On Creating

I just read something that resonated with me. From an unlikely source at best.

This was it: “You should make something. You should bring something into the world that wasn’t here before. It doesn’t matter what it is. It doesn’t matter if it’s a table or a film or gardening — everyone should create. You should do something, then sit back and say, “I did that.”

This gem comes from British comedian Ricky Gervais in an interview with Esquire. It struck me for a number of reasons. 1) I don’t typically see Gervais in a profound light. 2) It’s strikingly honest. 3) It succinctly sums up a issue that I’ve been struggling with. Creating. Essentially, that’s what I’ve built a nascent career around: creating. As a writer, I’m creating. And as a creative director at work, I’m creating. I strongly stand by Gervais’ sentiment here. That we should all create, and be proud of our creations, however minute we may think they are. The business of creating is no easy business. It’s stuffed with self-doubt, risk, humility, failure, struggle, beauty, and untouchable pleasure. It’s at once rewarding and then crushingly debilitating. It’s unpredictable. But there’s always the opportunity to stand back after creating, manifesting and say, “I did that.” It’s not about pride, it’s more about fulfillment. About pushing yourself and putting something out there for others to possibly glean something from.

I’m heading back to rural Ecuador in early March. I’m going to be heading back to a community high in the Andes Mountains called Totoras. I was in the community nearly two years ago helping to break ground on a school with Free The Children and a group of university students from across Canada. As the school has recently been completed, I will be back with a new group of students to work on a water project to ensure clean, potable water is piped into the community and the school.

It’s always rewarding, sure, but especially to stand back from a school you helped build with your own two hands and say, “I did that.”