Through this identity crisis that I have been going through I have been looking for common themes throughout my life and have realized how collaboration has been something that I have always been passionate about. When starting Pocket Change the dream was for me to eventually open a facility that could be used as a skatepark in the winter, doubled as a concert venue, have a recording studio and a place for people to come and create. I have always talked about my dream job would be working with a few close friends trying to solve problems and work with each other to accomplish them. I do not think that it is necessary for us to all start our own thing with similar objectives. Is it not possible that we can be more passionate about or objectives than being the one that starts it. Hilariously I also believe that it is my role to be instrumental in being someone who helps start it. I have always seen my role as one to help facilitate and encourage collaboration with the people that I meet for a very long time. I am so ridiculously blessed to be part of the communities that I am. I know so many creatives that are so talented and humble and excited to create. I want to create with them. I want to solve problems with them, because all these amazing dreams and ideas we have are so quickly killed by our own individual limitations.
After stumbling across the company Need/Want I knew right away that this is something like what I want to do. Three guys that have started 5 very diverse businesses that individually cannot sustain a living but the multiple will continue engagement and cumulatively they can create everyday together. As I was looking into this more and more my friends Trevor and Katrina (two of my brilliant friends) had shown me Cageless Birds. A community of artisans that build different things to help fund their ministry. Finding these two in the week really made me ask the question “Why not?”. I couldn’t find an answer so I am working towards it now.
The name that I have always wanted to use for this has been Renga. This is a concept that Ross had told me about and I knew that it was special. It wasn’t the right concept for the project we were working on at the time but for this, it fits perfectly. Here is an excerpt from Frank Chimero’s The Shape of Design, which is where I believe Ross had first come across it.
“Buson is saying that we accept the light contained in the work of others without darkening their efforts. One candle can light another, and the light may spread without its source being diminished. We must sing in our own way, but with the contributions and influence of others, we need not sing alone.
Buson’s haiku is also instructive in how to work with the contributions of others. Harks come from an older Japanese poetic tradition called renga, a form of collaborative, give-and-take poetry. One poet would write the first three lines of a five-line poem, and then pass his work to another poet to write the last two. From there, the last two lines would be used as the basis to being three new lines from a third poet, and then another two lines from a fourth. The poem went on and on, two — three — two — three, with each new contribution linking into the previous portion like a daisy-chain. Renga required the acceptant of old contributions as the basis of the new additions, and this arrangement ensured the poems’s strength and provided a structure that guided the poem’s creation. The poets were able to get to work by using what was already there as a material, and then building atop previous parts with their own contributions.
Perhaps Buson’s haiku and the methods of renga offer a way to curb the ruthlessness of the blank page. They imply that starting from zero may be elegantly side-stepped through the contributions of others. They also show that imposing some sort of structure can help us begin and gain momentum.”
So beautiful. And so, we are doing it. It is my responsibility to pursue this dream, it is my obligation to try and try well. To share with you and with others to embed accountability into this. I know that I am an idea person, I know that sometimes they fade away. This one is too important to me to let fade. It isn’t an idea of something to start, it is how I feel called to live my life. To exist in a community or as Katrina calls it a family of people that create. To help each other grow, pursue and develop our passions. Not to allow each other to settle. What are we going to build, what will it look like, will it ever be able to support us full time. No idea, but I’m excited to find out.