I’ve written about my friend La Touché before, and as you can probably tell, I’m quite taken by the boy’s outlook on life. He turned up in my life when creativity and inspiration was at a bit of a low (almost non existent) point, and he was like a breath of fresh adventurous air.
We fast became friends, but we also became something more important. We became creative partners. It happened quite organically, over a cup of mint tea (with honey) and a discussion of our mutual love for children’s books – he, being the first to tell anyone not to grow up (it’s a trap) and me being nose deep in colourful picture filled pages at any given moment, much like Matilda.
This mutual love quickly turned to ideas, adventures, future plans. And before you know it, we were scribbling away, crafting our own book. I’m not going to go in to detail about what it’s about – because the internet can be a shifty place and this idea is too good to be nabbed – but it’s very exciting and something we’re incredibly proud of!
Yesterday, after meeting with our illustrator, I left the pub on such a high. And I realised it was because of more than just this awesome project coming to life. It was because I am doing said project with someone I trust, someone I have huge respect for, and someone with the best vibes I’ve ever known.
And that got me thinking just how important and valuable it is to have a creative partner.
Because being creative is sometimes really hard. It’s long been said that artists “suffer for their art”. But why? Well, I think it’s ultimately because being creative is all about giving up a piece of yourself and then showing it to the wider world. And that can be terrifying enough, but even more so if you’re in it alone.
Having a partner to bounce ideas off, to show that piece of yourself to first, who is on your same wavelength and who gets excited about the same things that you do makes the process exponentially better.
It also means you have double the ideas. And I’m a big believer in great ideas coming from anywhere. In fact, the feature length script I wrote whilst at the New York Film Academy originated from me liking the name of one of the subway stations I went past every day. That alone was enough to spark a ninety minute script. And that just came from one brain. Imagine what can be achieved with two!
Having a partner in creative endeavours (and/or crime) also means you learn an awful lot about yourself. Working with someone else teaches you different perspectives, and, shines a light on the way that you work, which you may not necessarily think about on a regular basis. It also, in my case with La Touché, has been a huge learning curve in who I am, personally. Having someone to grow alongside has unlocked a significant amount of confidence and self belief. All this from a children’s book. I tell you, I truly am living the fairytale dream.
And, in conjunction with that, you get to try double the things too! I’ve helped La Touché on a number of projects that would never have crossed my path if I was doing all this on my own, simply because he has different ways of looking at life and different things going on in his life. It’s real exciting!
It also gives you a great excuse to go ‘fact finding’ and ‘researching’! The great thing about creativity is that it requires imagination. And bucket loads of it at that. Especially when writing a children’s book. So all kinds of adventures are encouraged! Exhibitions, museums, galleries….or even just sitting outside the Tate Modern, on the grass, in the sun, getting your socks grubby.
I guess what it comes down to, is that things are generally just better when they’re shared. And going on a creative journey, coming up with ideas and stories with someone who is equally as weird as you (actually, who am I kidding, I’m definitely weirder) is really cool.
Last month La Touché told me that for him, the key to happiness, success and general positivity is like playing keepy-uppy with a balloon. You just have to keep the balloon afloat.
And let me tell you something. The boy’s not wrong. Keeping that balloon up is sometimes a challenge. But when it is up, and when you realise it’s because what you’re doing is the right thing, the exciting thing, the passionate, creative, so awesome your cheeks hurt from smiling thing…then there’s just nothing stopping you.