The Dreamtime: What do you want to create? 

Convener(s):Andy Harmon 

Participants: A group of really wonderful people who included… (please add yourselves to this)

Summary of discussion, conclusions and/or recommendations:

Motto: The most difficult obstacle to getting what you want is the story you tell yourself about why you can’t have it.

The group looked at that space where Ideas and Projects are born within us. We began with Stella who talked about a project that had been emerging for her for the last 15 years, but had no particular shape yet. She told us some of what she did know about it. (and later broke out the play dough and began to both draw a picture and place little figures on it, playing around with what was coming up for her.)

Then we brought up the issue of sometimes you can create a piece of writing but suddenly lose heart with it. You feel ‘oh what’s the use?’ or ‘I’m not good enough…’

This brought up the value of courage, and the challenge posed by fear. Sometimes fear can help you as in the fear of not meeting a deadline pushes you, but sometimes it can block you. We talked about how fear is endemic to creativity because, in a very real sense, all creativity is a form of rule breaking (or bending). This brings up all sorts of feelings sometimes ranging from not being good enough to being downright wrong! And that these feelings end up stopping you. So how do some people manage to deal with this problem?

Then I, Andy, talked about a play that I’ve been working on for nearly 20 years, and shared a bit of what it was about and how I’ve wrestled with it, knowing both beginning and ending, but being deeply stuck in the middle of it…!

We talked about techniques that can help deal with the fear: Writing on a whiteboard, for example or having a deadline that forces you to finish.

This led us to think about Responsibility. What if you don’t have a producer or theatre company (or TV company) to commission your script and set the deadline? What then?

So what’s stopping you from creating a group of friends/colleagues who you can be responsible to? Not as critics to ‘improve’ the work (there are plenty of those), but actually to support the simple act of creation, when your dream comes into it’s first manifestation – to help you deal with the fear. I mentioned a group my wife Anita started in the USA called ‘The Mentor Group’, to help new writers develop their confidence.

Then we returned back to the central theme which was: What are your dreams, what do you want to create? Dreams are really intimate, so often difficult even to share – sometimes the fear so grips us we won’t even admit our dreams to ourselves. So I began by sharing my dreams for myself for this year and then gradually everyone began to do so. We heard from just about everyone. A chorus. A one woman show. Creating a living from one’s art. A play that’s been in the works a long time. A space where people can share their dreams and inspire others with them. And more… (please add yours!)

One dream of note was coming into reality even as we spoke, The Hackney Rose, just around the corner, a playing and performance space for people to develop THEIR DREAMS. 

We talked about the issue of Motivation. Jen shared her idea that there are only two motivators. Fear (that pushes us away from doing something) and Hunger (that draws us in to doing something). Angela amplified this when she talked about learning to wear the ‘dress of Entitlement’. Claiming the right to create! Taking the responsibility in your own hands. And if what motivates you is the hunger to seize the limelight, to show off, to be visible and applauded, what’s wrong with that?

“Your playing small does not serve the world”

Lastly, we looked at the issue of the boundary between dream and manifestation. As one of us asked, should you try to carry the ‘dreamtime’ into real life? My answer is that there is a real difference, but that It’s a question of perspective. Phelim talked about developing the part of the self that’s ‘The Witness’ that can provide the perspective to get a larger view, to step back from the act of creating.

Please feel free everyone to add things I’ve forgotten… (many apologies to all those who made great contributions but I didn’t know your names!)