I’ve been spending more time with different members of Princeton, West Virginia’s creative community. It has me wondering: what does it mean to be a part of the fabric of a creative community? What is that strange feeling when you can feel your work unfolding as a part of and not separate from the larger organism? When you can feel similar things happening around you with other artists – people who have learned hard lessons and are making another go at it with what they’ve learned. What happens when you tear down your walls and realize that there are creative people right next to you making interesting things that make the world more vibrant and colorful?

I want to share that there is some magic in being a part of a creative community, when you begin to see that there is so much more potential when you work with other people. That odd feeling of working, not being able to see the whole of what is being built but being able to sense the energy around it. To feel invigorated by it. Supported and comforted by the common human struggle that is creating in a world where creativity is often given the night shift in carved out time with the last of our energy reserves.

It is something that we must fight to do regularly. To blow the dust off it, to protect it from all the various life obligations that creep into its space. But we do this together. And as each of us are victorious the whole grows and moves in ways that we can’t imagine. Ideas come in and we work with the wisdom that they can grow into something magnificent. Working alongside each other we can see clearly in each other’s faces, in each other’s stories, in each other’s tough day that we are not in control, that the paths are long. That some days they seem impossible, but if we keep at it we see the whole grow together, like proud parents. We see healing. We see light and vibrancy where there was darkness and despair.

What does it mean to be part of this quilt of creative making? Perhaps we are so early in the quilt building in our community that we are just at the stage where enough of us are realizing that we are building a whole. We are just looking around and seeing others next to us sewing squares and have connected in our head that we are building a quilt. How exciting is that?

I don’t know what shape it will take. No one does. But we can be sure that it will be magnificent because it is the sum total of the power of our humanity as a community when we bring the best out of each other.

Go, fight, win.