In the late hours last night, I found myself reaching an end. I completed another set of revisions for RABBIT ISLAND, a book that has sent me flying on both real and metaphorical rollercoasters for years, a book whose title I can not seem to shed because it’s so rooted in this place that I can’t imagine the unimaginative title any other way.
Yesterday, I sat with my boss, Jeff, as I do each week and though the meeting is on our calendar to discuss a weekly status, the discussion is never quite about where we are, but where we wish we, that is to say, our company, our industry, this ‘business’ of play (I work for a toy company), could be.
Over the years, he and I have stood in conference rooms and pitched endless ideas to bored listeners. We’ve been dismissed and berated more times than we’ve been encouraged. And, while I’ve often grown weary and retreated, Jeff, instead, continues to fly off on zig-zag paths, what if, what if, and soon he thinks we don’t just have an idea but a movement, a musical revue with booming ensemble spectacles in the third act, and I never quite know how we get to Rockette kicks and jazz hands (you’ll have to ask him) but I always end up thinking, Okay. Yeah. Yes. Let’s go.
Our discussion yesterday turned towards people, to the leadership of our company, and we wondered what it would be like, if we walked into a room and instead of the eye-roll, the bored sigh, the I don’t know, I don’t really get it, do we really have time for this now?, we received a help me understand, or, a why don’t you try this, or I have an idea! How about…
Last night, I thought a lot about this, about hope, about possibility, about the people who encourage creativity rather than suppress it. I thought about how it trickles, how one sarcastic, snide comment shifts an entire conference room of people, shifts the culture of a company of hundreds.
I wondered if I have let others stomp and whine and no no no too many times. I thought, if I had to look towards leadership, I’d better look towards Jeff, who will go anywhere, who will piggyback any idea and ride it just to see where it goes. I thought, I have to be that person to others. I have to be open, kind. I have to shift the mood another way. It has to start with me.
When I reached the final sentences of my novel, last night, I felt hopeful, a feeling I have foolishly suppressed in the past. Sometimes it’s hard to hope, to let yourself wish for things but, yesterday, after I saved the document, then emailed it to myself, watched it pop up bold and new in my inbox, I thought, it has to be okay to dream. We have to open ourselves, and others, to that possibility.