Last Monday, I attended the Great Plains Writer’s Conference at South Dakota State University.
I wanted to do something out of the ordinary to see what I might run into. The highlight of the day was hearing from a panel of collaborators about their experience creating the upcoming “Evening with Harvey Dunn’s Feminine Images.”
I’m going. Fo sho.
I love dance, I love Harvey Dunn and I can’t wait to see these paintings come to life. It was interesting to hear from the panel about their experience with collaboration on a creative work. They all said that working together with other artists improved their work. The secret of collaboration? The sum is greater than the individual parts. Every person said this in some version or another. Bottom line, their work was better because others were involved.
On Tuesday of last week, John and I had a chance to attend the Central Plains Dairy Expo with our neighbors who have a dairy. A dinner was served and Phil Vassar played afterwards. What I loved about this night on the town, was the way Phil Vassar started his concert. As it turned out, he worked at a dairy farm for a summer while growing up. So, rather than starting with one of his own songs, he and his band created a new tune. Since the entire audiance was made up of dairymen, they wrote a song called, “The Milk Man Blues.”
They had never played it before. No trial run. No dress rehearsal. Just a few moments of songwriting collaboration before coming on stage. It was a fresh, funny, bluesy tune that spoke directly to the lives of each dairymen in the room. One line went, “Cause I’m your milk man baby, from my head down to my boots.”
It was awesome! So spot on for the audience.
Collaboration #3, #4, #5….
These two seemingly unrelated events were a good lesson for me. Now, I’m on the look out for ways I can collaborate with other artists/writers/quilters/humans. Collaboration is a powerful tool. And, I’m going to start looking for ways to be apart of it whenever I can.
Currently, I’m collaborating on one project with my Uncle. We’re putting together a book about my Grandfather. Every week I send my uncle drafts of stories for him to look over and edit. Each time he sends them back with comments, thoughts and corrections. When both my Uncle and I have looked over the drafts they are so much better. Our collaboration improves them far beyond what I could do on my own.
Thanks for reading! Please let me know your thoughts & experiences on collaboration.