The Fellowship Of An Artist
Diving back into pursuing creating full time once more, I have come to realize how important friendships are for an artist. Not only a friendship but a type of fellowship. A deep bond formed with people that are supportive and perhaps seeking a creative life themselves. People who are also venturing into the wilderness, carrying the burden of a ring of power.
As in The Lord of the Rings, a fellowship is formed by beings with a similar goal: to destroy the ring to save their world. Obviously creating art does not have that type of high stakes though I do believe art saves lives. However, it is not as dire as the nine's journey and we aren't out to destroy anything (unless that's your form of art in which case, go for it). We are out to create something. A novel, a film, a masterpiece, a musical. Whatever it may be, we are all seeking it actively. Being around like minded people helps to keep hope alive. You can relate, vent, cry, celebrate together. It's important to feel that same exhaustion and elation with others who truly get it. They understand maybe you have given up 35 times but you are trying again and they've been there. They know the struggle. They know the ground you've covered.
That being said, they don't need to be artists themselves. People who appreciate art, are active readers, love movies, or just love you. Those are the ones you want waiting to fight some orcs so you can bust through to the next step in your project. They are the ones who ask to read the first draft or buy you books on writing so you can keep learning. The ones you take class with or text you to make sure you went to that audition. They are in the battle with you, bows drawn, ready to fire.
You meet so many more along the way to take with you. You take class, do a play, find a writing buddy and suddenly, you have the horse lords of Rohan by your side, riding with you, swinging their swords high. It is more than your fellowship that take you where you want to be. Sometimes there are tunnels and caves you can't navigate and you need to find someone who has been there. Your fellowship most likely is in the same timeline with you; experiencing it for the first time like you are. You may need a wizard to give you and your companions safe passage through a mountain. Better yet, you may need a high elf like Galadriel to give you a gift to help you along the way. We all could use a light of Earendil from time to time to fight the darkness.
Your fellowship will be there if you falter or fall. When Aragorn is thought to be dead, Legolas and Gimli despair but keep going because they know they have to. I left for three years and fell out of touch with my passion to pursue art full time. I was in a place where it was difficult and I let myself take a huge step back. Kind of like falling off a cliff. But when Aragorn returns, very much alive, the fellowship falls right back in line under his leadership. They accept him back with open arms and pick right back up where they were. You come back into the fold and your people say "Great! Welcome back. Here's what we learned and where we are going. Let's go!" You pick up your sword and head out into Helm's Deep.
It's crucial to have a supportive community. Many thrive off of competition but I think it is pivotal to have those closest to you celebrate your wins with you instead of shooting them down. You celebrate theirs as they come and look ahead together at all your goals, just beyond the horizon, in the fires of Mount Doom....or something with a sunnier name.
Your fellowship is formed by passion and heart. It is there in the small moments and the big ones. It has ups and downs, wins and losses. It may seem futile at times and the road ahead darkens. You could get lost and take time to find your way back. Someone could leave yet stay with you in spirit like Boromir.
You need it. I know I do. I need those glasses to clink when I achieve a dream. I want to hear their troubles and the roads they've taken. I want to talk until my heart is exhausted and heavy with the fire and love my fellowship has for their dreams and for each other. I want to spend my time not only seeking out the right path for myself but also for the fellowship as a whole. If I find something I know one of them could use, I share it immediately.
We are all heading to Mordor. It is the unknown, it is terrifying and we don't know if we will make it out alive. Well, that's dramatic but you know what I mean. Pursuing art is fucking insane much like a hobbit taking a ring to be destroyed when he's never left the Shire. You step out of your comfort zone and you take risks. You meet challenges along the way like cave trolls and Uruk-hai. You can always turn back and give up. Return to your life in the Shire and probably be very happy and content.
But there would always be the question of what if you had kept going. What if you never gave up and reached the mountain and tossed everything you got into that fire and watched it burn? What if you and the fellowship succeeded? You might just save the world. Or Middle Earth, at the very least.
Find your fellowship. This hobbit is sure glad to be back with hers.