There are many worthy things author Neil Gaiman offers in his 2012 address to graduating students at the University of the Arts. The video is below.

They are honest things born of experience. And they especially hit home for me on a day when I was getting caught in a rabbit hole, comparing the creative heart of the work I lay bare to the work of others.

That comparing thing so often is a downer. A fool’s errand. I know it. I’m sure you do too. Yet we do it. So when I watched this video my wife Becca sent to me by chance some days previous, I took hold of the wisdom.

A few of the many gems in this video, from Gaiman:

“Nothing I did where the only reason for doing it was the money was ever worth it, except as bitter experience.” (6:37)

“The things I did because I was excited and wanted to see them exist in reality have never let me down, and I’ve never regretted the time I spent on any of them.” (6:50)

“The moment that you feel, just possibly, you’re walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself, that’s the moment you may be starting to get it right.” (11:50)

So … I photograph. I write poetry and other words. I interview people and engage in the arts community around me, despite all the moments I extra feel my introvertedness and, sometimes, my awkwardness. And I keep plunging forward into the whatever is out there when I show so much of what’s on the inside.

According to Neil Gaiman, that means I might just be starting to get it right. I hope you are too.


Caption: Neil Gaiman Addresses the University of the Arts Class of 2012

Photo of Neil Gaiman via Wikimedia Commons