
could be copied, not understood, treated disrespectfully and/or laughed at. And there are needs; a wanting to be affirmed by another, admired, held and respected.
I have revisited this for myself because I want to be mindful of what feels right. I feel that sometimes when I share work too fast, or I see copies of it emerge before it has strong enough legs to stand on its own, then I shut down. The creative process does not stop for most of us at the moment of birth. Many of us are attached to the tender, initial-incubation phase, first showing phase, and early days and weeks when we are still not
sure if we will go back in and make changes. Then when it is done, really done we can slowly let it go.
Does this resonate with you? How do you get through the early days, weeks and sometimes months of showing your new creative efforts to the world? And how does it affect you when you see direct shameless copies of your work?
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