The Safety of Strangers

You probably grew up with the same warning that I did: “Stranger danger!” As children it’s important we can distinguish from those we know, who love us, and those we don’t know, who may wish to harm us.

As an artist, however, now in my thirties, I feel the roles have reversed. The people who are the most encouraging of my work are often people I have never met in person. They read my blog, they follow me on Twitter, and when I say I’m back in the library writing they encourage me to finish my revision. My friends and family want me to hurry up so we can go to the movies.

In our writers’ group, we’ve been reading The Artist’s Way for the last month. The book is designed as a twelve week recovery process for artists. We are to shed all the negative thoughts and habits that have blocked our work while embracing those that nurture creativity.

During last week’s discussion, I realized I’m much more comfortable telling jokes in a room full of strangers than practicing my standup routine in front of my husband. Strangers are more likely to be polite and act mildly interested if you say “I’m a writer” or “I’m making a film.”

Your family may ask why or a host of other questions that hinder your process. Then again, some people swear most loyal fans are their mothers, and Facebook has the status updates to prove it.

What about you? Would you rather have a stranger over family when it comes to sharing your art?





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