It begins with a lie. We tell it innocently enough. Often very early in our lives and after one or more of our secret creative dreams appears to have failed. It goes something like this, "I don't have a creative bone in my body." And another, "Some of us weren't born to be artists." Or, the lie may be so subversive as to be almost undetectable, "I enjoy cooking, but it's not exactly what I would call creativity." In the course of two days I heard two people proclaim these lies about themselves. One happened to be the governor of Wyoming.
I was attending the Governor's Arts Awards gala. The word gala is misleading. Sure there was a cocktail hour where overpriced glasses of wine were served, a four-piece jazz combo, and silver sauce dishes full of ranch dressing (in honor of Wyoming, perhaps?), but the vibe and attire wouldn't meet most people's vision of formality. When the choral group from Gillette assembled on stage the director announced they would have to wait to begin because one of their tenors was still in the bathroom. The room erupted in laughter and away we went.
I settled in to enjoy the show. I had no idea the "show" would turn out to be our governor, Matt Mead. Prior to the gala, the only thing I could tell you about Governor Mead is that he and I are not political kindred spirits. He rose to the podium in a charcoal grey suit coat and a tie the same color as the red wine being poured into the banquet hall's stemware and began with a disclaimer, "I do not have a creative bone in my body." As evidence of this, he shared a story of the time he was a classical music announcer at his college radio station in Texas. We laughed heartily along as he told the tale of his many missteps. And again, when he noted how the MC for the evening, a middle-aged engineer, ran to the podium to adjust the microphone for an elderly woman just as she was referencing nude models in her speech. His timing was impeccable, the MC's and Governor Mead's. How strange, I thought, to tell us he's not creative as he performed a memorable comedy routine.
It's been my experience the people who proclaim they're not creative have hidden within themselves the most vivid imaginations and wondrous talents the world so desperately needs. Governor Mead's story proves him wrong. Anyone who can entertain a room full of four hundred people using humor and spontaneous one-liners has a unique temperament for live radio. So we embark on this forty-day journey of daily writing down our dreams, picking up a pen (or our favorite colored pencil) to undo the lie we've told ourselves for far too long.
You were born to create.