photo-3Once upon a time, two girls rent an apartment together in D.C. Let’s call them Thelma and Louise. No, let’s call them Laverne and Shirley. Yes. One day, Shirley decides to set Laverne up with her friend, uh, Baxter. (Squiggy was way too interesting.)

Laverne agrees to go out with Baxter, and they proceed to have a decent time. (Yes, decent. Uh-oh is right.) They go to art gallery and then to dinner where they discussed the art they saw. Baxter was an architect, if Laverne remembers correctly. But that doesn’t really matter. What matters is that Laverne is a writer. It matters, in this case, more than architecture, because while Baxter got a degree and went to work every day and did the work asked of him and returned home every day, Laverne had gone to Writer School and now went to work every day with her head full of ideas, then she worked all day long on a variety of projects, some written and some not, and after work she’d find a place to sit and write and people-watch and then she’d return home to write more and dream about more ideas. There’s nothing wrong with architecture—except that Baxter just did it to do it. He had no passion, and for that, it could have been something entirely less a fusion of art and physics and might as well have been pushing paper from one side of the desk to the other.

But, back to the date. It’s not an entire flop–not yet, anyway. They got to look at some art, after all. But on the Metro ride home, Baxter admits to writer Laverne that he believes that all the ideas have already been done. They’re all used up. Everything worth doing has already been done, and artists are now just looking to re-use old ideas.

(That was the end of Baxter in Laverne’s eyes. At least, until 10 years later when she wrote a blog about it.)

Laverne had realized this school of thought was out there. But she’d never heard it spoken by anyone who actually believed it. And Baxter is so sincere, she wonders if he has a point. She pushes off the feeling of hopelessness that his words caused, and she thinks it through. It doesn’t take her long to find her proof.

Laverne is an avid journaler, (and maker-upper of words like journaler) and has been known to write down lists of newly released songs that she likes in the margins of her journals. But each time she looks back at old writings, she sees the periodic lists and marvels at how many new songs are now listed in the margins of today’s journals. And then: She’s glad. Glad that she didn’t expire long ago before she heard the new lyrics that now speak to her and glad that she’s discovered the new books being published with their gorgeous turns of phrase that she underlines and stars and absorbs. (She writes in her books, yes. She writes on everything.)

The point for Laverne is: Creativity keeps happening. It happened yesterday, today, and will happen tomorrow as long as the creators are out there doing the work.

When Laverne arrives back the apartment, Shirley is waiting up. She hears the details of the date and is bummed to learn that Laverne doesn’t want to go out with Baxter again. She presses the issue, and lists Baxter’s good qualities.

“But, Shirley, I write,” Laverne finally says. “Baxter doesn’t even believe in writing. And I can’t waste my time with a non-believer.”

Ten years later, Laverne is a panelist in a writing workshop when a fellow panelist says the infamous words to get the audience reaction: “What do you think of, ‘It’s all been done’?”

Heads begin to shake. “No,” is heard.

Then, “No way,” is heard.

“Certainly not.”

Some even laugh, “Hardly! No.”

“I don’t think so!”

No, no, my goodness, no. Music to Laverne’s ears.

My first book, Upside Down Kingdom, is available on Amazon. I’ll sign it for you.