While rushing to class on the University of Cincinnati's campus today - piping hot bagel in hand, already running late - the universe aligned. In the midst of working out a poetry/photography project via Facebook Messenger with the extraordinary model Luna Eclipse, I stumbled upon a trio of girls stretching to fill in outlined flowers on a canvas taped to TUC's wall. In that contemplative moment, one foot out the door, lightning struck. Hard.
Last week, I touched on how big and scary the Writing World is, like the Big Bad Wolf from Red Riding Hood. I spoke about writing communities, groups, and friends. However, when I gazed at those girls and realized what I was speaking to Luna about, I realized that I had failed to mention the beauty of collaboration: working with someone else to achieve something greater than yourself. Luna Eclipse, Aubree to me, is a young woman that I have been friends with for more than six years. Upon seeing a few samples of my work through my Facebook writer's page, she reached out to me, hoping to use some of my pieces as captions to her posts.
I jumped at the chance. Why? Because as a young, hopeful writer, opportunities are everything. Not only is working with Aubree an exciting and creatively-fulfilling process, but it also allows both of us to support each other in what we love.
Art is intimate. To begin with, most writers keep their work to themselves. It's personal. Part of them. Sometimes, it takes time before they branch out. Sometimes, they do immediately. Other times, they never do. Aubree and I have both stepped out of our bubbles to pursue what we love, and I am thrilled to share even a small amount of our journey's together.
On a less emotional note, collaboration also equals: exposure, exposure, exposure. Of course, exposure can be good, and exposure can be bad. When an opportunity presents itself, always weigh the options. In my case, having known Aubree for years and watched her since the start of her career, I know her. I know what she stands for. I know where she would like to go. To be. Sometimes, you might not have such a close relationship or complete understanding of the opportunity that springs in front of you.
So, ask questions. Get to know the chance like a friend. Or, a friend's friend, where you know just enough about them to introduce them to someone else. Think about what they can do for you, but more importantly, what you can do for them. Consider how much of a commitment the project is. Discover their goals and aspirations. Dig deep inside yourself, and contemplate: Is this a good fit for me? For them?
But don't let an opportunity pass you by just because you don't know enough about it, or because of the things you've heard. People will surprise you.
Please, share your thoughts with us below! Is there an opportunity you were glad you took? Regretted that you didn't? And if there is any writerly topic or subject you wish to see discussed, don't be shy!