April 1, 2024

The Value of a Creative Partner

The Value of a Creative Partner

           I have a friend. No, really, I do. To protect the innocent, I’ll say his name is Don Muchow. You might recognize the name, but I assure you, it is almost coincidental. Okay, somewhat almost…ish.

            Don is someone I often crack wise about because (a) I am witty, (b) I am wise (or its close cousin, a wise-ass), and (c) he is the most compatible creative I have ever met, and ever will. Bold statement, I know: wise and wise-ass are indeed cousins. Look it up.

            Have you ever done something complicated, like making a soufflé or rerouting a Mustang’s electrical system, and pulled it off with almost no feeling of having made an effort? Great feeling, right? Now have you ever done something that complicated with another person and felt it too was carried out with almost no feeling of having made an effort? Like the whole thing was as easy as sliding down a greased gently-sloped shaded hill wearing well-lubricated jodhpurs?

            That’s what it’s like for me to engage in creative work with the nearly-hypothetical Don Muchow: I end up feeling greasy and have to send my jodhpurs to the cleaners. No, I kid. I end up feeling like we have carried off a complicated process that most people struggle to manage with the ease of a monkey peeling a banana. I had better similes, but “monkey peeling a banana” made me giggle, so there. Guess what I named the monkey.

            This is not to say that Don and I agree on every idea tossed out, or that all of his ideas, or most, or even many, are good. Nearly all of mine are, but I’m the exception writing this piece, so there. What Don and I have is a deep abiding respect for the abilities each of us have, and a willingness to accept what is offered as way to move the concept forward. In other words, we are focused on the best possible outcome, and the best possible process, more so than ego. So long as I get top billing.

            Don and I have created jokes, poems, stories, skits, novels, games, and assorted other notions quickly and effectively for years. I wish we’d done more of it, and we will do more of it as we move into another phase of our lives. I feel I can make more progress in 20 minutes co-creating with Don than I can on my own in two hours, and that is a valuable partner to have for any creative.

            Find your Don. Rent mine if you can afford it. If you want to be the best writer or creative you can be, search for a Don. Don’t ask for a perfect partner: that would be me and I’m not for rent, though I can be persuaded to part with my time in exchange for a substantial slug of valuable currency. Being a creative is often a lonely endeavor tackled day after day: just knowing that there is a Don out there that can make you 10 times better at what you do is incentive and inspiration.

            And did Don help me write this piece? Uh, no. He is “hypothetical.” So there.