The Process Itself

By Josiah Stumbo -Director of Storyboard Arts Initiative
Photo by Mara Harrington, 16yo  ©2020 Mara Harrington

The other night I searched my house for all the old journals I could find. One was in my sock bin, another at the bottom of my backpack. One’s an expired daily planner from 2016 I only used for a week and then started journaling on top of the days gone by–writing what could be on top of what never was. 

I spent the evening thumbing through all the pages. Pieces of my life from random years. I was looking for inspired lines, potential song lyrics buried between handwritten timestamps of my life. In one I was in a one-bedroom apartment, newly married and hating my job. In another I was in a hospital desperately hoping my son wouldn’t be born too early to survive. In another I was on a fishing boat, frustrated that something was keeping my heart from fully entering the experience of nature. In another I was saying a painful goodbye. I thought I’d start a whole document full of little treasures that would become future songs and poetry that I could share with the world. 

But I didn’t find much. A total of 8 little segments, and as I typed them into my document called “Potential Lyrics” I knew they didn’t really have much potential. 

I wasn’t disappointed though. As I read each line: 

“I’m a business casualty.” 

“See it’s on the horizon

We’ll be high rising soon.” 

 “Pine blanket down

I was made for the ground.” 

I knew it had served a significant purpose. Each line helped me become. Each word shaped who I am today. Nobody sang them, no one else felt their weight or connected their meaning to something important–but I did. 

These carefully chosen words in the context of their paper pages and the places I was sitting when I wrote them helped me see the world with a critical eye. They helped me ask big questions in words that made sense. They helped me to feel alive. They helped me understand my own mind and desires. They helped me make decisions. They helped me pin down a swirling mess of emotions and prayers and connections and dreams right onto the page, forever still. 

The process of writing these words was, itself, the treasure I was searching for. 

This is the inherent value of the creative process. Regardless of the destiny of our lines or notes or photos or sketches or drafts or storyboards, the process itself transforms us and gives us our voice. 

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