Learned and Noted: People Aren’t Scary

Almost a year ago, I started interviewing creative people for this blog. I was convinced that most working artists were facing a lot of the same struggles that I was, but actually talking to people face-to-face seemed daunting.

I know. Maybe this sounds really ridiculous– why would talking to people seem intimidating?— but I’m a tad shy, and at the time was sucked into an insecure artist spiral. I was convinced: everyone has it together, and why would they want to talk to me? {Oh my, looking at the strength of insecurity is frightening.}

Luckily, Ben talked me down off the wire, and I wrote an email. To this face, because I knew she’d be nice.


Everyone knows that Jen Scott isn’t scary— she’s delightful. Also, reassuring, humble, and smart. I learned about books to tame my artistic demons. And, I was reminded that pretty much every artistic person is figuring out their journey a step at a time.

Talking to Jen led to talking to more people. STRANGERS! People I had admired but could never bring myself to make eye contact with. And, you know what? No one was scary. Not a single person that I’ve interviewed has been overly self-important or unwilling to be honest and forthright about the highs and lows of creating an artistic life. They’ve also been full of smart insight– that I get to benefit from!

It’s really quite an amazing realization: even the artist who gets the grants and has the established company still has days of uncertainty. I mean, we’re all just people.

I’m most grateful that writing that first email has given me the confidence to think long and hard about who I want to collaborate and share creative energy with– who do I want to exchange ideas over bourbon with? I believe that the ladies at Braid Creative put it this way: who do you want in your sandbox? If you could be having coffee or making art with anyone, who would you choose? Probably the people that scare you with their awesomeness, just a little. I’m here to remind you that a little fear is healthy, and that life’s too short for us not to be putting together kickass creative teams, and groups of friends that inspire us to think bigger than we would on our own.

So- ask someone intimidating to coffee. Which reminds me of smart words that Candy Simmons– one of the artists I interview– shared with me: Ask for what you want. The worst thing someone can say is ‘no’.

{The artists series will soon return with an interview from wise badass actress, Mo Perry.}


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