And Loneliness Abates

There is a punch of recognition when someone puts into words something we’ve felt but never had a vocabulary for.

In elementary school: throw-up burp. In middle and high school: the enemy of my enemy is my friend. My first jobs: Do work you’re proud to put your name on. Recently: the artist must not defraud the audience.

It’s a kind of communion when that punch happens, isn’t it? We have a common language for a common feeling. And loneliness abates.

Let’s apply that to those moments when we or someone we care for says, “I want to write, but what do I have to say?” Or, “I want to make documentaries, sculptures they’d put in Central Park, songs that score Spielberg movies, but what do I have in me that’s original?”

Dolly Parton once said that she sings about stuff people have sung about since the beginning of time - hearts breaking, breaking hearts, lying, cheating, lusting. But nobody’s done it in my voice, she said.

So there’s the red hot originality we have in us: Our singular way of articulating what it’s like to be human in the world at this moment.

When we do that, there’s a chance that we will put into words something someone else has felt and never had a vocabulary for. How likely is the chance? Who knows. But what we do know is that it’s a whole lot higher than if we didn’t give our voice to the world to begin with.

If we write, script, score, build - however we raise our singular voice - we join an incredible lineage of humans who have, since the beginning of time, added to the never-vast-enough vocabulary of what it means to be human.

And loneliness abates.

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