When Worlds Collide: On Creationships
Before two planets hit, there is an immense gravitational pull. The intensity of the attraction is so great, it creates a vacuum that draws them together. The force is so powerful, in many cases the planets cores meld and form one planet, breaking up parts of themselves in the process, which fling into the cosmos. This was apparently how our moon was formed. Planetary collisions are somewhat rare in our solar system according to scientists.
I think it’s the same with those rare creative partnerships, where the immensity of the art or endeavor draws people together with such force that they lose themselves entirely, subsumed by the formation of their creation. Their worlds mesh into a cacophony of parts of each. The sublime and the terrible is experienced at once with the birthing of something magnificent between them.
Creative partnerships are intense. They are unique. They are not a marriage or romantic, although they feel like that at times. They are not a business relationship, though they may start this way. They are not a friendship, although there is a camaraderie. They are wildly deep, fraught with uncertainty, and yet thrilling and extraordinary.
They are in fact what I call, creationships. They are unashamedly purpose-driven. They are Frodo and Sam on the epic journey to cast the ring into the fires of Mordor. They are doing or die. And sometimes they’re just plain weird.
Countless examples of wildly, mad creationships are peppered through history, where even the most unlikely bedfellows hung out to create the epic tales that have survived the ages.
Marie & Pierre Curie for example, shared love, lab secrets and pocketed a couple of Nobel Prizes for Physics and Chemistry (Marie Curie’s) between them, as well as the discovery of an entire new element on the periodic table.
What could a make up effects artist, a Hollywood producer and a rogue CIA agent, possibly do for a group of US hostages in Tehran in 1979? The film about their bizarre creationship appropriately titled “Argo” landed Ben Affleck a Best Director an Oscar amongst a plethora of other awards.
Who can forget the funny ones: Ben Stiller & Owen Wilson, Tina Fey & Amy Pohler, and Nick Frost & Simon Pegg.
Or the entrepreneurial ones: original Googlers Larry Page and Sergey Brin and Apple’s two Steves (Jobs & Wozniak). And finally, what do tortilla chips and prisons have in common? The answer is Homeboy Industries, a social enterprise, which creates products and jobs, which transform the lives of young people destined for re-incarceration.
Some end in explosions, crashes, and catastrophes. Percy Shelley one of 20th century’s finest romantic poets abandoned his pregnant wife then ran away with Mary Godwin, who later penned Frankenstein. Shelley’s unfortunate estranged wife was so devastated she drowned herself.
Who would have thought that in the early 16th century philosopher/inventor and genius Leonardo da Vinci and political mastermind Machiavelli, spurred on by the infamous Cesare Borgia, would have teamed up to actually steal a river to thwart Borgia’s enemies? Did you get that — they tried to steal a river. The epic plan failed, but following the failure Machiavelli went on to write the most famous political treatise in history The Prince, whilst Leonardo painted the river in his famous Mona Lisa.
Whatever field of endeavor, these creationships all share many traits in common: an unrelenting drive & pursuit, sometimes at personal cost; a fierce loyalty to each other even if love turns to hate and an element of self-sacrifice necessary to rise above individual ego, in the same way parents shift the centre of their universe upon the birth of their child.
But, whilst we hear of the most successful duos: what of the countless that didn’t make the history books? What happens when one stops giving, one starts taking, egos clash like cats in a sack, the mission is lost or derailed and the creationship starts to look deformed, twisted, far from resembling the beauty or ideal of what was begun. This is the dark night of the soul. If you are unprepared it can be lethal — devouring its creators, and destroying them in the process, leaving a trail of destruction.
Yet perhaps even in the ones inherently doomed to fail, with all their broken parts floating in space and the years of tears, something is gained. In losing ourselves so utterly in this way, we are forced to own parts of ourselves. And even in the ugliest moments of a creationship’s end, an inspired piece of literature or an epic story can be left to tell. In the end, a creationship’s soul is its own entity and it will live on no matter what, like a new moon.
Should the fear of potent force of such destruction make us wary of diving in? Perhaps, but that is like saying your heart only has a certain quota of love to experience in your lifetime.
So what happens when you feel the gravitational pull of a creationship calling? Ask yourself: are you prepared to lose yourself utterly and yet not be lost, are you willing to surrender and yet to fight, are you willing to face the darkness in yourself and your partner/team, yet see the light and are you prepared to let go of whatever it is you have created, so it may live on its own outside of you both for time immemorial. Are you willing to jump so high and fall so far and still get back up again, and again?
If the answer is yes, then start giving out stars. Start singing to the heavens. Be brave, curious and for godsake: be crazy. Embrace one another in mess and chaos, and start writing, painting, filming, fucking, posting, shouting, speaking, but pour your hearts into it like milk and honey — meld. Make. Create. Do. Be.
Because the world needs more of you now. I, for one, need you. One of my secret plans is to unearth the world’s most interesting creationships: in business, culture and life, I want to get messy with exploring this intersection and see what comes out the other side.
One thing is certain: we never forget the moment when our worlds collide, whatever creationship journey we embark on.
If we’re lucky, the world will watch in awe.