Make a plan, the gods say.
I dare you.
Ok, ready? You’re me:
You put on your denim kilt, blue button up shirt, and patchwork hat. Your beard is tidy and trim, and your socks pulled up. You load up the car with your husband, a tupperware container of crayons, and a bag of chocolates.
After a half hour, you’re at a little Unitarian Universalist church near the foothills.
You unload, begin to arrange chairs in a big, circular meeting room, and you wait. When you can’t wait any longer, you step outside. If you’re going to be nervous, you might as well do so in private.
While outside, you write down your plan (that one I dared you to make) another couple times to make sure you remember it. Your plan isn’t a script; it’s an outline. The plan involves no more than 5 steps, and now you’re beginning to wonder if you can make 5 steps stretch into an hour and a half.
That damn cricket won’t stop chirping.
Your husband comes out, gives you a pep-talk, and you realize you’ve got to go to the bathroom. Of course you do.
You make a dash for the john, then check your watch.
The workshop begins when you step in front of the group. It isn’t ceremonious. You’ve chosen not to be introduced. The first thing you do is invite the group of grownups to make abstract representations of themselves using crayons and glitter paint.
Right way they’re giggling, and drawing, and a couple look very serious about their coloring.
You’re coloring, too. You’re a big tree.
Stragglers come in. (Not according to plan.) You catch them up to speed and check your watch.
You tell everyone to write a word — one word — on their page which represents themselves.
Brows furrow, and people write.
More stragglers enter.
You collect the papers, and start to wonder if everyone thinks you’re crazy.
Once collected, you redistribute the artwork in a different order so that everyone has someone else’s drawing.
Then, introductions. You ask everyone to introduce themselves by describing the picture in front of them. You show them,
“I am a swirly, complicated movement of energy, that is both soft on the edges and pointy in some spots.”
You then tell everyone how creativity is a part of your life, and you invite everyone to do the same.
It’s about that time you realize how much you’re sweating.
It’s also around this time that you realize that people are saying some really interesting things. They’re bringing to the space ideas and concerns that you didn’t anticipate. They’re lighting up the room in ways that had nothing to do with your plan.
It gets back to you, and you freeze for a second.
Plan…plan…what was that damn plan…
You stumble through a story about a Druid festival, and then you invite people to sing.
Then something changes.
You think to yourself,
Singing. Music. That’s right. That’s what I do. That’s what this is about.
Then, you chuck the plan. You start to talk from your heart. When you do, you remember that the whole point of the night was to connect people to that creative fire — that fire in their heart. This seems possible now, because you’ve connected with yours.
Time has flown. People have shared their limitations, their creative outlets, and their doubts. They’ve laughed, and they’ve even given a collective “Hmm” once or twice.
With your heart open, and the fire lit, you lead people to the creation of a song.
The one man with a drum begins to play. You start to sing, and people join you. It’s call and response.
You work your way through all of the words, changing the melody up with each one. People are singing. The drum is playing. You’ve created a song out of people’s words, and they’re singing it back to you.
You realize that this has all been a kind of ritual, one which began with child-like chaos and ended with a group song. You created something from nothing, and got everyone to sing.
Today I’ll submit the workshop to Pantheacon. I’ll call it: The Songcrafting Workshop: Creating Ritual Song.
It will likely be quite different at the conference. There will be different activities, different people, and of course…
…a new plan.