Rodriguez’s memoir about the twenty something kid who became a major player in the film world reminds young artists of something important:
No matter how many people you drag in with you to create that safety in numbers feeling you’re going for, at some it’s going to be all up to you, and you need to be prepared for that.
And not that teamwork and collaboration aren’t important and necessary for doing great projects. But we must be smart about advocating for ourselves. In fact, we might consider not factoring in anybody helping us at all. We should expect that people aren’t here to facilitate our work. And we should never wait around for some magical mentor to materialize on our doorstep to guide us into the promised land.
At least, not in the early stages of our endeavor.
Campbell’s myth of the hero’s journey comes to mind. In act one, when our protagonist commits to her quest, her mentor magically appears. This supernatural figure presents the hero with some kind of artifact like a ring or a necklace or a light saber or ruby slippers that will aid her later in the quest.
This relationship makes for an amazing movie. And as audience members, it inspires hope in each of us that someday our mentor will come.
But let’s not idealize our own journey too much. Let’s not harbor the romantic expectation that we deserve to have our own personal mentor show up on our doorstep and send us on a journey of living happily ever after.
It’s a goddamn lonely road, especially during the first few hundred miles. And if anyone is going to champion the powers that our unique organism brings into nature, it’s going to be us.
Just start building it, don’t expect anyone to come, and see if you can find joy and satisfaction and meaning in that alone.
That way, everything else that shows up will be an extra spoon of salsa on the enchilada.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
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