So, here’s what’s going on….a brief (by my usual standard) post…
Liam Barrington-Bush and I are currently working on a joint post about Occupy. It came about from a chat we were having on Friday, where Liam said ‘Veena, you should blog about that…’ and then as the conversation carried on he said ‘Veena, let’s do a post together!’ Right on – intentional collaboration (we are constantly in states of unintentional collaboration, no?). Love it!
But you know, of course, collaboration isn’t always as easy as we might assume or want it to be – even with good friends and people who seem to share our world view. Often, when it comes to close collaboration we start to see differences and distinctions. Often, because it is people we are close to, the process feels more difficult than were we to do it with a stranger.
Writing together, in particular (but this might be overstating it – this might equally apply to most other forms of expressive collaboration), is tricky – because it centres around voice. We are connecting ourselves with statements that we are putting out to the world. We are entering the realm of shared responsibility. It is one thing to write a sentence and own it and put it out there. It is another to co-create a sentence, own it and put it out there.
It is a process/dynamic of connecting our distinct voices to create a unique third voice. Sometimes it is easy to forget how challenging this can be. I suspect we both thought our ideas are so similar there isn’t much in writing jointly. Ahh, ideas might be similar, but voices are unique – tone, points of reference, ways of framing, emphasis etc. A union of voices is a balancing act. It involves give and take; it is a constant pushing foward and pulling back.
This process is reminding me of my work with the School of Movement Medicine. In one exercise you move across the room in pairs seeking to connect with the other person and what is alive in them, while retaining your own rhythm. Writing together is an attempt to capture that movement – to capture the movement that embodies two together and the dynamic created between them.
Collaborating is a bit scary. We were working on it yesterday and I found myself regularly asking – would I feel comfortable being associated with these words, with this way of making the point? Wouldn’t I add this, this, and this? What aspects of my truth are essential to embed into what we are saying together? And how best to embed them – how to keep my distinct rhythm and movement while joining in with someone else’s – and also keeping open their freedom to do the same? I definitely feel vulnerable to losing my truth, to mis-representing myself.
Co-creation, collaboration – as Liam tweeted on Sunday – ‘it ain’t easy, but few worthwhile things are.’
It ain’t easy, and I do have moments of feeling vulnerable. But I’m enjoying the dance we’re in, trying to think and write together. In this process I’m connecting equally with my strength, as well a my vulnerability. I’m relishing in the delicate, empowering journey of going deeper into myself in order to connect with another truthfully and – importantly – create with them a shared voice that speaks to the world from a place of integrity.