Completion

| September 17, 2016 | 0 Comments

In February of this year I wrote a column about an original musical play I have been writing with four others. Now, five months later, we are narrowing in on completion. The results of a year’s work are finally almost done. What amazes me the most is how five very different people, all in our senior years, worked so well together. We are not close friends, we don’t socialize and we all come from various walks of lives. Yet, in some ways, I have never been so involved with anyone like I am with this team.

Of course, my husband, family, co-workers and close friends are the relationships that have defined my life, but this is different. This is a collaborative creative endeavor that takes a willingness to put aside ego and listen with an open mind and open heart to what another is saying. There have been moments in this year of work that have fostered that concept. When you create something that you really believe in and someone else challenges your words, your idea, your music composition, at first take, it is an affront.

Knowing that you’ve offered what you think is your best shot, and then finding that someone, or more than one, wants you to change it, or worse yet, thinks they have a better way, often gets your back up…at first. Then what has happened in our group, is that the good of the show begins to win out. Instead of fighting for a personal version, the group has always settled in on the version that’s best for the play, no matter who wrote it.

I remember one conversation with a fellow writer who kept on insisting he wanted one word changed in another writer’s lyrics. The two of them started to go head to head on their word of choice. Both of these men were particularly alpha male types used to being in charge, one a retired business CEO and the other a retired Navy officer. I let a little time go by and when I saw neither was budging, I took the one who wanted to change the word aside and offered my “humble” advice. Pick your battles I advised him. Is one word important enough to cause strife in a heretofore excellent working relationship, I asked. Plus the word could easily stay. The other suggested word was just another option, not a change in the meaning of the song. It was just one word.

The beauty of this collaboration is that he listened. He weighed the importance of it and he chose to let it go. This happened more than once and each time we addressed it in a way that let everyone win because the project won. The project always won out.

The end result is a piece we are all proud of. Recently, after a year of writing dialogue, music and lyrics, we finally got to hear our work performed. A friend who is a singer got a group of fellow singers together to spend a few afternoons singing our music. It was so fulfilling to hear their voices bring to life a year’s worth of lyrics. We hoped it would sound good and we were delighted that it did. Some of the songs brought goosebumps to my arms.

I knew I liked the words and the music had been played on the piano by one of our composers, but this was more than I imagined. It gave us all such a sense of accomplishment, a feeling that is not always so available in retirement. In our senior years, the kids are raised, the career is a memory and we look for a sense of worth on other endeavors. This did it for all of us.

What happens from here is just bonus material. If others like it – great. If we find a vehicle to perform the show – even better. If not, we have just accomplished a major feat in the September of our lives and we feel just great and isn’t that what matters most.

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