You Don't Know What You're In the Middle Of

Whew. The last several weeks have been a whirlwind, but I’ve just arrived at my hotel in Idaho Falls (headed to Jackson Hole tomorrow for yet another weekend of weddings), and in this exact moment I’m feeling oddly calm.

It’s…*very* quiet in this hotel, as well as refreshingly freezing, and the sunset looks otherworldly through the smoke from The Sagehen Fire, whose flames I saw quite clearly from the freeway about 40 minutes ago…

So, I thought I’d sit down an write a Deep Dive for my favorite little internet family. The first Deep Dive of Artifice Season 6!

Are you in love with this season, so far? It’s the first time I’ve planned out and recorded the whole batch of episodes before releasing them. The season feels like a beautiful dance between thematic cohesion and incredible diversity of guest perspectives.

Like old friends, my August guests came to me with such open hearts, sharing heaps of wisdom through warmth and joy.

Daxon and I talked about the importance of regularly finding oneself as “the weakest person in the room.” It’s such a gift to have your perspective rocked in this kind of way. It reminds you that you have SO much to discover. It can reignite your curiosity—sending you pulling on brand new strings, setting out on unfamiliar paths.

Now a full-time professional Dungeon Master, Daxon’s history feels like a purposeful meandering. With a background in acting, writing, and…psychology (specifically, conflict resolution), what may have once looked like a hodge-podge of skillsets and interests has left him perfectly poised for his current [very enchanting] line of work.

He weaves his deep, real-world understanding of protagonist vs. antagonist blurriness together with his creative writing skills, planning out elaborate plots and characters for specific groups of individuals. Then he performs the role of Dungeon Master, drawing on his days in theater.

It’s a wonderful reminder – you never know what you’re making. You don’t know what you might be in the middle of.

Along similar lines, Josh shared a thought (originally inspired by This American Life podcast host, Ira Glass – one of my favorite creative minds of all time) about how a lot of budding creatives give up before they start making works they feel proud of. It takes time and trust to push through the learning phase, the testing phase, and heaps of failure in order to land (if temporarily) with sure footing.

There’s an earnestness here that I can’t get enough of. In the vice grip of capitalism, it’s SO difficult to remember to lean IN to heartful endeavors that aren’t guaranteed to succeed, or whose ends aren’t entirely clear. But it feels so phenomenally important.

Wynter also learned this lesson from a childhood mentor who encouraged her to seek out challenges if ever she began to feel too comfortable. It’s simple, but profound—a wonderful thing to internalize at an early age.

With similar flexibility, Wynter keeps an open mind about what her work should mean to its audiences. It doesn’t need to be the arrival point for a consumer. It can be the very beginning of a journey of discovery. She says “even if my words just create an avenue to what you really needed, it served its purpose.”

I love this idea. Once again, it feels so open. There’s SO much room here. There’s room in this paradigm for every artist, and every sort of audience. It’s simultaneously proud and generous.

And again. You just don’t know what you’re making. You don’t know who it’s for. You don’t know where it’s headed. You don’t know when you’ll be finished—what feels like an ending may just be the closing of an early chapter.

I often feel a bit on the spot when asked about what I’m making or what my goals are. Like Daxon, Josh, and Wynter…I’m not always sure. I’m following the muse here and there, just moving where I feel inspired to move. And as I’ve shared here before, I’m often told that my projects aren’t cohesive enough—that I have a branding problem.

But…I have a sneaking suspicion that the zoomed-out version of my works is perfectly whole. I’m not sure where it’s going yet, but I know there’s purpose there.

Thanks for being with me “through the glass, darkly.” It’s an honor to share each discovery with you.