What is it that drives us to create?
What is it that makes the sometimes simple yet sometimes complicated act of turning something imagined into a reality so powerful?
I think it goes without saying that it’s a question with no easy answer – perhaps no answer at all. I believe everyone possesses some measure of that creative impulse – be it minimal or all-consuming – and everyone has something different that sparks it.
For some, it’s the desire to make the world a better place. For others, it’s a need to communicate an abstract idea in a finite way. Sometimes, it’s as simple as catharsis, the sense of pleasure, release and even relief that happens when something new is put out into the world.
I’ve been considering this impulse a lot lately, in part because I’ve found myself engaging with a couple of projects, one large and the other fairly small.
Their level of success, in quantifiable terms, might be difficult to ascertain. But in terms of creativity, they are wonders to behold.
The first is the annual Rock Fore! Dough concert.
Considering this well-established event from a creative point of view might seem something of a stretch, and most years, I would agree. But this year, the concert discarded much of what had proved successful in previous years – namely its driving range venue and habit of booking acts with some significant name-brand recognition – opting instead to try some new things and new acts. In the process of doing so, it re-created itself.
The truth is, this year did not rate, in terms of numbers, as one of the more successful Rock Fore! Dough concerts. Attendance was down with some of the established audience siphoned away by talented acts not yet enjoying the benefits of stardom, a new venue and another high-profile concert (Lynyrd Skynyrd) later in the week.
But that, in the long run, might not be the point.
Rolling the dice, the organizers booked acts such as Needtobreathe and Grace Potter (who gave the audience a stunning set) who have yet to release that one hit that makes them a household name.
I predict that a couple years down these same acts, unless they are feeling unusually charitable, will be out of reach.
And in moving the concert from the First Tee driving range in Augusta to the Lady Antebellum Pavilion in Columbia County, the infrastructure has become a much simpler, and less costly, affair.
I believe that being creative – and courageous – this year will pay dividends in years to come.
The second project is The Dream, a slim volume written by Augusta’s own Tara Rice Simkins and illustrated by Leah Campbell Badertscher.
Part children’s story, part tone poem and part treatise on the importance of finding that place where we are all at peace, it succeeds not because it is complicated, but rather because of its simplicity.
It is a gentle reminder that truth should never be something we seek out, but rather seek in. The words, accompanied by Badertscher’s art, which beautifully straddles the line between the figurative and abstraction, allow audiences, be they innocent or experienced, to apply the simple lesson to their own lives.
The Dream is available at www.leahcb.com.